HARTFORD, Oct. 28 – The season hasn’t exactly gone as planned for the Canton High boys soccer team. The Warriors were hoping to build upon last year’s season when Canton won 13 games – the most victories in a single season since 2003 — and advanced to the Class S quarterfinals.
But Canton (5-10) has struggled to score this year, getting shutout seven times. The Warriors will see their 10-year streak of qualifying for the state tournament end.
Yet, the Warriors are playing well as the season concludes. In the last two games, Canton has scored seven goals and won twice – their first two-game winning streak of the season.
Last Tuesday, the Warriors scored four goals in a 4-0 win over Stafford. They followed that up with a 3-1 decision over Hartford Classical on Friday at Anne Fisher Middle School in Hartford.
Senior Santiago Noriega, Canton’s leading scorer this season, had a goal in each game. Against Stafford, Axel Tanner, C.K. Gianacola and James Mattson also had goals for the Warriors. Goalie D.J. Clement made four saves in net to earn his third shutout of the season.
On Friday against Classical, Noriega, Jesse Waite and Patrick Lagonigro each scored. Waite gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with Lagonigro scored the second goal in the waning seconds of the first half. In the second half, Kevin Jara scored to cut the Canton lead to one goal. Noriega gave Canton a two-goal lead, converting on a penalty kick for a 3-1 lead.
The Warriors end the campaign with a game at home on Tuesday afternoon against East Windsor (9-6) at the turf field at 3:45 p.m. Canton coach Bill Phelps (217-228-41) is concluding his 28th season behind the bench.
Even with a win, the Warriors will fall one point shy of a Class S tournament berth. Canton needed 13 points in 16 games to reach the 40 percent threshold for a tournament qualification. The Warriors did lose one-goal contests to Coventry, 3-2; Bolton, 1-0 and Windsor Locks, 2-1.
Under Phelps, Canton has qualified for the Class S tournament in 17 of 28 seasons, winning a pair of Class S state championships in 1995 and 2003. He has more career victories that any other Canton soccer coach.