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GIRLS SOCCER: Bemidji kicks off playoff run with 7-0 win

Bemidji High School senior Annah Schussman (10) boots the ball toward the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/CL-B goal in Thursday's Section 8A first-round playoff game at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School sophomore Emma Dean (11) attempts to stop the ball in the Section 8A first-round playoff game against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/CL-B on Thursday at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls soccer team was a heavy favorite on Thursday night against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/CL-B in the opening round of the Section 8A Tournament, but the Lumberjacks weren’t taking anything for granted.

“Mostly we were just concerned with the win, and then making sure we had the right habits,” BHS head coach Logan Larsen said. “Even though we knew we had a strong chance of winning, coming out and playing strong (was important), rather than playing well enough just to get a win.”

Bemidji did just that, adding goals left and right in a 7-0 win from Chet Anderson Stadium with contributions from six different scorers.

“It definitely is nice to see people who don’t always get the opportunity to score, to get them up there and to get them those chances, hopefully get one in the back of the net,” senior forward Annah Schussman said. “We were all really cheering them all on, really wanting them to score.”

Bemidji High School senior Kelly Christopher (4) sends the ball toward the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/CL-B goal on Thursday.

The No. 2 Jacks (11-5) wasted little time in taking the lead over the No. 7 Wolves, as Isabelle Morin started a breakaway and found Schussman for the opening score 34 seconds in. Emma Dean doubled down with a strike off a corner kick, putting Bemidji in a 2-0 lead by the 8th minute.

The scoring surge continued in the 20th minute, as Lindsey Hildenbrand was the recipient of tic-tac-toe passing from Kinley Prestegard and Harper Toward, finishing into an open net. Then once more in the half, Hildenbrand chipped a shot over the keeper on another Bemidji breakaway, which was set up by Toward in the 23rd minute, for a 4-0 score by halftime.

Kelly Christopher quickly jumpstarted the second-half scoring in the 42nd minute, drawing the keeper’s attention and then using a perfectly placed cross to find Morin, who buried a shot into the empty net. Alexis Paquette and Sam Hansen put a cap on the game, each tallying a goal with long-distance snipes, for a 7-0 final.

“I definitely think that it will build some confidence for us going into some tougher games,” Schussman said. “Mainly just a confidence thing. Putting some goals in the net, knowing we can do it, (now we can) make it happen in other games, too.”

“I think it was a good game to lead into the next,” Larsen added. “We know we have to take it seriously. Upsets can occur… We need to make sure it’s a full effort.”

Bemidji moves on to face No. 3 Detroit Lakes in the section quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, at Chet Anderson Stadium, with hopes of making a deep run toward a section title.

“Every game, just laying it all on the field and giving everything we have,” Schussman said of the Lumberjacks’ focus moving forward. “It’s sections, so it’s a do-or-die kind of time. We don’t have the luxury of not going 100 percent.”

Bemidji 7, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/CL-B 0

WHA 0 0 -- 0

BHS 4 3 -- 7

First half: BHS GOAL (Schussman, Morin ast) 1’, 1-0 BHS; BHS GOAL (Dean) 8’, 2-0 BHS; BHS GOAL (Hildenbrand, Prestegard ast) 20’, 3-0 BHS; BHS GOAL (Hildenbrand, Toward ast) 23’, 4-0 BHS.

Second half: BHS GOAL (Morin, Christopher ast) 42’, 5-0 BHS; BHS GOAL (Paquette, Jones ast) 67’, 6-0 BHS; BHS GOAL (Hansen, Corradi ast) 71’, 7-0 BHS.

Saves: BHS, Beard 1; WHA, Kennedy 10.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, he is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing at Bemidji State. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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