Prep girls state soccer: Cloquet-Carlton hangs on against St. Francis to advance

Katie Turner’s first-half goal was the difference for the Lumberjacks in advancing to the state semifinal on Nov. 4.

Kate Conway (8) and Caley Kruse (9) both of Cloquet-Carlton celebrate after defeating St. Francis 1-0 during the Class AA state quarterfinals on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at Irondale High School in New Brighton, Minn. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Cloquet-Carlton goalkeeper Katelyn Olson was nearly perfect during the Minnesota Class AA quarterfinal match, keeping St. Francis scoreless to lead the Lumberjacks to a 1-0 win over St. Francis Wednesday.

Olson stopped all six shots on goal by the Saints and was helped out by teammate Caley Kruse when St. Francis’s attack caught her out of position.

Olson came away from the goal to stop a shot with about 3 minutes remaining in the game and the Lumberjacks clinging to their one-goal lead, but was unable to control it. The rebound went back to a Saints player, but Kruse swooped in and kicked the ball out of play, allowing Olson to get back into position before the throw-in.

Turner scored 16 minutes into the game and Olson said it helped settle the team in as St. Francis tried desperately to tie the game and extend its previously undefeated season.

“Immediately with that first goal, it just helped us a lot because we knew that they probably hadn’t been behind before in their season,” Olson said. “That really helped us and helped me too, especially since we weren't down to start with. I feel like we wired really well together and our communication was good.”


Not only was Kruse involved in the goal-saving block on the defensive end, she also helped set up Turner’s goal.

“Caley broke free and she kicked up the perfect ball,” Turner said. “It was curving right and I’m surprised (St. Francis goalie Emma Knack) didn’t actually come up and grab it — she’s a very capable goalie. So I just got any part of my body on it and thank God it went through her legs.”

Cloquet-Carlton coach Dustin Randall knew it was going to be a struggle going into the game, but thought previous state tournament experience might benefit the Lumberjacks.

“I think both these teams are defensive teams,” Randall said. “They haven’t put up huge numbers on anybody but neither have we, but we’ve kept a lot of clean sheets — both the teams. We knew that our opportunity with our experience to come out and get a goal early would really help and we did. We had some good chances and then it was just hanging on.”

Cloquet-Carlton hasn’t advanced to the state semifinals since 2009, when the final two rounds were played in the Metrodome.

“It’s been a long time,” Randall said. “It’s really hard for us to get into these next rounds because these teams are all so good and a lot of them are from big cities, but we’ve got some grit and that’s sometimes what you need — we got the goal, we got the break and then we held on.”

The Lumberjacks (17-2) will face top-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the state semifinal at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Red Knights (17-0-1) topped Alexandria 5-0 in their quarterfinal match Wednesday.

Cloquet-Carlton 1-0—1

St. Francis 0-0—0

First half scoring — 1. CC, Katie Turner (Caley Kruse), 16th.


Second half scoring — No scoring.

Saves — Katelyn Olson, CC, 6; Emma Knack, SF, 6.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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