Crookston held Bemidji to two goals in the first half, but surrendered nine after the break to lose 11-0.

    Crookston hosted another tough opponent in the Bemidji Lumberjacks and held their own in the first half limiting Bemidji to two goals. Five minutes into the second half, the Lumberjacks added their third goal and kept on the pressure throughout the half.

    The Pirates (0-4-1) played 20-plus minutes of scoreless soccer until the Lumberjacks broke the tie with a hard ball from the left side to the right corner. Just over four minutes later, Bemidji worked the ball past Kylee Meier (Jr. GK) and punched it in shortly after for a 2-0 lead.

    Meier, in the first half, stopped eight shots and Reese Swanson (7th Grade GK) kept 11 from finding the back of the net in the second half.

    "We played fantastic the first half," Head Coach Sarah Reese said. "Our goal was to have goal containment, to have possession and to be where we needed to be respectively of if we had the ball or not. We did all those things."

    Despite the two goals in the first 11 minutes of half number two, the Pirates remained consistent on defense. Then with 26 minutes to go, the heat and fatigue became a factor as Bemidji rattled off seven goals in the final 14 minutes.

    Reese broke down the second half by saying players felt the exhaustion and missed their assignments.

    "[Bemidji] came out ready," Reese said. "We were physically tired, they scored a few quick goals on us and then we became mentally tired. Line by line, people started relying on other people instead of taking care of the ball in the space themselves."

    Although she knows there is progress to be made, Reese does not want her team to dwell on the loss for long and hopes her players can grow from the defeat.

    "[In] the second half, it was very clear Reese is a new goalkeeper and learning the tricks and the details," Reese said. "She's a good goalkeeper, but Bemidji is a very high-caliber team. She has to be mentally tough as well as our defense and our midfield and our offense. We win together and we lose together and we have to provide encouragement for each other win or loss."

    The loss served as the first in a five-match week for the Pirates. Next up is East Grand Forks on the road on Tuesday, September 11 at 7 p.m.

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For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at nbeilstein@crookstontimes.com.