The Pirate boys' soccer team held a 1-0 lead after 30 minutes of play in the first round of the Section 8A Tournament in Bemidji, Minn. Thursday against the Lumberjacks. Bemidji stormed back, though, scoring three goals in the final three minutes of the first half for a 5-1 win.
Pirate junior Ben Dorman scored at the 29:32 mark of the first half with an unassisted goal.
"We played them to a 0-0 tie for almost 30 minutes before we scored on them and then held them out for almost eight more minutes before they started to hit us harder," said Pirate head coach Don Cox. "We lost our focus in the last two minutes, 45 seconds of the half and let their two fast forwards make breaks into our backfield--our error, but the boys kept pushing for more points in the second half."
Bemidji added to its lead about seven minutes into the second half and didn't score again until about four minutes remaining in the match.
Bemidji's Alex Schussman scored three goals and added an assist, while Leo Spry had three assists.
"We had them scared for a while because they weren't expecting us to play as even to them as we did," said coach Cox. "In fact, they got so unnerved that they kept getting called offsides and for holding onto us as we went past them. All in all, this was the best game we played all season--and we didn't hear them laughing at us once tonight--a fact that was not lost on the boys. It is hard to believe the season is over, seems like it only began a few weeks ago. It has been an incredible journey, so many pluses for them. They improved in many areas, got stronger, got faster and pulled together to make some really incredible plays, saves and runs throughout the season."
Pirate junior goalkeeper Michael Tate recorded nine saves in the match, while Bemidji's Matt Bitter had four saves.
"We can be very proud of these kids," said coach Cox of his Pirates. "They have been and are really great ambassadors for their school, families and city. All but two should be back next season and they are already talking about making more progress to put together a record-breaking season for Pirates Soccer."
The Pirates graduate just two seniors, Kal Salentiny and Adam Erickson, who are two solid defenders for the Pirates.
Crookston, which was the No. 6 seed, ends its season at 3-12-1.
Bemidji, the No. 3 seed, advances to the Section 8A quarterfinals to face No. 2 Detroit Lakes on Saturday.
The lone upset of the first round was No. 5 Alexandria beating No. 4 East Grand Forks 5-3.