Esko freshman scores pivotal goal over CloquetDonning her No. 13 jersey for Esko-Carlton this fall, Elle Emanuel not only possesses last-year’s scoring standout Caitlin Lilly’s old uniform, but she has gradually upheld the duties bestowed by her predecessor.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Donning her No. 13 jersey for Esko-Carlton this fall, Elle Emanuel not only possesses last-year’s scoring standout Caitlin Lilly’s old uniform, but she has gradually upheld the duties bestowed by her predecessor.
“Caitlin willed it to me, I was pretty excited,” Emanuel said of the uniform Lilly wore while leading the Eskomos to last year’s state tournament. “She was a great player who I looked up to last year playing varsity. I thought it was an honor.”
Emanuel honored her mentor last Thursday when she marked the eventual game-winner en route to Esko’s 2-0 shutout win over neighboring rival Cloquet at a windy, cold Les Knuti Field in Esko. Emanuel, a 5-foot-6 right-footed striker, tallied her fifth goal this fall in the 53rd minute to snap the Lumberjacks’ previous 10-game unbeaten streak, as well as their extensive 365-minute scoreless stretch.
“She’s young, just a freshman, but she doesn’t play like one,” said Esko-Carlton Coach Nicki Peterson. “She’s a really skilled player who is strong, physical and she knows how to finish the ball.”
Esko senior midfielder Brooke Schramm added the second goal in the 60th minute, but explained her teammate’s winner was the pivotal one.
“I wasn’t on the field at the time, but when she scored, I remember we were all really excited,” said Schramm. “That was a breakthrough for us. [Elle] is fast and she can direct the ball any way she wants it to go.”
Emanuel is in her second year on the Esko varsity, as she was promoted from junior varsity midway through last year, Peterson noted.
“We pulled her up and I remember her scoring within the first 10 minutes of being on the field,” Peterson said. “She’s just a really good player.”
And more humble than anything.
“You can’t score without the ball and you can’t get the ball without your teammates,” Emanuel said. “We’re all equal and work well together. A good effort is always needed. It’s always a team effort.”
Avenging an earlier shutout loss at Cloquet in August, Esko-Carlton (10-6-0) won six of their last eight matchups, while the Lumberjacks (8-5-3) lost only two of their previous dozen dating back to Sept. 1.
Both Cloquet and Esko-Carlton enter the Section 7A postseason Thursday hosting first-round opponents. No. 3 Esko-Carlton will face No. 14 Two Harbors at 4 p.m. at Les Knuti Field, while No. 4 Cloquet welcomes No. 13 Becker at 7 p.m. in a nightcap at Bromberg Field.
“When we conceded that first goal, that put us in some unfamiliar territory that we hadn’t been in for a while,” Cloquet Coach Dustin Randall said about Emanuel’s strike. “It threw us out of our groove, but we like where we’re at. I’d say the any of the top four or five teams can win it. We’re hoping to make a run.”
While Cloquet runs into the playoffs, Esko-Carlton will look echo to their title from 2011.
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (6-7-3) closed out its regular season with a 2-1 double overtime loss to Proctor in a Lake Superior Conference soccer clash last Thursday night at Bromberg Field in Cloquet. The Lumberjacks, which haven’t won in their past four matches, were led by Cloquet senior defender Eric Peterson’s first career goal in defeat. Jake Kuno scored for the Rails, while Ty Rackliffe’s netter in the 85th minute proved to be the winner. No. 6 CEC will look to defend its 2011 title, as they open the Section 7A postseason hosting No. 11 Hermantown Thursday at 4 p.m. at Bromberg Field.