Lumberjacks beat Marshall, ProctorIt had been two weeks since the Cloquet girls soccer team posted a victory. But once they finally did, they’ve been a perfect two-for-two.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
It had been two weeks since the Cloquet girls soccer team posted a victory. But once they finally did, they’ve been a perfect two-for-two.
Defeating a pair of Lake Superior Conference foes at home in both Duluth Marshall last Thursday and Proctor Saturday, the Lumberjacks (5-6-2) just might be finding the stride they’ve been looking for all fall. And it comes at the right time.
“Things are starting to come together. I’ve liked the way we played,” said Cloquet coach Dustin Randall. “It’s that time of year. There’s not a lot of room for error. It’s time to get things done.”
The Lumberjacks have done just that.
Welcoming the Hilltoppers to town last week, Cloquet found themselves up early after scoring strikes from junior midfielder Carri Zeadow and sophomore forward Emily Rikkola in the 31st and 32nd minutes to secure a 2-1 halftime lead.
Duluth Marshall later tied the game in the second frame, yet Cloquet sophomore forward Emily Wangen tallied a go-ahead score in the 60th, while fellow sophomore midfielder Morgan Jensen netted a goal three minutes later to ice the 4-2 victory.
With their offense on display last week, the Lumberjacks’ defense shined Tuesday in their 2-0 shutout win over the surging Rails.
“Proctor is certainly better than they have been,” said Randall, “but our girls played well. It was a pretty solid effort.”
Cloquet again took an early lead when Rikkola struck in the 25th, while junior midfielder Kelsey Anderson buried a late goal with six minutes left to clinch it. Both assists were credited to sophomore midfielder Carley Esse in the win.
Though he mentioned they had some quality scoring chances, Randall praised the defensive efforts of senior Hannah Hammond, freshman Gracie Sinisalo and junior sweeper Amy Campbell afterwards.
“Defensively we are pretty strong, we’ve been pretty good all season,” he said. “Amy Campbell is the fastest player I’ve ever worked with. I’ve seen her catch strikers from five yards back and make them look like they’re walking.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Kenzie Rathe has been filling in for her older sister, injured senior Kaitrin Rathe, a majority of the season. She had four saves against the Hilltoppers and in her shutout she stopped six shots against the Rails.
Leading scorers this fall are Rikkola, Zeadow and Esse.
As for the wins, yes, they’re nice, but Randall knows it all matters most once the girls get into sectional play — something not too familiar for his girls in purple.
“They’re a good group, but a bunch of these girls haven’t been through the sections,” he said. “You have to get lucky at the right time.”
As the defending section champs, the Cloquet Lumberjacks are hoping for the best, and this late-season run might just be the thing they need to send them back to the state tournament.
“I believe in this team,” continued Randall confidentially. “I think that we have the right group if they all come together at the right time.”
Cloquet will take on their arch rivals, Esko-Carlton, Thursday afternoon at Esko, a rematch they’ve been looking forward to all fall, hoping to avenge a narrow one-goal defeat on their home turf earlier this year.
“It’s nothing to get too excited about,” said Randall about the always must-see rivalry, “but we’re always excited for it.”