Beyond the Playbook: Cloquet-Carlton, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton continue to defy odds

Beyond the Playbook: Soccer Dynasty

Esko Girls Soccer and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Boys Soccer have a combined 8 section titles.

Winning isn’t always easy. Knowing the other team is out to get you every single game leaves you with a target on your back.

But for Cloquet-Carlton Girl’s soccer and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Boy’s soccer, this doesn’t phase them. In fact, it only makes them better.

Cloquet-Carlton has won the last five section titles in the sport, with two of those being in class 7A and three in 7AA. A winning mentality doesn’t just happen overnight, though, says Head Coach Dustin Randall.

“To have that struggle during the season, to get a loss and learn from it. I think we were okay with that. If the mindset isn’t to let that defeat you, it’s to get better and find out how to fix the mistakes and fix them from exploiting our weaknesses. That’s what we want to do.”

For CEC, they’ve now won three section championships in a row, with this year’s coming in dramatic fashion.

Through the ups and downs of the season, one thing hasn’t changed, and it was the expectation of excellence, which was set at the beginning of the season in August.

“Sometimes the expectations get a little high,” said Head Coach John Sundquist. “So we’re trying to manage those, we know those other teams are really hungry. It’ll kind of be a juggernaut up at the top.

Fast forward to after they’ve won the section, and its still the expectations that reign supreme.

“Just getting to the section championship and winning, we had expectations to be here, we were ready for this game,” said Noah Hansen, who netted the game winner against Grand Rapids to win the section finals.

Both Cloquet-Carlton and CEC will have to keep those expectations going into the state tournament, where they’ll both look to bring home the hardware.