Girls Soccer: Warriors allow first goals in 8th straight win

Brainerd Warrior Emma Tautges controls the ball Tuesday, Sept. 22, against the Bemidji Lumberjacks at Brainerd. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

With the news of Brainerd High School activities being stopped for two weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak, Warriors head coach Grant Gmeinder was worried his team would come out flat.

Quite the opposite happened, as the Warriors scored four first-half goals beating the Bemidji Lumberjacks 4-2 Tuesday, Sept. 22, at Adamson Field.

“Really proud of the way we played,” Gmeinder said. “We knew Bemidji was going to be a better team then we have seen, and I thought our girls were up for it right from the start. Obviously, they got some tough news today at school with what’s going to happen here going forward. It would’ve been easy to come out flat, but we got that first goal and Bemidji responded, but I just love the way our girls responded by putting three more away just like that.”

Senior forward Mari Devine said the news of their season being put on hold for two weeks made them come out with extra energy.

“This season was always unknown and so we really came out and took it to them right away,” she said. “And that was a big reason why we won this game.”


Sophomore forward Emma Sheflo got the party started when she scored one of her two goals at the 29:23 mark of the first half.

Senior forward Ally Weldon made the crossing pace right to Sheflo’s foot to give the Warriors an early one-goal lead.

“The first one really boosted my confidence early in the game, getting a goal early, going out hard, and using my teammates,” Sheflo said. “It was really exciting to have two goals in the game.”

Bemidji was able to answer quickly, however, scoring the first goal against Brainerd in 2020. Lauren Berg scored on an assist from Sophia Morin tying the game.

Toward the end of the first half, the Warriors scored three goals in two minutes of game time.

Devine started the goal flurry with a header off a corner kick from Cally Robertson at the 13:08 mark making it 2-1 Warriors.


“Seniors come up big in big games and that’s what she did today,” Gmiender said of Devine.

Devine mentioned she heard a coach tell her the ball was coming to her on the corner and was fortunate to put it in.

“I knew it was coming and I was able to put it away,” Devine said. “It was my first (header) of the season, so I was really happy about that. Once we got that first goal we got our confidence back. I think we started connecting more as a team.”

Less than 30 seconds later, Sheflo netted her second goal of the game giving Brainerd a two-goal advantage.

A minute after Sheflo’s second goal, Mari Devine scored a PK at the 11:45 mark giving the Warriors three goals in a 1:23 of game time.

“I think it was our energy more than anything,” Gmiender said. “I don’t think we did anything different in those moments. The passes ended up going to the player just perfectly. But more than anything it was just the energy and a couple of those plays started from our defense.”

Emma Wright of Bemidji scored the lone second-half goal, but the Warriors defense shut down any late chances the Lumberjacks created.

The win is Brainerd’s first non-conference win and Section 8-2A win. It was announced Monday, Sept. 21, that there will be a postseason for soccer giving the Warriors a boost.


The next contest for Brainerd is still unknown because of the Tuesday announcement that BHS will go to distance learning.

Gmeinder is ready for the challenge of working with his team virtually.

“We tried to give them the same message we have given them all year,” Gmeinder said. “This season, we know from the beginning that nothing was guaranteed. So, we got to have an eight-game regular season and we don’t know what the next step for us is, but we know our season isn’t over and we are just going to keep moving forward and be as ready as we can.

“It’s certainly uncharted waters. We are allowed to work with them virtually, so we have some ideas brewing.”

Devine said the news was shaking because other teams get to play while they can’t.

“This whole year we have had to be susceptible to a lot of change,” Devine said. “I think our whole team has really been able to take that change and work with it. I think we will be ready when we come back for sure.”


Bemidji 1 1 — 2
Brainerd 4 0 — 4

First half: Brd-Emma Sheflo (Ally Weldon) 29:23, Bem-Lauren Berg (Sophia Morin) 25:16, Brd-Mari Devine (Cally Robertson) 13:08, Brd-Emma Sheflo 12:43, Brd-Mari Devine 11:45 PK
Second half: Bem-Emma Wright 23:10
Shots on goal: Brd 6, Bem 4
Goalkeepers: Brd-Gracelyn Dickinson (2 saves); Bem-Laura Bieberdorf (2 saves)

Warriors 4, Bemidji 2

Key: A flurry of first half goals gives Brainerd its eighth straight win heading into a two week break.

Overall: Brd 8-0, Bem 3-2-2.

Next: TBA.


CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

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