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Cloquet claims U-15 girls soccer state title

The Cloquet U-15 girls soccer team include (front row, from left) Morgan Carlson, Anna Gunnelson, Kendra Kelley, Morgan Wefelmeyer, Kaitlyn Simmonds, Payten Scheneberger, (middle row) Kate Owens, Mollie Chalberg, Nicole Blatchford, Brandi Nelson, Morgan Leslie, Anja Maijala, Erin Turner, (back row) Coach Brian Stevenson, Sam Sabyan, Mackenzie Stevenson, Sam Godbout, Amarah Parks and Coach Bobbie Turner. Not pictured: Lilly Wallins.

In their biggest game of the summer, it was only fitting that the Cloquet U-15 girls soccer team didn’t back down.

Rather, Cloquet downed Lakeville 1-0 to win the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Competitive 3 Girls Soccer State Championship last Saturday in Shakopee, Minn.

Speedster Kendra Kelley’s lone goal was plenty to back goalie Brandi Nelson’s 80-minute shutout. En route to their title victory, Cloquet also defeated Crow River 2-1 and New Prague 3-1.

Cloquet, co-coached by Bobbie Turner and Brian Stevenson — both with daughters on the team — didn’t lose a league game all summer, and they cruised through districts and the six-team state field behind all 17 team-first players.

“Brian and I both agreed this is one of greatest groups we’ve ever gotten to work with,” Turner said. “It couldn’t have been better. No drama — just all soccer, all the time.”

Having time before their game, Turner said her girls watched the Cloquet U-17’s first-half final with New Prague, a game they won 3-1 before coming to watch the U-15s play.

“As soon as they came over, we knew they won it,” said Turner. “Then I guess the pressure was on us to win it, too.”