A looping cross from Alexandria’s Myles Sansted that carried past Bemidji goalkeeper John McNallan in the fourth minute of extra time was the difference in a 2-1 defeat for the Lumberjacks in their final regular season boys soccer game on Saturday afternoon at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Sansted had threatened to open the scoring as early as the game’s opening 10 seconds, letting fly from over 30 yards away but striking the post to the left of a stretching McNallan.
The Cardinals saw much of the better play in the early exchanges and created another big chance when McNallan did just enough to see off a look for Otto Anderson.
After all the initial pressure, Alexandria took the lead in the 17th minute on a clipped ball through that found Anderson on the run. His skillful first touch set up a composed finish under McNallan for a 1-0 lead to the Cardinals.
Bemidji drew level on its best attacking foray of the first half in the 37th minute. Nick Rautio won possession back on the edge of the Cardinals’ penalty area before feeding Jonathan Devescovi’s calm strike past Grayson Grove in goal.
The goal turned the tide of the game going into the second half, as the Lumberjacks saw much of the possession and created most of the half’s chances in the run of play. Reed Johnson created a threatening look off a corner that Grove was eventually able to recover in the midst of a crowd.
Another look for the Lumberjacks came later with a wave of attacks that swung from one side of the field to the other without any finished product.
With the game still knotted at one heading into the two 5-minute periods of extra time, the Cardinals fashioned a major chance for Cole Haabala to break through the backline before McNallan shut the effort down with a sprawling stop.
Sansted settled the outcome in the 84th minute of the match, hitting a teasing cross from the right that carried down over McNallan and landed in the far side-netting.
Bemidji heads into this week’s Section 8AAA playoffs with a 4-9-2 record overall, landing the #6 seed in the bracket. The Lumberjacks will travel to #3 Rogers on Thursday for a 7pm quarterfinal game.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Rick Toward: