CANTON - What was good enough to capture the Section 10 Class C title last season was good enough to claim the 2013 Class B crown for the Canton Central girls soccer team.
We have gotten progressively better since the start of the season and we talk a lot about peaking at the right time. We have definitely been playing our best soccer the second half of the season and we played very well tonight, said coach Greg Kiah after the Lady Bears outlasted defending champion Potsdam Central 2-1 in overtime at the SUNY Canton turf field Monday evening.
The Lady Bears improved to 14-4 overall with the win and will now get set to take on Section 7 champion Saranac Central in the first round of the NYSPHSAA Class B tournament on Wednesday at the SUNY Canton turf starting at 6:45 p.m.
We lost 1-0 to AuSable Valley last year as the Class C champion. We have a lot of players back and we learned a lot from that game, noted Kiah. The past three years, weve played in a pre-season tournament in Saranac but we didnt this year. Its interesting that were going to wind up playing up there for states.
In downing the Lady Sandstoners on Monday, the Lady Bears overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit by striking for a goal early in the second half then producing the game-winner with time winding down in the first 10-minute overtime session.
Defense dictated the early stages of the game as neither team generated a shot on goal until Canton found the mark in the 13th minute leading to a routine save by Potsdam junior Bre Sapp, who finished with 11 saves on the night. The Lady Sandstoners didnt manage their first shot of the game until the 34th minute but they made the most of it as senior Ally Miller chased down a lead pass toward the right wing from the center of the field by classmate Annette Rishe then pumped the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards out with a Canton defender closing in to put her team on the board with 6:16 left in the first half.
After a five-minute halftime break, the Lady Bears wasted little time producing the equalizer. Lindsay Proulx keyed the scoring sequence by dropping a corner kick from the right into the top of the penalty area. Several failed clearing attempts later, the ball wound up on the foot of Lauren Smith at the right side of the goal and she quickly rolled a low shot just inside the left post to tie the game 1:31 into the half.
The Lady Bears went on to outshoot Potsdam 7-1 in the second half but the teams were knotted at 1-1 at the end of regulation. The Lady Sandstoners managed the first shot of the first 10-minute overtime and had a chance late in the session but a corner kick from the left by Miller bounced across the penalty area and wound up on the foot of a Canton defender in the right corner. The Lady Bears quickly moved the ball down the wing and sent it deep into the Potsdam zone where a clearing attempt was intercepted by Emma Collins on the Canton side of midfield. Collins wasted no time sending the ball ahead toward the right. Teammate Tory Daly outraced the Potsdam defense and went in to score a breakaway goal from just inside the penalty area with 22 seconds left.
The Lady Sandstoners stepped up the offensive pressure for the majority of the second overtime but Canton netminder Katie Clemmer, who handled a total of five shots, came up with her final two saves of the game to preserve the win.
We split our games with Canton this year and both ended up being one-nothing so we knew this was going to be the same type of game, noted coach Joe Stark after his squad closed out the season at 13-3-2 overall. This wasnt one of those game where we lost because of poor play. I thought we played very well. We just have a couple of situations where we were a bounce away or two away from making the play and Canton was able to capitalize.
Overall, we had a very successful season. We won the Central Division which is always a tough thing to do. Our girls played hard the entire season and they played hard for 100 minutes tonight and thats really all you can ask for as a coach, he added.
Also closing out their varsity soccer careers at Potsdam on Monday along with Miller and Rishe were sweeper Haley Clark along with midfielders Ashley Anderson, Abby Gruneisen and Jenny Tardelli.
CLASS B BOYS
In the Section 10 Class B boys soccer final that followed the girls game at SUNY Canton on Monday, Canton completed a sweep of the Central Division regular season champions by blanking OFA 2-0.
Sophomore Josh Huiatt connected for the eventual game-winner off an assist from senior Shawn Rodee in the 12th minute of the first half and sophomore Jake Facey finished off a play set up by Matt Mende 18 minutes into the second to spark the Bears (14-3-1) past the Blue Devils (12-3-2).
Scott Wight stood tall working the Canton crease for 12 saves while Jacob Sias fielded three shots in the losing cause.
The Bears draw a bye for the opening round of the state playoffs. They will now get set to take on the winner of a game on Wednesday between Section 2 champion Ichabod Crane and Section 7 champion Beekmantown on Friday at the SUNY Canton turf starting at 6:45 p.m.
CLASS D GIRLS
In the Section 10 Class D girls soccer semi-finals at Potsdam Central on Monday, the top two seeds advanced in convincing fashion as Chateaugay stopped Lisbon 3-0 and Heuvelton beat Hermon-DeKalb 4-0.
The Class D final is slated for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Potsdam Central turf field.