Eskomos edge 'Jacks in first meeting of new seasonKailee Katt scored the game-winner when she netted teammate Elle Emanuel’s second-half corner kick off a Cloquet-Carlton defender and elevated the Eskomos to a 2-1 girls soccer win over their biggest rivals Tuesday at Hilltop Park in Cloquet.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Without an official score clock Tuesday afternoon, Kailee Katt wasn’t aware how much time remained.
Still, the Esko senior sensed it was time to score.
Katt scored the game-winner when she netted teammate Elle Emanuel’s second-half corner kick off a Cloquet-Carlton defender and elevated the Eskomos to a 2-1 girls soccer win over their biggest rivals Tuesday at Hilltop Park in Cloquet.
The game, originally scheduled for Cloquet High School’s Bromberg Field, was shifted to Hilltop when the school’s lawnmower malfunctioned halfway through the field. That said, a late scramble setup meant there was no score clock, and the officials tracked the time instead.
Katt, a 5-foot-9 defender in her fourth season on varsity, took charge when it counted, burying her winner just outside the 18-yard box.
“I knew the time was coming down and we needed a goal,” she said. “I saw the ball coming and hit it perfectly on my right foot. It went in and things just turned out our way.”
That wasn’t the case last season when the Lumberjacks edged the Eskomos in penalty kicks in the Section 7A final and advanced to their seventh state tournament since 2001. Of course, last year it was Esko-Carlton versus Cloquet, while Tuesday’s game saw Esko take on the newly formed Cloquet-Carlton cooperative team.
“We wanted to beat them really bad,” said Esko senior midfield defenseman Kadee Karkkainen, also a fourth-year varsity veteran. “Nothing felt better than getting that win.”
“It was a huge win for us — and nice to get my first one,” said a happy first-year Esko coach Jeff Emanuel, who took over for former coach Nicki Peterson. “The girls always look forward to this one, especially when it’s against the defending section champs.”
Esko (1-1) may vie for a championship this fall, returning a number of veteran players. DeAhna Kulas comes back as goalkeeper, surrounded by defenders in Katt and Bailey Panstar, as well as midfielders Erika Shady and Kailee Kiminski and forwards Bailey Mudek and Elle Emanuel.
“We’ll rely on speed and grittiness,” said Coach Emanuel, a decade-long recreational coach with always-new styles. “This was just Round No. 1 [with Cloquet-Carlton]. It’s always a test.”
While Ava Gonsorowski gave Esko the early lead Tuesday, Cloquet’s Mikayla Baker beat Kulas late in the first for the Lumberjacks’ (0-2) lone goal, despite several chances.
Baker is teamed with fellow forward Maija Doran, who leads a cast of eight experienced seniors, including midfielders Chelsea Baublitz, Rebecca Hammond, defenders Grace Sinisalo, Tara Longseth and new goalkeeper Emily Conner.
“It’ll be a hard job to replace some of those kids from last year,” said fifth-year Coach Dustin Randall. “It won’t happen in one game. We’ll be OK — we’ll be where we want to be.”