90 minutes of play failed to produce a goal at either end in a 0-0 draw of missed chances for both Bemidji and Coon Rapids in their first-ever meeting in girls soccer on Saturday afternoon at the Bemidji Middle School.
The host Lumberjacks started brightly in the first 10 minutes with patient possession in the midfield and relatively sound defending, but Coon Rapids dictated much of the opportunities in attack the rest of the half. Their pressure almost produced a breakthrough when Molly Terebayza’s strike at the edge of the penalty area was parried inches wide of the post by Bemidji’s Kiera Nelson.
Bemidji’s only shot on goal came from an enterprising run by junior Emma Wright that produced a relatively tame shot held by Maddy Reinhart.
Perhaps the best chances of the game for the visitors came in rapid succession from both distance and close range. Cardinal defender Anna Koepke lobbed a shot onto the crossbar before Nelson dropped the rebound into the path of Belinda Griffith. Her stabbed shot drifted harmlessly wide and left Coon Rapids empty on another chance.
Bemidji found itself in the awkwardly rare position of having to defend an indirect free kick following Sage Zetah-Cornelius’ pass that was picked up by Nelson with only minutes remaining in the first half. A large wall of assembled defenders was up to the task to shut down the close-range set piece and keep the game goalless at halftime.
Coon Rapids kept up the possession and greater attacking threat early in the second half, but the Lumberjacks slowly started winning more possession in the midfield to create chances. After making the decisive block defensively on the free kick, Marah Bitter arrowed a dangerous shot on target that Reinhart had to turn aside for a corner.
Josie Aitkin worked several shots late in regulation and into overtime, starting with a driving run that turned into a shot that missed wide of the near post.
Aitkin also nearly latched onto a deep flip throw-in from Lauren Berg that skimmed to the far post, but her lunging effort trickled wide of the target.
Nelson picked up seven saves in hers and the defense’s first shutout of the season, while Reinhart posted five saves for the Cardinals.
Bemidji is 0-3-1 going into a Section 8AAA game against Moorhead on Thursday evening at 7pm. Pregame will be at 6:45 on KBUN Sportsradio 104.5 and Lumberjacks1 at kbunsportsradio.com.