Reese Kloetzer’s close-range strike with eight seconds remaining in the second overtime period denied Bemidji a season-opening result as Sartell snatched a 2-1 victory in girls soccer on Saturday at Chet Anderson Stadium.
The Lumberjacks were forced to defending on the back foot for much of the afternoon, but struck first in the 15th minute thanks to a free kick from 40 yards away by Marah Bitter. The senior’s set piece dipped down and into the top corner past Sartell goalkeeper Anna Lundeen to put Bemidji in front.
A reply from the Sabres followed just four minutes later. Moments after hitting the post at close range, Sartell recycled possession back into the box for senior forward Chloe Turner to turn and covert past Bemidji’s Kiera Nelson from the middle of the penalty area.
Sartell’s pressure continued to mount as the first half progressed, but Nelson came up with stops on several half-chances–including a deflected free kick with less than a minute remaining in the half–to send the game to halftime level at one.
Shots were plentiful for the Sabres throughout the second half, but just one of the 12 they recorded was on target. Two off-target looks came in rapid succession from Kaia Gack, who failed to capitalize on a Bemidji giveaway when she struck the post and then misfired a recycled look completely wide of goal.
Another look later in the half for Reese Geiger was flashed completely over the net as Bemidji continued to survive waves of attacks from the Sabres on the way to forcing overtime.
Bemidji never could create any attacking inroads the rest of the game, failing to post a single shot after Bitter’s free kick goal.
Meanwhile, Sartell appeared to be out of time to find a winner before snatching possession in the final 25 seconds of the second extra time period. Turner’s gallop down the right yielded a cross that Kloetzer stabbed past Nelson on the edge of the six-yard box to secure victory for Sartell with only eight ticks left on the clock.
The late goal rounded off a 22-2 shots advantage –8-2 in efforts on goal–for Sartell, with Nelson making six saves for the Lumberjacks.
Bemidji will next travel to Detroit Lakes on Thursday evening for a 7pm game.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Logan Larsen: