CANTON, May 14 – There have been no shortcuts for the Canton High boys lacrosse team. They’ve had to pay their dues as they’ve grown as a program. In their first three seasons as a varsity team, the Warriors won a combined total of seven games and none in the NCCC.
A year ago, Canton won four games. And at the midway point of this season, the Warriors had won just two of eight games. But the Warriors have matured and have won five of their last seven games including a 11-6 win over Lewis Mills Saturday that clinched a CIAC Class S tournament berth for the first time.
“We’re finally starting to put it together,” Canton’s third-year head coach Chris Weller said. “It’s a good feeling. When the kids start to win, it changes for them. It’s an attitude (change). They feel good about themselves and their team.”
Senior Jake Whittingslow had four goals to lead the Warriors (7-8) Saturday with Colin Madigan scoring two goals and freshman Brett Daubert adding a goal and two assists. Freshman C.J. Giancola and senior Eddie Melton also had individual goals.
Lewis Mills (8-6) had won four of their last five games. The Spartans had two goals in the final two minutes of the first half, including a goal with 0.08 of a second remaining to tie the game at halftime, 6-6. But Canton outscored Mills, 5-2 in the second half, including three goals in the final 2:47 of the third quarter with two scores from Whittingslow.
The addition and contributions of Daubert and Giancola have been a pleasant surprise. Daubert had five goals and two assists in Wednesday’s big 13-12 win over Ellington – a team that beat the Warriors by five goals in April. Giancola had three goals in the win while goalie Donald Zeffiro made 30 saves in net.
“We’re putting passes together. We’ve spent a lot of time on that,” Weller said. “We’re more patient on offense and we’re learning to communicate on defense. We play some tough teams in our league.”
Somers (12-2) is the No. 2 ranked team in Class S and Granby (10-5) is ranked No. 5. And up until this year, Avon was a strong team in the NCCC before the Falcons moved to the Central Connecticut Conference.
“We’re really starting to click,” said Whittingslow, who scored his 100th career goal in the win. He finished the game with 102.
In Canton’s recent 5-2 run down the stretch, the Warriors have avenged two defeats earlier this season. Eddie Melton had three goals in a 10-6 win over Suffield, a team that thrashed the Warriors, 19-3 on April 6. And this week’s win over Ellington avenged an 11-6 defeat in April.
Giancola had four goals while Melton had three goals and an assist in a 13-6 win over Bristol Central and Canton scored a school-record 18 goals in an 18-5 win over Windsor on May 2.
Canton concludes the regular season at St. Paul on Friday. The Class S tournament could begin as soon as Saturday, May 28 with qualifying round action. The first round begins June 1.
Canton 11, Lewis Mills 8
Lewis Mills (8-6) 6 2 — 8
Canton (7-8) 6 5 — 11