Bender siblings compete for family bragging rights, lead Lumberj - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Bender siblings compete for family bragging rights, lead Lumberjacks soccer

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Most players see soccer as a team sport. For Kade and Kiana Bender, it's also a family sport. 

Kade is junior and plays for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys' soccer team. Kiana, meanwhile, is a sophomore for the Cloquet-Carlton girls' team. 

And both are the heart and soul of the Lumberjacks. 

"It's a really good family and they are both playing at the top of their game," said Lumberjacks boys' head coach Archie Clark. "The girls' team is having just as good of a season as us." 

The top of their games has translated into a one-loss regular season for each team. The boys finished the regular season (14-1-1) overall, while the girls finished (15-1). 

While the squads might not compete with each other, the siblings certainly do. 

"We always compete who has more points," Kiana Bender.

"She's beating me right now in points, but I'm hoping to come back," said Kade Bender with a chuckle. 

Competition comes with the territory, but so does appreciation of each other's games. 

"She's really physical, so I try to get that into my gameplay," said Kade Bender.  

"He's good at finding the passes and uses his body well," said Kiana Bender.  

Whether it's Kade or Kiana, a Bender leads the Lumberjacks in either goals or assist on each team. That has the coaches singing their praise.

"He scores goals. He scores goals against weaker teams," said Clark. "He scores goals against better teams and he just goes as hard as he can."

"She scores, she assists, she wins 50-50 battles," said Lumberjacks girls' head coach Dustin Randall. "Really, a lot of her goals have been pretty impressive this year." 

There's physical similarities between the siblings as well as mental similarities, Kade and Kiana approach the game with the same attitude. 

"We try to work hard and always try to find the passes and put your chances away," said Kade Bender. 

That, along with an extra nudge from their sibling, has Kade and Kiana Bender lifting the Lumberjacks in 2017. 

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