Miah Stone’ second-half penalty proved to be merely a consolation for Bemidji girls soccer in a 5-1 defeat against Section 8AAA rival Brainerd on Saturday afternoon at the Bemidji Middle School.
Bemidji started brightly with a positive opening 10 minutes of the match that featured sizable spells of possession and a few chances created. Despite the good start, the Lumberjacks needed a sharp save from Kiera Nelson in goal to deny Emma Sheflo when the Brainerd attacker picked her way through the defense for a chance in the early minutes.
Sheflo would prove to be influential all afternoon, and ended up scoring the game’s opening goal in the 16th minute after finding a pocket of space on the edge of the penalty area.
Another Brained goal involving Sheflo followed in the 36th minute, as the Warriors turned their growing dominance into a 2-0 halftime lead courtesy of a goal from Paige Yeager.
Hopes of working back into the game were dashed early in the second half for the Lumberjacks after Sheflo scored once again to extend the lead.
Gabby Eckman would add another goal for Brainerd in the 55th minute after a wayward clearance by the Lumberjacks fell her way.
The road to Bemidji’s lone goal was a sequential one. It began with a missed one-on-one opportunity that turned into an indirect free kick on what was judged to be a pass back to Brainerd goalkeeper Peyton LeMieur. Lauren Berg’s effort from a mere seven yards away was blocked, but not without a foul on the follow-up.
Despite initial indications that Berg would take the penalty, Miah Stone stepped forward for the responsibility and converted the spot kick in the 63rd minute.
A cross-shot from Brainerd’s Lexi McElfresh in the 70th minute completed the 5-1 scoreline in a dominant victory for the visitors.
Shots finished 10-6 in Brainerd’s favor, with Nelson making five saves.
Bemidji will return to Section 8AAA play with a matchup against Sartell-St. Stephen on the road Tuesday at 5pm.