Cloquet-Carlton Girl’s soccer, CEC Boy’s defend Section 7AA titles

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Both Cloquet-Carlton Girl’s soccer and Cloquet/Esko/Carlton Boy’s soccer returned to a place they both know so well, the 7AA championship game. At the end of the night, each time won the 7AA title, but with varying levels of nervousness throughout.

For Cloquet-Carlton, they hosted North Branch, and the game was neck and neck until Lauren Hughes netted the first goal of the game 13 minutes before halftime.

In the second half, it was Makayla Stirewalt who got a beautiful pass from Kiley Issendorf to increase their lead to 2-0, and they would ultimately win 3-0 to advance to the state tournament.

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For Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, it was a nail biter through and through, as they defeated Grand Rapids in an overtime thriller, 2-1.

Late in the first half, Joe Bailey ripped a shot towards the goal that ended up finding the back of the net to lead 1-0.

Just moments later though, Grand Rapids would have their answer, as a header from Dean Kortekaas evened things up before the half.

The game would go to overtime, where just two minutes in, Noah Hansen would score the game winner, sending Cloquet/Esko/Carlton to states.

“Coach told me to shoot low, make the goalie make a play,” said Hansen. “Going through the close game, just keeping my head, staying positive and knowing that I can just make a play when I need to.”

Cloquet/Esko/Carlton Head Coach John Sundquist shared that he had encouraged Hansen the night before to be his best.

“I even texted him last night telling him we needed him to have a big game to do something like that. It’s pretty amazing.”

Also for Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, Senior Elijah Aultman was named a Class AA Mr. Soccer finalist. The winner will be announced Sunday, October 22.