Senior Lauren Berg’s four-goal explosion stood at the center of a second consecutive 7-0 victory for Bemidji in a defeat of Crookston in girls soccer action Tuesday afternoon at the Bemidji Middle School.
Following up their seven-goal win over St. Cloud Cathedral on Saturday, the Lumberjacks had to contend with a high defensive line from the Pirates in the game’s early minutes that drew several offside calls. Bemidji broke through in the 10th minute with Berg playing provider for Marah Bitter to score in off the near post.
The same combination was at work just three minutes later to set up Berg for her first goal of the afternoon. Bitter pushed forward to find Berg slipping through a channel in the Crookston defense, leading to a smooth left-footed strike that beat the Pirates’ Reese Swanson.
Berg wasted no time adding to her first goal of the season by scoring again merely a minute later on another setup from Bitter. The forward danced her way past two defenders before again scoring on a low drive past Swanson.
The Lumberjacks tested Swanson on several further occasions in the first half, but the sophomore goalkeeper put up several strong saves despite dealing with a few injuries.
A first-ever varsity hat-trick for Berg was wrapped up eight minutes into the second half following another good save from Swanson that beat a shot from Addy Kelly onto the crossbar and out of play. The ensuing corner kick dropped into a crowd of players in the middle of the penalty area before the winger struck the loose ball into the net.
Berg completed her remarkable goalscoring tally with a fourth goal in the 52nd minute, which was set up by a splitting pass from Anna Renn and more good footwork to fashion the chance inside the penalty area.
Fellow senior Sydney Breyen got in on the act with an excellent turn and finish in the 65th minute, set up by a skillful cross from the wing by Josie Aitken.
After Swanson departed the game due to another injury sustained in goal, Anna Renn scored from distance over replacement goalkeeper Cassie Solheim–who went from playing in the field to wearing the gloves in goal–to round off the scoring in the 70th minute.
Berg finished the day with an assist to go with her four goals, while Bitter tallied a goal and two assists. Morgan Myers was untested all afternoon in her first full varsity start in goal for Bemidji, which piled up 23 shots on goal at the other end of the field.
The Lumberjacks are unbeaten in their last four games, and improve to 3-3-1 overall heading into a second meeting with East Grand Forks–a 3-1 winner at Bemidji on Sep. 7. The conference foes will play at 7pm on Thursday at East Grand Forks High School, with pregame at 6:45 on KBUN Sportsradio 104.5 and Lumberjacks1 online at kbunsportsradio.com.