’Rapids rallies, knocks CEC out of playoffsThe Thunderhawks beat the Lumberjacks for the second time this fall, rallying from a one-goal deficit at halftime and scoring twice in a second half which included numerous fouls, cards and a penalty kick.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Battling concussions throughout his high school soccer playing career, Brock Anderson wasn’t absent-minded about the right thing to do following a season-ending defeat to Grand Rapids.
After questionable officiating left Cloquet-Esko-Carlton players aggravated in a 2-1 Section 7A quarterfinal loss to the Thunderhawks Saturday afternoon, Anderson, an Esko senior captain, gathered his teammates to the line and respectfully shook their opponents’ hands.
“I told our guys it wasn’t Grand Rapids making the calls, so we needed to line up and show some sportsmanship,” Anderson said. “It was a hard loss, some guys were crying afterward, but we did everything we could to win. They just beat us.”
The Thunderhawks beat the Lumberjacks for the second time this fall, rallying from a one-goal deficit at halftime and scoring twice in a second half which included numerous fouls, cards and a penalty kick.
That penalty kick – awarded following a holding call in the 18-yard box – got by CEC goalkeeper Halen Danielson midway through the second, while Grand Rapids tallied the winner with roughly 10 minutes remaining, according to Lumberjacks Coach Archie Clark.
“Certain places are worse on the road; they always battle you,” Clark said of Grand Rapids. “It was a very hard-fought, even match, but we just couldn’t get it in. We’ve had trouble putting the ball in the net all year.”
Anderson, 18, marked CEC’s lone strike halfway through the opening frame, when the 6-foot, 160-pound defender sprinted the length of the field, beat the keeper to a stray ball and bounced it into the cage off of his chest.
Yet, Clark said Anderson’s leadership afterward was the most impressive move of the day.
“He’s the loudest one out there,” Clark said of his three-year varsity defender. “He’s the one who gets after our guys and the one who will drive a teammate to practice if they can’t. He’s been one of a kind.”
Kindness is something Esko senior classmate Bryan Johnson touched on following Saturday’s defeat. Johnson, a midfielder, explained Anderson also went up and down the team bus while traveling home, to ensure his teammates’ spirits were up.
“One unlucky penalty kick and a lucky late shot was enough to put us away; we’re still feeling it,” Johnson said. “Everyone was down, but I remember about halfway through the ride, Brock[was] trying to get us to smile.”
Also an active member in helping the Esko student body in November’s upcoming school district referendum, Anderson said when his career ended, he wanted to be there for his fellow teammates.
“I wish we would have won, but I let those guys know I was fine, and wanted to comfort my team,” Anderson said. “I knew at some point this season, I’d be done. I just wanted to make sure all of our guys, especially the younger ones, kept with it. Next year, they’ll come back again.”
Winners over Hermantown in the opening round of the postseason last Thursday, CEC closed the year scoring just five goals in their last half a dozen games, while overall, they marked 31 goals in 18 affairs all season long.
Westin Michaud led in scoring and Danielson had seven shutouts.
Anderson, meanwhile, will move on to college next fall, saying he will stay involved with the sport recreationally, noting he’s played since age 4.
“It’s given me a lot of memories in 14 years and I can’t see why it couldn’t for another 14,” Anderson said. “I’ll play in leagues and maybe I can coach kids … [show them] how fun it was for me and how fun it can be for them.”