Prep soccer: Aultman brothers lead CEC past Duluth Denfeld for ninth straight win
The Lumberjack defense has allowed eight goals and has five shutouts through 12 games this season.
CLOQUET — Cloquet-Esko-Carlton junior Elijah Aultman scored early in the first half and added three assists in a 5-1 win over Duluth Denfeld Thursday at Bromberg Field.
Aultman’s goal came about eight minutes into the game, when he punched a shot past Hunter goalkeeper Camden Rask. Three minutes later, Elijah tapped a pass over to brother Jordan Aultman for a point-blank shot to give CEC a 2-0 lead.
Jordan also had a second-half assist to Collin Young on the Lumberjacks’ final goal Tuesday.
CEC coach John Sundquist said the “chemistry” between the two is always strong, but the goal from Elijah’s assist to Jordan Monday was about as good as it gets for them.
“We’ve kind of mixed them and matched them, playing one behind the other,” Sundquist said. “They’re falling into a groove where they know where they’re going to run and they know when they’re going to run. We don’t want them to take too many touches, just get that shot off early. You say a lot of things, play fast, but relax. That goal between them there, that was them relaxed, playing well, playing quickly and it all coming together.”
While the Aultmans' offensive production was impressive, the Lumberjack defense was perhaps even more effective. Denfeld’s only goal was a penalty kick from senior Parker Chastey in the 28th minute, but otherwise, the Hunters didn’t put many good shots on CEC keeper Lucas Rauner.
“Their defense man-marked our forwards pretty well,” Denfeld coach Scott Anderson said. “We were trying to find our way around that, we had a couple of little chances but we couldn’t put it through today.”
The Lumberjacks typically play with three men back, but CEC defender and senior captain Noah Knutson said during the team’s 4-0 win over Princeton Saturday they started adding a fourth defender to the back line.
“When we have the four back, that allows our outside mids to stay up,” Knutson said. “When our mids get the ball, the outside mids are wide open, so they can push the ball up the middle.”
Dropping a fourth man back has been a good change the last two games for CEC, but the defense has been outstanding all season. The Lumberjacks have allowed just eight goals through 12 games this season and have five shutouts. The only game where CEC has surrendered multiple goals this season was their 3-2 overtime win over Duluth East Sept. 15.
“They’ve been so disciplined, defensively, and really making it a priority,” Sundquist said. “We have a group of five right now that are just fantastic and they just take a lot of pride in what they do.”
Denfeld has struggled to score in its last two games, a 2-0 loss to Duluth East Thursday and Tuesday’s loss to CEC.
“The last couple of games we haven’t really been getting up and getting the decent, quality shots that we need to get,” Anderson said. “It’s something to work on — it’s finding that lane to run through and trying that opening. Even just find those small openings and take the chance, because we’re not taking those right now, we’re wanting that wide open shot.”
Cloquet (10-2) has now won nine straight games and will play at Hermantown at 1 p.m. Friday.
Denfeld (7-4-1) will host Proctor at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.