Cloquet girls defeat Thunderhawks in soccer

If record is any indication, the Cloquet girls soccer team is one of the best in the region. If results are any indication, it's a virtual certainty.

Cloquet senior forward Courtney Esse keeps the ball away from Shealyn Schlauderaff of Grand Rapids Tuesday in Cloquet. Cloquet beat Grand Rapids 8-0. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

If record is any indication, the Cloquet girls soccer team is one of the best in the region. If results are any indication, it's a virtual certainty.

Cloquet hammered Grand Rapids 8-0 on Tuesday to raise its record to a gaudy 9-2-1, and took all the fun out of things for the Thunderhawks with five first-half goals.

"We allowed them (Grand Rapids) three shots on net and none of them were good chances," coach Dustin Randall said. "We played well, as you'd expect when you score eight goals."

Courtney Esse and Katie Pappas each bagged a brace of two goals each; while Haley Bassett, Emily Johnson, Sadie Micke and Lena Swander scored Cloquet's other goals.

Cloquet has hung some big scores on opponents, putting nine past Two Harbors on September 17 and scoring six against Duluth Central five days previous to that.


"I'm satisfied with how we're playing," Randall said. "We are one of the best teams in the section, we have a lot of leadership with ten seniors and it's a good group of girls that have a lot of experience playing soccer."

Goalkeeper Kaitrin Rathe has compiled four straight shutouts.

"She's one of the better keepers in the section, but she hasn't been tested as much as she could have been since we defend pretty well," Randall added. "We have strong, fast, experienced defenders and we play defense as a team."

There's a lot to like about the team.

"I think we pass the ball well and we play as a unit well," Randall said. "We play to lot of our strengths. It's easy to coach these girls. They have a lot going for them."

Cloquet is also undefeated in section play, with losses only to St. Francis in the season opener and Holy Angels on September 5.

Randall had kind words for the play of defender Pappas, who has shown an uncanny ability to head the ball.

"She scored twice against Rapids on corner kicks by heading the ball," he said. "She is phenomenal heading the ball anywhere on the field. She is as good at it as any player I've seen and she sticks her nose in there to win the ball. To have a threat like her from set pieces is great."


Junior Jessie Ryan has made a significant impact on the team from midfield.

"She has been dominating, and she's tied with Courtney Esse for the team lead in goals," Randall said. "They are both hockey players and they know how to keep possession."

Of course, success breeds success, and Randall is pleased with the team's attitude as well.

"It's fun for them," he said. "They have high goals, and sometimes it seems as you get late into the season (the players) lose their spark a bit. This team seems to be focused on getting better and that's nice to work with as well."

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