'Jacks hit road in tennis


September 8, 2023

Edward Schulstrom

The CEC Lumberjacks tennis team was part of the Labor Day parade this past Monday.

It's been an interesting year for the 43-member Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team. With construction of the new $4.7 million Members Cooperative Credit Union Stadium complex going on, the 'Jacks have played all their matches so far on the road, and at this point they are not scheduled to have a home game this season.

"That's been tough, especially because we have 13 seniors who would like a chance to play at home," said head coach Derek Johnson. "There is excitement for what the future holds for the program, now that we'll have eight brand-new courts."

While there is a large group of seniors, that group is very inexperienced with many of those seniors playing for the first or second year.

The Lumberjacks are 3-7 on the season and their road match in Hermantown on Tuesday night was interrupted when torrential rains hit. At the time of the postponement, the match was tied at 1-1.

Captains for this year's team are Ella Chartier, who plays No. 1 doubles, and Paige Goranson, who plays at No. 3 singles.

Emilie Mattinen plays No. 1 singles, Addison Ranta is holding down the No. 2 singles slot, and Paige Goranson is at No. 3 singles.

"There is a battle each match to see who we play at No. 4 singles," said Johnson.

The No. 1 doubles team consists of Chartier and Rylie Goranson and, much like singles, the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles teams have been on a rotational basis as Johnson tries to find players who can step up on a more-regular basis in those positions.

Dave Harwig

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton's Eryka Moran makes a shot during Tuesday afternoon's tennis meet at Hermantown High School.

A total of 43 players came out for the team, which created issues because the team has to use Pinehurst tennis courts for practice, and there are only two courts at the park.

"Right now, we've been rotating three different groups and each group goes for an hour each practice," said Johnson. "The girls are handling it pretty well despite it being chaotic and a bit hectic."

Tuesday's match with Hermantown will be made up on a date to be determined.

As previously mentioned, all of the team's games will be played on the road unless something changes with the new tennis courts. One of the issues with the courts is that even though they may soon look playable, the surface requires time to cure.

Should that happen ahead of schedule, there would be a large group of seniors who would love to finish their final season with at least one match on their home court.


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