CANTON >> The Canton High girls soccer team is well aware of the challenges that teams find playing in the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC).
Avon is a two-time defending Class L champion. Suffield is one of the best teams in the state this season, having won 11 straight games and allowing just one goal. Ellington is 9-2 and Granby, Windsor Locks and Bolton have each won seven games.
Canton won just two of their first nine games but the Warriors have won two of their last three games and are still alive in their quest to earn a spot in the Class S tournament. The Warriors (4-8) beat East Granby on Tuesday afternoon, 1-0 at Bowdoin Field on a nice goal from Olivia Sullivan off of a pretty assist from Emily Mitchell.
A week ago, Canton blanked Stafford thanks to a pair of goals from Mitchell.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Canton coach Kevin McKenna said. “They’ve played well. We want the kids to put forth their best efforts. That is what I am driving for. When you walk off the field, if you can say you did your best, you can accept the result.”
Canton has a very challenging game against Suffield on Friday at Bowdoin Field. After that, they have three games left at Coventry (Oct. 22), hosting Somers (Oct. 25) and at Sport Medicine Science Academy (Oct. 28). Canton needs to go 2-0-1 in those final three games to earn a berth to the state tournament.
Scoring goals has been an issue. In six of the eight losses, the Warriors have been shutout.
Canton did put four goals into the net in a 4-0 win over SMSA in September and had six girls score in a 5-0 win over East Windsor in September. They had two goals in a 3-2 loss to Somers early in September.
“The kids have really stuck together,” McKenna said. “It’s a credit to them to remain so positive and to keep competing. You play for 80 minutes and sometimes, it comes down to three or four opportunities to put the ball in the net.
“Our seniors have been a good example of how to behave on and off the field by playing with 100 percent effort all of the time,” he said.
The five seniors on the squad are center defender Alexandra Martin, wing Erin Detorie (3 goals), defender Natalie Grisevich, wing Zoe Van Kirk (1 goal) and midfielder Taryn Alskof.
On Tuesday, Canton outshot East Granby by a 24-5 margin. Sullivan scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Freshman midfielder Chloe Gucciardi passed the ball to Mitchell, who took the ball into the penalty area. Mitchell drew a defender to her and passed to Sullivan, who tapped in the pass for the goal.
Goalie Amanda Gottlieb made four saves to earn her fourth shutout of the season.
Gucciardi did a nice job distributing the ball against the Crusaders.
In the 2-0 decision over Stafford, it was Maggie Treacy and Sullivan with assists on Mitchell’s two goals. Gottlieb again had four saves in goal.
NOTES: Senior Day will be next Friday against Somers at either Bowdoin Field or the new track and field complex field. … McKenna said the atmosphere for Canton’s annual night game against Ellington was tremendous. “It was a terrific evening. Fans were packed around the field,” he said. Unfortunately for the home fans, Ellington won the game, 4-0. … Canton is hoping to qualify for the Class S tournament for the third time in four years. … It was Canton’s fourth straight win over East Granby, dating back to 2010.