SUFFIELD, May 26 – The Canton High girls lacrosse could have clinched their first-ever NCCC championship with a win over Somers in early May. But the Warriors were slow out of the gate and dropped a one-goal decision to the Spartans, 12-11 in double overtime.
A week later, Canton clinched their first-ever league championship. Still, that loss to Somers irked the Warriors, who were thrilled to see the Spartans line up against them in the championship game of the NCCC Tournament Thursday at Suffield High.
Canton played with a vengeance in the first half of Thursday’s championship game, scoring 11 unanswered goals to pull away from Somers and win its first NCCC Tournament title with a 14-4 decision.
Grace Giancola led the way for Canton with a game-high six goals and three assists, including two goals where she ran virtually the length of the field and scored. Kaitlyn Oliver had four goals and assist while Emma Charron had three goals and an assist for the Warriors (14-3).
It was Canton’s first appearance in the NCCC title game and its first championship.
“The right team won but I wasn’t happy how we played in the second half,” Canton coach Sean Cole said. “It was our first time in a big game and it was very emotional. The girls were all fired up.” Cole said that the team has been talked for days about getting another chance to play Somers.
Tied at 1-1 early in the game, the Warriors ripped off 11 straight goals to take a 12-1 lead at halftime. Cole wasn’t thrilled that Canton’s offense sputtered in the second half but it can be hard to keep pressing when one has such a large advantage.
Giancola had all six of her goals in the big run, including one last goal with 37 seconds left in the first half.
“We wanted to dictate the pace and take control of the game,” Cole said.
Canton forced several turnovers in the first half that resulted in Warrior goals a few minutes later. Somers players frequently had a Canton player in their face – especially in the first half.
Canton held Somers, a team that went 13-3 in the regular season and is seeded third in the Class S tournament, to a season-low four goals. It’s the fewest goals that Somers has scored since getting just three in the 2013 season opener against Avon.
The tournament MVP was Canton defender Carly Atkinson. “Our defense played well and (Carly) played great,” Cole said.
Canton returns to the field on Tuesday when they host No. 13 Immaculate-Danbury in the first round of the CIAC Class S tournament at 2 p.m. on the turf field. Canton is seeded fourth. The Warriors and Somers actually tied for the No. 3 seed with matching 13-3 marks. But Somers received the No. 3 seed due to a stronger strength of schedule.
If Canton beats Immaculate, they would play the winner of No. 5 Waterford and No. 12 Weston in the quarterfinals. The Warriors could potentially face No. 1 Old Lyme in the semifinals.
NOTES: The 10-point decision was the second largest in finals history in the tournament. Avon beat Granby by 11 goals in 2013. Canton’s four goals allowed was the second fewest in the NCCC finals. Granby scored twice in 2013. … Giancola scored a school record nine goals in the 19-6 season-ending win over Watertown. That broke her own record of eight that she set as a sophomore against Ellington in April 2015. The 19 goals ties a single-game record for Canton, which also score 19 in a 19-6 win over Rocky Hill on May 2 and a 19-7 win over Bethel on May 12. … Atkinson, Charron, Devon Daubert, Giancola, Amanda Gottlieb and Oliver were named to the All-NCCC squad.
Canton 14, Somers 4
Somers (14-4) 1 3 — 4
Canton (14-3) 12 2 — 14
Goals: Grace Giancola (C) 6, Emma Charron (C) 3, Kaitlyn Oliver (C) 4, Devon Daubert (C); Danielle Hollister (S) 2, Madi Renaud (S), Marianne Dalessi (S); Assists: Giancola (C) 3, Daubert (C) 2, Charron (C), Oliver (C), Carly Atkinson (C); Saves – Amanda Gottlieb (C) 12, Laura Morton (S) 8
2016 NCCC Tournament
Semifinal: Somers 14, Granby 8
Championship: Canton 14, Somers 4
Previous NCCC Tournament championship games
2016: Canton 14, Somers 4
2015: Granby 17, Somers 13
2014: Avon 14, Granby 12
2013: Avon 13, Granby 2
2012: Avon 11, Granby 8
2011: Suffield 11, Granby 9
2007: Avon 13, Somers 10