A second-half strike from sophomore Holly Snobl–her first-ever varsity goal–was enough for Bemidji girls soccer to pull out its third win in the last four meetings with Brainerd in a 1-0 result on Saturday afternoon at Bemidji State’s Chet Anderson Stadium.
The win was the first in a home match with the Warriors in over 15 years for the Lumberjacks, who had to fight through a sluggish first half that saw Brainerd twice strike the woodwork on free kicks. After neither side had threatened through open play for the first 35 minutes, the Warriors’ Lindsay Hunt fired a free kick off the inside of the post to narrowly miss out on opening the scoring.
Bemidji nearly got a goal of its own just two minutes later with a ball that played Addy McCrady past the Brainerd backline. The junior midfielder’s near-post effort ended up not troubling Chloe Patrick in Brainerd’s net as it flashed wide.
Hunt once more was on free kick duty from a tight angle just a minute before the half, this time striking the crossbar by way of a two-hand tip save by Jacks goalkeeper Clara Bieber.
Bemidji had played on the back foot for much of the first half despite the lack of Brainerd chances beyond the free kicks and six corner kicks. But the first corner of the match for Bemidji six minutes into the second half provided the decisive breakthrough when Paquette’s cross slipped off the hands of Patrick and bounced off defenders to Snobl for an instinctive strike in the middle of the penalty area.
Neither side could create consistent chances the rest of the afternoon, though another Paquette corner was met by Alivia Thompson with an effort that flew wide in the crowded box.
One final flurry from Brainerd that featured a free kick and several corners in the closing minute of the match sent the Jacks’ defense scrambling, but they stayed stout on each of the deliveries to preserve the result.
Bieber tallied a total of five saves for the clean sheet, as the Jacks pulled out the victory despite being outshot 5-2.
Bemidji has now won three consecutive matches to improve to 7-4 heading into another home match with Brainerd, this time at the Bemidji Middle School on Thursday at 5pm.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Logan Larsen: