Streak has CEC boys soccer team poised for deep run


October 6, 2023

Dave Harwig

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton's Anders Gunelson takes the ball away from Hermantown's Nathan Hill during Saturday night's 'Senior Night' soccer match in Esko.

After opening the season by losing two of their first three games, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys' soccer team has reeled off 12 straight wins and is the prohibitive favorite in the looming Section 7AA playoffs again.

Last Saturday, the Lumberjacks throttled Hermantown, 4-0, and on Tuesday they downed North Branch, 7-0.

Against Hermantown the 'Jacks recorded the first goal of the game at the 10-minute mark when Logan Kunze rammed home a ball off a corner kick by Anders Gunnelson.

"It's nice and it's a bonus when a defender can score a goal off a corner kick for your team," said CEC head coach John Sundquist.

Top scorer Elijah Aultman scored just seven minutes later on a through ball by Ben Schramm as Aultman outran the defenders to score and make it 2-0.

CEC added a penalty kick goal by Joe Bailey after the goaltender for Hermantown pushed Gunnelson down on a scramble in front of the net in the 53rd minute. Gunnelson followed that by scoring on a corner kick he curled in around all the defenders.

"It was senior night for us and it was just an overall good win," Sundquist said. "That win, along with the win over North Branch, should secure the No. 1 section seed for us. I would imagine if we can get to the section final that Hermantown is probably the team we'll see - if we can make it that far. They are very athletic and very physical."

Dave Harwig

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton's Hudson Snesrud and Hermantown's Hunter Nelson race after the ball during Saturday night's game in Esko. CEC blanked the Hawks, 4-0.

The Lumberjacks hammered North Branch 7-0 on Tuesday.

"I'm glad to see that we aren't in a scoring drought as we get close to the playoffs," Sundquist said. "Defensively that was our fifth shutout in a row, so I like the way the team is playing."

Aultman led the 'Jacks with a hat trick against the Vikings. Hudson Snesrud added a two-goal game. Ben Schramm and Max Sundquist each scored a goal.

"We have Proctor on Thursday for our final regular season game and then we will have a bye in the first round of the playoffs," Sundquist said. "We are happy about the rest we'll get, but we will need to work on staying sharp. It also allows us to work on a few tactical things."

The win improved the Lumberjacks' regular season record to 13-2. The CEC boys finished third at the Class AA state tournament last year.


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