Jacob Dinzeo scored four goals and Hill-Murray posted six before halftime as Bemidji boys soccer was defeated 7-0 by the #2 team in the latest Class AA state rankings on Saturday at the Bemidji Middle School.
Facing perhaps their biggest test of the regular season, and coming off a last-minute 2-1 defeat to Moorhead on Thursday, the Lumberjacks found themselves immediately down 1-0 in just the third minute. Dinzeo picked up possession in the midfield before unleashing a swerving 30-yard strike that beat Connor Helm in Bemidji’s net.
Trouble deepened for the Jacks just six minutes later after a flying header by the Pioneers on a corner kick crashed against the post before bouncing in off a Bemidji defender for an own goal and 2-0 advantage to the visitors.
Ronan O’Connor cut open Bemidji’s defense in the 14th minute to add a third tally in quick time.
Dinzeo’s pace, strength, and technique in the midfield proved to be unplayable at times on the afternoon, as he carved open Bemidji’s defense again before slotting past Helm for his second goal in the 22nd minute.
The Pioneers even got one of their centerbacks on the scoresheet only four minutes later with a wing cross that found the trailing run of Dane Paul for the defender’s first goal of the season and Hill-Murray’s fifth of the half.
Dinzeo bagged his hat-trick in the following minute, again beating all comers and beating Helm with the finish for his third goal in a 24-minute span.
Despite the heavy scoreline against, Bemidji started the second half with a better jump and Helm continued to play tough in goal with an early kick save denial at close range.
There was still another goal to be had by the irrepressible Dinzeo, who fired through a tight window to score his fourth of the game and his 12th goal in the last six matches for Hill-Murray.
The Lumberjacks’ tough day grew worse after they were reduced to 10 men with less than a half hour remaining in the second half. Forward Isaac Stone fouled goalkeeper Jack Erickson while attempting to win possession with a sliding challenge on a loose pass back to the keeper by the Pioneers, giving him a second yellow card in the game and subsequent red.
Helm posted Bemidji’s brightest moment of the afternoon later in the second half with a save of a Pioneers penalty kick taken by Ty Swanson after an infraction in the Bemidji area.
The Bemidji goalkeeper finished with nine saves as Hill-Murray outshot the Lumberjacks 16-1 in the game.
The Lumberjacks (4-5) will now look to an important Lakes to Prairie Conference game with Hillcrest Lutheran at the Bemidji Middle School on Monday afternoon at 4pm. The game can be heard on The BUN Sports Radio 104.5 & Lumberjacks1 at kbunsportsradio.com.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Rick Toward: