'Jacks hungry for a big playoff push


October 6, 2023

Dave Harwig

Cloquet's Lauren Hughes kicks a game-tying goal past Hermantown's Bella Piede during Saturday's game at Hilltop Park in Cloquet. The Lumberjacks settled for a tie and are now 9-2-4 on the season as playoffs loom.

After many years of dominating the Section 7AA girls soccer tournament, the Cloquet/Carlton Lumberjacks are once again one of the teams to beat.

"I really think we're on the cusp of some good things," said coach Dustin Randall. "We have only two seniors, so we will need the younger players to step up and continue to improve, and so far we've been seeing that."

The Lumberjacks' lone two seniors are Madison Frederickson and Kiley Issendorf. Frederickson is a defender and Issendorf a forward in the Lumberjacks lineup.

Led by the two seniors, the youthful 'Jacks are 9-2-4 on the season. Cloquet/Carlton most recently tied Duluth Marshall last Thursday, 2-2, on the road and on Saturday they tied 1-1 with Hermantown.

"We've had some injuries, but we're getting players back, including Makayla Stirewalt," said Randall. "As we've been getting players back from injury, it takes a little time to get in sync. I know we can play better."

Cloquet/Carlton's final game of the season was scheduoed for Thursday against Esko, the same team they tied in their opening game of the season. Following that game the section seeding will take place.

Offensively, the 'Jacks have relied on Issendorf, who Randall says is the hub of their offense, as well as Natalie Hernandez, Stirewalt and Lauren Hughes.

Hughes leads the midfielders, along with Addison Sandman, Adeline Randall and Makena Smith.

Dave Harwig

Cloquet's Natalia Hernandez controls the ball against Hermantown's Danika Bolf during Saturday's game.

Defensively, Randall says that Frederickson is the team's leader.

"Maddie (Frederickson) is the heart of our defense," said Randall. "Both she and Kennedy Wick have great speed that can take the other team out of their games, and then you add in Allie Jones and Ellise Boyd-Affias, who also have both played well, and that is a good combination."

After playing two games toward the end of last week, not having a game until Thursday gave the 'Jacks time to work on some things prior to playing Esko.

"With the rain and the games, we haven't had a lot of time to practice, so this is welcome," said Randall. "Now we can try and work on some things and try to get ready for the playoffs, which are coming up right around the corner."


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