by AMY BERG
DULUTH, Minn.- The Cloquet Lumberjacks, defending section champions, chopped down the Marshall Hilltoppers in prep girls soccer with a final score of 8-2 on Oct. 12.
After this game, the Lumberjacks end the regular season with a record of 6-8-2, while the Hilltoppers ending record is 3-3-0.
With rankings determined, this game had nothing to do with the playoffs that are approaching fast, but it can help with determining what each team should work on. "The biggest concern I have is my players' lack of focus," Hilltoppers' Coach Matthew Whittaker said. "At this point in the season they know what they need to do, and last night, they were not doing any of the small things to make a difference."
The Lumberjacks dominated the game with eight goals and a total of 25 shots on goal. Sadie Micke had four of those goals and Emily Rikkola had two. Emily Wangen and Carri Zeadow both had a goal apiece.
The game was close in the first half score at 3-2 with the Lumberjacks in the lead. The Lumberjacks meant business in the second half and scored two goals within the first three and a half minutes of play, with one bouncing right over Hilltopper goalie Emily Couture's head.
"We knew Jessie Ryan would be tough in the middle," said Whittaker, discussing key Lumberjack players. "Emily Rikkola was also on our radar because of her wheels and scoring ability, but again, we simply did not step up our play to stop those players."
On the Hilltoppers' side, Emily Diener and Angela Katoski had nice breakaways, despite the team's inability to move the ball during the game. The Lumberjacks held possession of the ball the majority of the time, with the ball crossing over the center line only a handful of times in the second half.
This game wraps up the regular season for both teams. With playoffs right around the corner, Lumberjacks' Coach Dustin Randall feels confident about making a playoff run. "Our team is regaining a few key players that missed time with injuries for the bulk of the season and it's coming together nicely," Randall said.