Canton has opportunity to win a league title, earn a state playoff berth

Canton defensive lineman Pearse Walsh (70) and linebacker Henry Bonini (7).

Canton defensive lineman Pearse Walsh (70) and linebacker Henry Bonini (7).

After seven games, the possibilities lie ahead of the Canton High football team.

For the first time in 46 years, the Warriors have a legitimate shot to win a league championship. And they have an opportunity to play in the state playoffs for the first time. But three things have to happen.

  • Stay healthy and avoid crucial injuries. Most players play on both sides of the ball.
  • Don’t look ahead. If they do, they’ll stumble and their dreams will be dashed.
  • Keep winning.

It’s a challenging slate ahead for Canton (6-1, 6-0 Pequot Uncas) as they enter the final month of the regular season.

Canton plays its final road game Saturday at 1 p.m., against Gilbert/Northwestern, which went to the Class M playoffs a year ago. Canton hosts an athletic Hyde-New Haven team on Saturday, Nov. 8 before hosting Avon for the final time on Nov. 15. The Warriors close out the season on Thanksgiving morning against Granby in the battle for the old red milk jug.Continue Reading

Avon’s Kennedy named to U.S. team to swim at Pan-Am Games

Avon's Madison Kennedy (Photo courtesy New Wave Sports Marketing)

Avon’s Madison Kennedy (Photo courtesy New Wave Sports Marketing)

Avon’s Madison Kennedy was named to the U.S. team that will be competing at the 2015 Pan American Games next July in Toronto. Kennedy was named to swim the 50 meter freestyle by USA Swimming on Thursday. Her selection is pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Kennedy is one of 20 U.S. national team members named to represent the United States at the Pan Am Games on July 14-18. Ten Olympians and six Olympic gold medalists are also on the U.S. squad.
 
This will be Kennedy’s first appearance at the Pan-Am Games.

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Suffield uses their head to score in final minutes and beat Avon for NCCC title

Suffield's Dylan Cashman (5) tries to contain Avon's Kevin Brown in Wednesday night's NCCC game in Suffield. The Wildcats beat Avon, 1-0.

Suffield’s Dylan Cashman (5) tries to contain Avon’s Kevin Brown in Wednesday night’s NCCC game in Suffield. The Wildcats beat Avon, 1-0.

SUFFIELD, Oct. 29 – It was Avon a few weeks ago that ended Suffield High’s long 43-game winning streak with an emotional overtime tie at Fisher Meadows in Avon.

The Wildcats topped that on a wet Wednesday night. The Suffield boys soccer team broke a scoreless tie with 2:05 remaining in the game, scoring on a wild head ball play from senior Kyle Salters to beat Avon, 1-0 and clinch its fourth straight NCCC championship.

Two other players headed the ball before Salters got his head on the ball and drove it into the net. Off a corner kick, Suffield sophomore Andrew Moskowicz drilled a line drive toward teammate Matt Guminiak and his head ball lofted the ball toward the net. In a crowd of players, Robert Della Penna used his head to flick the ball to Salters, who put it past Avon goalie Danny Magrini.

It was only the fifth goal that Avon has allowed all season.

“A lot went on during the play and Kyle was in the right place at the right time,” Suffield coach Mark Beigel said. “He was hungry and that is what we needed.”Continue Reading

Suffield prevails in battle of league co-champions with 2-0 win over Avon

Avon's Meghan McKenna keeps the pressure on Suffield's Alyssa Bergamini in Wednesday night's game in Suffield.

Avon’s Meghan McKenna keeps the pressure on Suffield’s Alyssa Bergamini in Wednesday night’s game in Suffield.

SUFFIELD, Oct. 29 – It was a non-league contest between two teams that shared the North Central Connecticut Conference girls soccer championship. But Suffield High had something to prove.

“We were told all week that this game didn’t mean anything. But these games always mean something, especially when you’re playing against Avon,” Suffield High coach David Sullivan said. “Two of the better teams in the state were going after it.”

The Wildcats scored a pair of goals in each half to beat Avon, 2-0 in a rain-soaked contest. Nicole Strykjek got away from three Avon defenders to score a sharp goal with 9:14 remaining in the first half while teammate Alexa Champagne scored on a nice corner kick with 8:19 left in the game to secure the win.Continue Reading

McDonald helps Avon roll past Patriots for fifth victory

Avon's Ian McDonald is back in the lineup for the Falcons. He ran for two TDs Friday night.

Avon’s Ian McDonald is back in the lineup for the Falcons. He ran for two TDs Friday night.

The Avon High football team is getting healthy at the right time of year. 

Ian McDonald, who began the year as the starting quarterback for the Falcons, is back in the lineup and ran for a career-high 164 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-9 Pequot Uncas Division win over an undermanned and young Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton squad on Friday night in Coventry. 

McDonald was injured in the season-opening loss to Ellington/Somers and missed four games. He saw limited action a week ago in the loss against North Branford. Against the Patriots, McDonald led Avon on four scoring drives. Sean Del Gallo, who stepped in to play quarterback after McDonald was hurt, led Avon on three scoring drives. Continue Reading

Canton field hockey clinches tournament berth with win over Valley Regional

Canton's Grace Giancola (9) scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season Saturday.

Canton’s Grace Giancola (9) scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season Saturday.

DEEP RIVER, Oct. 25 – Grace Giancola scored 22 seconds into the game and that was enough for Canton to defeat Valley Regional, 1-0 on Saturday and clinch a spot in the Class S state tournament for the second straight year.

Natalie Nardello earned the shutout in goal, her fifth of the season. For Giancola, it was her team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Canton (7-7, 5-6 NCCC) closes out the regular season by hosting Granby (11-1-0-1, 10-0-0-1 NCCC) on Monday at 3:45 p.m. on the grass field at the high school and by traveling to Haddam-Killingworth (8-4-0-2) on Wednesday. Granby can clinch a share of the NCCC title with a win over Canton.

Canton boys blank SMSA for 10th victory

Canton's Jacob Litton (17) races to control the ball in Saturday night's win over SMSA.

Canton’s Jacob Litton (17) races to control the ball in Saturday night’s win over SMSA.

CANTON, Oct. 25 – Riley Hoffman scored his ninth goal of the season and Tanner Clarke added his third as the Canton High boys soccer team won their 10th game of the season with a 2-0 win over Hartford’s Sports Medicine Science Academy Saturday night on the turf field.

Canton's Michael Davis (5) controls the ball against SMSA Saturday night.

Canton’s Michael Davis (5) controls the ball against SMSA Saturday night.

Goalies Joshua Frigo and Walter Dylag combined to make five stops in goal to earn the shutout. It’s the first time since 2003 that Canton has earned at least 10 wins during the regular season and just the 10th time in the program’s 50-year history.

The game was part of the 17th annual night soccer doubleheader that was sponsored by the Canton High Booster Club. It was Senior Night and each senior was introduced prior to the contest with their parents.

Canton (10-4, 8-4 NCCC) closes out the regular season with two challenging games. Canton hosts its final regular season game at home on Monday against Ellington (10-3-2) at 3:45 p.m. The Warriors close out the regular season with a night game at Somers (10-2-2) on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m.

Canton girls qualify for state tournament with 4th straight win

The Canton High girls soccer team has won four straight games and has qualified for the Class S tournament.

The Canton High girls soccer team has won four straight games and has qualified for the Class S tournament.

CANTON, Oct. 25 – Seth Korn, Canton’s first-year girls soccer coach, will be looking for a good hair stylist in the next day or so. He has a promise to keep.

The coach promised his team that if they qualified for the Class S tournament for the first time since 2011, he would get a Mohawk hair cut. His Warriors earned their invitation to the state tournament Saturday night with a 2-0 victory over Hartford’s Sport Medicine Science Academy under the lights on the turf field.

Canton (6-8-2, 4-8-2 NCCC) needed at least a tie to qualify for the Class S tournament. They got the victory with two goals from leading scorer sophomore Sophia Langou, who has nine goals on the season and seven in the past four games. Emily Mitchell and Chloe Gucciardi had the assists.Continue Reading

Avon girls run tough to win 2nd state title in 3 years; Avon boys finish 2nd in MM

It was a great day for the Avon High cross country program. The girls varsity won its second Class MM title in three years while the boys varsity finished second in Class MM.

It was a great day for the Avon High cross country program. The girls varsity won its second Class MM title in three years while the boys varsity finished second in Class MM.

Teamwork and determination helped lift the Avon High girls cross country team to its second Class MM state championship in three years Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester. Senior Molly Hamel finished sixth and sophomore Christina Martin and junior Ryley Higgins finished strongly to help the Falcons win the state championship. 

Avon actually tied defending champion New Fairfield for the title, 73-73. However, when there is a tie, the sixth runner is considered in the scoring and Avon’s Gillian Reyes finished 35th while New Fairfield’s No. 6 runner was 12 spots behind that. 

Martin finished tenth, one second ahead of Branford’s Jessica Bohret while Higgins was 17th, one second ahead of Bacon Academy’s Katarana Komon. Had Martin or Higgins slipped one place, there would have been no tie, no need for a tiebreaker and no state championship trophy. 

“Our depth put us over the top,” Avon coach Al Dadario said. “My girls ran above and beyond today.” 

The Avon girls weren’t the only Falcon team to bring home some hardware. For the first time in over 30 years, the Avon High boys earned a CIAC championship trophy taking second in the Class MM race behind E.O. Smith, 77-95. The last CIAC trophy won by the Avon boys was a second place plaque in the 1983 Class S race. Continue Reading

Canton runners finish second in Class SS boys race

Canton sophomore Emily Briggs took eighth in Class S, earning a berth in the State Open.

Canton sophomore Emily Briggs took eighth in Class S, earning a berth in the State Open.

MANCHESTER, Oct. 23 – The Canton High boys cross country team is a pretty decent squad. Head coach Tim O’Donnell wasn’t thrilled with the performance he saw but Canton still finished second at the CIAC Class SS championships Saturday at Wickham Park. 

Haddam Killingworth won its first-ever Class SS title with 56 points and their first five runners among the top 21 finishers. Canton finished second for the fourth time in the last seven years with 79 points. Northwestern Regional was third with 96 points. 

“We had to run better than we did last week at the NCCC championships to win and we didn’t,”  O’Donnell said. “It was probably our worse race of the season but it was good enough to get second.” Continue Reading

Canton gets back on the winning track with big win over Enfield

Canton High football coaches Sal Cintorino, left, and Paul Philippon discuss strategy with the Warriors during a time out in Friday's win over Enfield.

Canton High football coaches Sal Cintorino, left, and Paul Philippon discuss strategy with the Warriors during a time out in Friday’s win over Enfield.

CANTON, Oct. 24 – There was something missing Friday night when the Canton High football team hosted Enfield for a game under the lights. A crispness was missing and there were several uncharacteristic errors by the Warriors. 

But in the end, the Warriors walked off the field as the victors with a dominating 42-7 Pequot Uncas victory over Enfield. The visiting Raiders turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions in the third quarter as a seven-point Canton halftime lead quickly expanded. 

Canton (6-1, 6-0 Pequot Uncas) scored three touchdowns in a stretch of two minutes and six seconds to secure the victory. 

Cam Daley scored three touchdowns and ran for a game- and career-high 184 yards on 14 carries. Dan Delos ran for 149 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. The Warriors didn’t attempt a pass in the game. 

“Folks say they don’t have depth because they don’t have a lot of players. But they do have depth. They have kids who can come in and play and play hard,” Enfield coach Jay Gaucher said. “They play physical.” Continue Reading

Multi-purpose facility at Canton is formally dedicated

Students, town and school officials officially dedicated the multi-purpose field and facility Friday morning in Canton. (Photo courtesy John Fitts, Canton Compass.com)

Students, town and school officials officially dedicated the multi-purpose field and facility Friday morning in Canton. (Photo courtesy John Fitts, Canton Compass.com)

CANTON, Oct. 24 — They’ve been playing games on Canton’s new synthetic turf field for nearly a year now. However on Friday morning, town and education officials joined hundreds of students, staff members and members of the Canton community to formally dedicate the track and the multi-use field at Canton High. It’s part of the celebration of Spirit Week and Alumni Weekend at the high school.

The $3.6 million project, that included reconstruction of the high school parking lot and roads in and out of the high school, was approved by town voters in November 2012. The parking lot was completed in time for the opening of school in September 2013. The turf field and track was completed in late October 2013.

Learn more about Friday’s dedication, including several photos, from John Fitts and the Canton Compass.

Canton field hockey, girls soccer teams earn wins as Alumni Weekend begins

C logo, Canterbury C for CantonCANTON – Alumni Weekend activities got off to a great start Thursday night at Canton High. Grace Giancola scored the game winner to lift the Canton field hockey team to a 1-0 win over Enfield under the lights on the turf field. It’s the third win in the last four games for the Warriors (6-7). 

The 12th annual Wall of Fame induction ceremony will be Friday night beginning at 5:30 p.m., with five Canton High graduates being recognized for their contributions to the community. 

The Canton High football team (5-1) host Enfield (1-5) at 7 p.m. under the lights on the turf field. The Warrior girls volleyball team will host Avon beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the gym. And on Saturday night, the annual night soccer doubleheader will be held on the turf field with the girls soccer team facing Sport Medicine Science Academy at 5 p.m. and the boys soccer team hosting SMSA at 7 p.m. 

Alumni games for field hockey and soccer will be held Saturday morning on the grass field hockey field and at Bowdoin Field, respectively, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Continue Reading

Late goal doesn’t rattle Avon in OT win over Granby to close in on NCCC title

Avon's Rachel Moore (23), Rebecca Bonini (4) and Abbey Hagan (2) celebrate Avon's OT win over Granby with goalie Natalie Sawicki

Avon’s Rachel Moore (23), Rebecca Bonini (4) and Abbey Hagan (2) celebrate Avon’s OT win over Granby with goalie Natalie Sawicki

GRANBY, Oct. 23 – They gave up a goal in the first six minutes of the game. And the Avon High field hockey team gave up a goal after time expired. But the Falcons didn’t wilt. 

Avon took a big step toward winning a share of its fourth straight NCCC championship Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime decision over Granby. Avon’s Rachel Moore scored two goals, including the game-winner just 1:30 into overtime. 

No. 6 Avon (11-1-1, 10-1 NCCC) can clinch a share of the league title with a win over winless Somers (0-13) on Tuesday at home at 4:15 p.m. No. 9 Granby (11-1-0-1, 10-0-0-1 NCCC) can clinch a share with a win over Canton (6-7) on Monday on the old grass field at CHS. 

Avon was on the verge of winning the game in regulation. Avon took a one goal lead on Shelly George’s team-leading 13th goal of the season with just 2:44 gone in the second half. The Falcons controlled large portions of the second half but Granby continued to battle. Continue Reading

Canton, Avon to race at CIAC cross country finals Saturday

The Avon High girls cross country team won three matches Monday to improve to 11-1.

Avon will be racing in the Class MM girls championship meet Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester

MANCHESTER – The CIAC cross country championships will be held this weekend at Wickham Park in Manchester and the Canton High boys cross country team is hoping to come home with some hardware. 

The Warriors (13-1) will be competing Saturday’s Class SS championship race at 3:45 p.m. A senior-dominated Haddam Killingworth, which won the Shoreline Conference championship last week, will be the favorite. But Canton is hoping to be in contention for a title or a runnerup trophy. 

The Canton girls will be competing in the Class S championship race at 2:05 p.m. The Avon High girls will run in the Class MM race at 10:20 a.m. while the Avon boys will be competing in the Class M race at 10:55 a.m. Continue Reading