“We thought they were the best team on our schedule,” he said. “South Ridge beat Floodwood, who is our next opponent, but by scores of games we really haven’t been tested yet.”
“In past years when I started coaching we would generally beat Cloquet,” she said. “But in recent years they have been very good and did better against us, so it definitely feels good to come out on top this time around.” Esko faces Barnum on Thursday and will host its own eight-team tournament on Oct. 8.
“We hit the ball too hard, we hit it too long because we are looking to hit a winner rather than stay in the point and it isn’t time to go for that winning shot,” he said. “Part of learning the game is learning when you have the opportunity to take the shot which can win you the point. It’s also difficult in doubles, when you have to learn the strategies of playing with two.”
“We had fog come in at halftime and they were trying to pass the ball on us and they couldn’t do it,” Fawcett said. “Then they put it on the ground, kept our defense on the field for 40 minutes and they beat us.”
Sheff has played golf seriously since age 12, but growing up as the daughter of golfers John and Patti Sheff, there was always time to go to the course as a girl. “My dad gave me a plastic club almost as soon as I could walk, I guess,” she said, “but I started playing seriously in junior high and trying to improve my game.”
“We don’t have players on this team that aren’t capable of playing at a Division I or Division III level,” he said. “The level of play will continue to be very good.” The team has already played one of its two scheduled pre-season games, losing 4-1 in Richfield against the Minnesota Magicians after holding out its top line and top defense pair. The teams will meet again Thursday night.
“That will be a tough match,” she said. “But we have a good group of teammates on our team who support each other. We are one unit and a family. We’re going to communicate and root for each other.”
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team reached the section final last season with an experienced group of players — and hopefully reloads for another run this fall thanks to a very talented junior class. And just as soon as this year’s edition learns to play with the same edge as previous Lumberjacks teams, the stage is probably set for even more success. CEC lost 3-1 on Aug. 25 to a Columbia Heights team it beat last season — a wakeup call for Archie Clark’s players right out of the chute.
Pine Journal sports writer Jeff Papas previews this volleyball season for Cloquet, Esko and Moose Lake-Willow River.
The way for the players to learn is through practice, which has been hard to come by given the recent weather. One practice and a scheduled scrimmage last Saturday were lost to rain.