Cloquet boys lose first game to Hermantown, girls win against HawksAgainst Hermantown CEC boys soccer team loses its first game, Cloquet girls win their first
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
HERMANTOWN — Tussling hand-in-hand with state-ranked Hermantown Thursday, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team put together one of their better opening halves of play this year.
And then, one of their worst.
The fifth-ranked Hawks torched the visiting Lumberjacks for three second-half goals on their way to a 4-1 victory in a battle of Lake Superior Conference unbeatens Thursday evening at Corey Veech Memorial Field in Hermantown.
Hermantown seniors Nick Early, Jackson Engstrom and Isak Abukhodair all netted goals within the last 25 minutes of play, allowing the Hawks to pull away from a 1-1 tie and win their fourth game in as many attempts this fall.
The loss was the first for CEC, which now stand 4-1-1.
“It’s the same old story here,” said CEC head coach Archie Clark afterward. “They’re tougher than we are. We made a couple mistakes and they got us on our heels. It happens time and time again.”
Senior forward Connor Kanuit got the Hawks on the board first with his state-best 12th goal of the year less than three minutes into the contest. CEC senior forward Landen Straub buried his ninth goal to tie things just over 11 minutes later, bringing the game to a 1-1 tie at half.
After that, it was all Hermantown.
The talented scoring tandem of Kanuit and Abukhodair — the state’s leading assist man with eight helpers — caused fits for the Lumberjacks by both hooking up to each other Thursday evening, but Clark noted it was more than the duo that wrote the story.
“We’re as skilled as they are, we’re just not as tough as they are,” Clark added to the Duluth News Tribune. “We can play with anybody skill-wise, but that intangible that comes out of the middle of your chest still has to be found.”
CEC senior forward Tyler Goebel assisted on Straub’s strike, while senior goalkeeper Jarad Weeks made nine saves Thursday. Hermantown netminder, senior Mitchell Ryks, made 12 stops.
“They’re a good team — a real good team,” Clark continued about the surprising Hawks. “But we get them again at our place. I’m confident in us. Hopefully we can toughen things up.”
The Lumberjacks will next welcome section foe Chisago Lakes Area to town on Saturday at 1 p.m. They’ll then travel to Two Harbors Tuesday evening.
Cloquet girls soccer posts first win
As the boys lost their first, the girls won their first.
Cloquet sophomore forward Maija Doran scored goals in both halves to pace the Lumberjacks to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Lake Superior Conference rival Hermantown Thursday evening in Cloquet.
Doran leads the Lumberjacks with three goals this fall, as her pair of netters Thursday guided Cloquet to their first win, now standing 1-3.
“We needed that one,” said Cloquet head coach Dustin Randall afterward. “We’ve had a tough schedule so far, but it was finally nice to get a little payoff for all of our hard work at practice.”
Cloquet junior midfielder Emily Rikkola scored less than four minutes into the clash, eventually followed by Doran, as the Lumberjacks never surrendered the lead in a game that was about even.
“It could have gone either way,” Randall added. “It was a nice win for us, but we still have some things to work on.”
Cloquet will next host Princeton Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., while they’ll travel to Duluth to face Denfeld Tuesday night at 8 p.m.