CEC boys set lofty goalPlaying in the program’s first-ever state tournament en route to the finest finish in school history last year, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team returned to the field this week. Veteran defender and Esko senior Brock Anderson said players are using last season’s experiences to fuel them this fall.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Playing in the program’s first-ever state tournament en route to the finest finish in school history last year, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team returned to the field this week. Veteran defender and Esko senior Brock Anderson said players are using last season’s experiences to fuel them this fall.
“State was an experience of a lifetime, really just a dream come true,” said Anderson, a 6-foot-1 defender in his third season with the varsity. “Just getting to state makes us know we can get there again.”
The Lumberjacks graduated 10 seniors from last year’s record-setting team, including notables in Duluth News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year Hunter Leon – who was helping out at practice this week – goal-scoring sensation Landen Straub, sturdy midfielder John Scheuer and longtime goalkeeper Jarad Weeks.
“That was just a good group of respectable guys that played together all of the time,” said eighth-year CEC Coach Archie Clark. “All of them played hard every day at practice to make us better.”
“We looked to those guys as leaders last year,” added returning defender Eric Peterson. “All 10 of them really deserved to go to state.”
Peterson, a Cloquet senior this year, is one of a handful of experienced players on CEC’s roster. In and out of youth soccer growing up, the 6-foot-1 warden of the backfield joined varsity last season. An assured Peterson also brings back an upbeat mindset.
“A lot of young kids will have to step up for us, but we’re just going to go out there and fire away,” he said. “Our goal from Day 1 is to go out and win the state championship. The [bar] was raised last year, so now we’re out to show everyone that the boys in purple are back.”
Peterson and Anderson are two of just four seniors back for CEC, which also returns speedy goal-scoring players Cloquet senior Jim Peterson and junior Westin Michaud, according to Clark.
Cloquet’s Ben Vuicich and Esko’s Alex DeRocher also return with experience.
Clark said Esko senior Bryan Johnson will be a fun one to watch.
“This kid is a dark horse,” Clark said. “I never really know how things are going to go. But he’s a hungry player who can really play. It will be hard for me to take him off of the field.”
Clark said his team, which was well-stocked a year ago, has some holes to fill this season. Finishing up tryouts Wednesday afternoon as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press, Clark said his team will need to seal up some positions. From goaltender, forwards, midfielders and defenders, Clark noted the outside of the field will need the most work.
“We’ll need some guys who can play wide,” Clark said. “Last year we knew a lot; this year we’re going to have to feel our way through. It’s a young team, but we have some good young players, too. I always tell them, ‘There are no restrictions on how good you can be.’ We’ll see.”
The Lumberjacks’ season-opener will be Aug. 28 at Rosemount. A stiff test to begin.
That’s OK with a confident Anderson.
“It might be a different team, but we can still make a good run,” he said. “We have a good core group of guys. We can compete, no doubt.”