NEWINGTON, March 31 – Scoring goals wasn’t a problem for the Canton High girls lacrosse team a year ago. Eleven times in 20 games, the Warriors scored more than 15 goals a game.
Canton (17-3, 8-0 NCCC) won their second straight league championship and advanced to the Class S semifinals where they fell to eventual champion New Fairfield, 16-13. But it was a bitter defeat with five seniors sitting out the game for an unspecified violation of school rules.
The Warriors picked up where they left off 12 months ago. Julianne Iovine had a career-high five goals and five assists while teammate Abby Charron had four goals and two assists to lead Canton to a 20-2 win over Newington on Saturday in the season-opening match for both teams.
The 20 goals was a single-game school record for the Warriors, who scored 19 goals three times in the last two seasons.
Goalie Courtney Lefave made five saves to earn the victory for Canton, who outshot Newington, 31-4. It was the first-ever match between the two schools.
Lefave returns in net for Canton and with senior Tady Whitney and junior Madi Bahre anchoring the defense, the Warriors should be strong defensively. Sophomore Anna Miller and others are ready to contribute.
The strength of the team will be at midfield and attack with a slew of sophomores capable of scoring goals. Charron scored 75 goals a year ago as a freshman. She’ll be joined by Iovine (17 goals), Ashley Huff (23 goals) and Fiona McNally at midfield.
Up front, junior Zoe Bates and Allie DelSanto return with Laura DiMartino, Maeve Baleavender and Rachel Sullivan all vying for starting roles. Two juniors Ashley Potter and Morgan Walzak return after missing last season with knee injuries.
On Saturday against Newington, McNally had three goals and two assists while DelSanto scored three goals. Bates and DiMartino had a goal and one assist for Canton.
Fourth year coach Sean Cole, who led the Warriors to the Class S championship in 2016, has put together a challenging schedule for Canton. The Warriors will host New Fairfield on Saturday, April 21, at 1 p.m. on the turf field.
Canton will also host Old Lyme – 14-2 a year ago – on Saturday, May 5 at 1 p.m. and Hall on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. The Warriors will also challenge East Catholic (12-4 in 2017) on Thursday, April 19, at 4 p.m. in Manchester.
The Warriors return to the field on Tuesday when they travel to Somers for a 4 p.m. contest. Canton hopes the season at home at Friday, April 6 when they host Ellington at 4:30 p.m.
Canton 20, Newington 2
Canton (1-0) 12 8 – 20
Newington (0-1) 1 1 — 2
Goals: Julianne Iovine (Ca) 5, Abby Charron (Ca) 4, Fionna McNally (Ca) 3, Allie Delsanto (Ca) 3, Maeve Balavender (Ca) 2, Rachel Sullivan (Ca) Zoe Bates (Ca), Laura DiMartino (Ca), Maya Gaiowiak (N) 2; Assists: Iovine (Ca) 5, Charron (Ca) 2, McNally (Ca) 2, Bates (Ca), DiMartino (Ca); Shots: Canton 31-4; Saves: Courtney Lefave (Ca) 5, Kali Lessard (N) and Erin Stenvall (N) 5 combined