Cloquet-Esko-Carlton soccer upsets Hermantown 3-1
With close to a decade of soccer under his belt, Cloquet senior midfielder Derek Anderson called last Saturday's 3-1 win over eighth-ranked Hermantown "the best game" he's ever been a part of.
Using their physical game plan and nifty scoring scheme, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team clearly controlled the Lake Superior Conference contest from start to finish, avenging an earlier 4-1 loss this fall to the Hawks. For Hermantown, it was only their second loss of the season.
Tyler Goebel got CEC (9-2-2) on the board in the seventh minute when the senior forward netted a goal from senior midfielder Sam Longseth, giving the Lumberjacks a 1-0 lead that held into halftime.
Senior forward Landen Straub then buried his team-leading 16th and 17th goals of the season in the second frame, following precision passes from both Anderson and Goebel to put the game away.
CEC never trailed all day.
"It was one of the best games I've seen a high school team play," said sixth-year Lumberjacks Coach Archie Clark. "Certainly it was the best game I've seen out of a Cloquet team."
As CEC's offense clicked, their defense remained solid. Hermantown's high-octane attack - scoring four goals per game - was held well under its season average. They only mustered three shots against CEC's Jarad Weeks.
And their only mark against the Lumberjacks was on an Isak Abukhodair penalty kick early in the second half. That's it.
"It was awesome," said Clark, "just excellent."
The Lumberjacks' physical play made all the difference.
"The first time we played them, we didn't play physical at all," recalled Anderson. "We got beat to every ball. We got beat up."
Clark said he addressed his boys last Friday about toughening up.
"I kind of went off on the guys at practice that day," Clark said. "I said we needed to be more physical because Marshall had just dominated us the day
Although Straub's position as forward doesn't require him to play as much defense at times, he even noticed a change in his teammates.
"We played pretty physical," Straub said. "We need to be physical to keep up with the better teams. Everything was working pretty well."
Hands down, it was the biggest win of the fall for CEC.
"It was good in every way possible," said Straub. "It was good for our morale. Hopefully some more people will respect us.
"Coach told us that's how he's envisioned us playing," Straub added.
But in Tuesday's 1-1 tie at Grand Rapids, those visions weren't quite the same.
"I've seen it before, after a big win you come out flat, and we came out flat," said Clark Tuesday. "I could see it during warm-ups. We've had better games."
Anderson scored the lone goal for CEC, a first-half penalty kick.
Although Clark said his team was lucky to pull out a tie, his boys have nine wins this season, three more than all of last year, with two weeks left to play. They could be a contender come mid-October.
"If you can play as mediocre as we did today and still not lose, that's something to be said," Clark added. "If we continue to play like we did against Hermantown, I'm not saying we're going to win the section, but we should be right there in the end."
"We're really hoping to contend for state," said Straub, whose Lumberjacks have never advanced that far in school history. "We're just taking it one game at a time."
Anderson likes his team's chances to make a state run, too.
"Absolutely," he said, without
CEC's schedule doesn't get any easier, as they play Duluth East at Public Schools Stadium Monday night, travel to defending Section 7A champ Proctor Thursday, and close the year hosting LSC leader Duluth Marshall Oct. 11.