Fueled by three goals in a five-minute span early in the first half, Bemidji girls soccer breezed to its first shutout this season with a 5-0 victory Saturday at Sauk Rapids-Rice in a rematch between last season’s Section 8A finalists.
Less than two full days removed from letting a three-goal lead slip in a 3-3 draw with Willmar, the Lumberjacks roared out to a quick start in the eighth minute with the same combination that yielded Thursday’s opening goal. Peyton Oelrich drifted out wide to win back possession before serving up an inch-perfect cross for Sophia Morin to meet with a headed finish past Storm goalkeeper Maggie Fernholz.
Senior Liberty Dickerson doubled the lead less than a minute later, following up Miah Stone’s blocked shot for one of her own from the edge of the penalty area that slipped through the arms of Fernholz.
The scoring surge continued four minutes later with another strike from Dickerson, who scored past Fernholz the second time of asking after being teed up on a through pass from Oelrich.
Much like Thursday night’s draw, Bemidji’s possession was crisp and fluid and produced a wealth of chances. That nearly yielded a first goal at the varsity level for Anna Renn, but the junior went just high on a lobbed strike at the edge of the 18-yard box.
The scoring paused until the 31st minute, when sophomore Emma Wright notched her second goal of the season on a low bullet set up by Marah Bitter.
Bemidji wasted little time firing another goal past the hosts in the second half, with Oelrich again providing from deep and Morin tucking a low finish past Fernholz for her fifth goal in three matches.
Morin and Dickerson finished with two goals apiece, while Oelrich tacked on three more assists to her two from Thursday.
Bemidji’s backline held off a few sporadic second-half chances to secure a first shutout this season, split between goalkeepers Jody Pemberton and Kiera Nelson. Pemberton picked up one first-half save while Nelson stopped all three she faced in the second half. Fernholz finished with 14 saves as Bemidji outshot Sauk Rapids-Rice 27-5 with a 19-4 edge in shots on net.
The Lumberjacks remain unbeaten at 3-0-1 and will now travel to Moorhead for a Monday showdown with the 5-0 Spuds, who have outscored their opponents 53-0. Gametime will be at 5pm with pregame at 4:45 on KBUN-FM 104.5 and kbunsportsradio.com.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Logan Larsen: