CANTON, Sept. 5 — The Canton High boys soccer team graduated 14 seniors and seven starters from last year’s team (9-8-1, 8-7-1 NCCC) that was eliminated from the second round of the Class S tournament.
Still, Canton has a talented squad that has the ability to earn a state tournament berth if the Warriors can successfully earn enough points in the tough NCCC. The key is winning games and earning points against the smaller teams in the league. It’s hard to pick up points against Avon (Class L), Enfield, Granby, Suffield and Ellington (Class M).
“We’re going to build our defense and push forward from there,” said Canton coach Bill Phelps, beginning his 23rd season on the bench. “The group we have is working hard and they are busting their chops.”
Senior defenders Nick Turbach, Mike Pepin and Dave Shaverdian return along with striker Kyle Hall. Each started a year ago.
Seniors Forest Haller, Jake Krug and Teddy Skenderidis are expected to contribute along with junior midfielder Tyler Detoire. Mike Grisevich and David Solomon are battling for the starting goalie position.
GIRLS SOCCER: Injuries made life difficult for the Warriors, who were 2-14 a year ago, scoring just 20 goals and getting shutout six times. Six seniors graduated and Canton will field a young team this year with six starters returning and just two seniors.
Senior Shiny Douglas (forward) returns along with junior sweeper Stephanie Hurd, midfielder Allie Coutu, midfielder Morgan Smith and forward Jamie Talbot. Sophomore midfielder Jamie Habereran also returns to the starting lineup. Junior transfer Emily Rodewald from California has looked sharp in pre-season workouts.
“We want to get back to the state tournament,” said Canton co-coach Tom Peterson, now entering his fifth season. “We have the people. It’s just a matter of getting the girls into the right positions. The defense will be a big focus.”
In 2007, the Warriors went to the Class S semifinals. In 2008, they advanced to the quarterfinals.Kevin McKenna, who was the head coach for three years from 2003-05 with a 13-30-6 record, returns this year to assist Peterson (31-37-4) with the squad.