Two second-half goals from Lauren Berg failed to ignite a larger comeback from a 4-0 deficit for Bemidji girls soccer in a 4-2 loss to East Grand Forks on the road Thursday evening in the second meeting of the season between the teams.
Just as they had done in a 3-1 victory at Bemidji on Sep. 7, the Green Wave jumped in front first on a piece of persistence from forward Macie Stanislawski in the ninth minute. Latching on to a through ball from Brooklyn Sayler that had fallen between Elle Bush and Kiera Nelson in goal, Stanislawski was able to roll in a simple finish as Nelson tried to recover inside the penalty area.
Dynamic midfielder Kara Ellis struck with a pair of outstanding goals from distance to stretch the lead, starting with a free kick from 25 yards away that beat the wall and Nelson for a 2-0 advantage in the 17th minute.
Ellis repeated the feat in open play from almost the same spot 16 minutes later, hitting a first-time strike that dipped down over Nelson from long range.
The 3-0 halftime lead for East Grand Forks grew in the 55th minute on an Ellis free kick that found its way through to Stanislawski for a poked finish.
Bemidji started to ever so slightly turn the tide four minutes later following a tactical adjustment to put the speedy Berg in the middle of the field. She took on the Green Wave defense with a storming run through the middle of the field before picking through the backline and beating Shali Anderson with a left-footed strike.
Berg hit on the counter again in the 65th minute to further reopen the argument, getting a massive helping hand from Elle Bush’s big clearance to midfield.
Taking advantage of a tiring EGF backline, the Lumberjacks nearly found another goal minutes later when Josie Aitken struck a big chance just wide of the far post.
Both teams exchanged five shots on goal, with Nelson stopping one for the Lumberjacks and Anderson making three saves for East Grand Forks.
Bemidji drops to 3-4-1, ending a four-match unbeaten run. The Lumberjacks will be home for a matchup with Brainerd on Saturday afternoon at 1pm at the Bemidji Middle School–part of a doubleheader with the Bemidji and Brainerd boys at 3pm. Pregame will be at 12:45 on KBUN Sportsradio 104.5 and Lumberjacks1 at kbunsportsradio.com.