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Despite injuries, Canton gets to Class S semifinals for fourth straight year

Maeve Balavender has scored six goals in the last two Class S tournament games.

CANTON, May 30 – The Canton High girls lacrosse team is in the semifinals of the CIAC Class S tournament for the fourth straight season after a win over Jonathan Law on Tuesday and a victory over Lewis Mills on Thursday.

The No. 2 Warriors (17-2) will face No. 3 Stonington (17-3) on Monday at 5 p.m. at Glastonbury High School with a berth in the Class S championship game on the line.

It’s been a challenging tournament for Canton and it won’t get any easier. The Warriors are playing without their best player – two-time All-State attack Abby Charron, who is out for the season with mononucleosis.

Charron, who is a junior, was diagnosed by her doctor last week after playing in Canton’s 18-9 win over Granby in the NCCC Tournament championship game. In the past two weeks, two other starters have been injured. Laura DiMartino and Savanaugh Kasnig both injured their knees and are done for the season.

“The girls are still trying to figure out how to win,” Canton coach Sean Cole said. “I have told the kids all season that we’re not a one-person team. We have a lot of talent all over the field. Let’s elevate our game.”

Charron, who has committed to play lacrosse at the University of Connecticut in 2021, has been a dominant player. She had a school record 77 goals as a sophomore and 75 as a freshman. This year, she finished with 70 goals and 55 assists. She had 159 draw controls.

Winning a draw control is the equivalent of winning a faceoff in hockey. It gives your team possession of the ball and it can be difficult – especially as the opponents become better – to cause a turnover. So, winning the draw is a big advantage.

Senior Zoe Bates had a goal in Thursday night’s win over Lewis Mills.

Cole has spent the past two games running plenty of people into the faceoff circle. Ashley Huff, Ashley Potter, Fiona McNally and Emma Mates have been taking draws.

Allie DelSanto scored a career-high seven goals in the 17-10 win over Jonathan Law on Tuesday while Ashley Huff had five goals, one shy of her career-high. Maeve Balavender tied a season-high with four goals.

Against Lewis Mills, Allie DelSanto had another five goals. She has scored 12 goals in the past two tournaments. “She has really picked up the slack,” Cole said. “She is a goal scorer.”

Goalie Courtney LeFave made a season-high 12 saves in net against Lewis Mills on Thursday. LeFave had 10 saves against Law, a season-high before playing Mills.

“We’ve won twice and we really haven’t played our ‘A’ game,” Cole said. “There is better lacrosse out there for us.”

The winner of Monday’s semifinal will face the winner the other semifinal game between two-time defending Class S champion New Fairfield and No. 13 Weston. Canton is aiming for their first title game appearance since winning it all in 2016.

Canton 15, Lewis Mills 7
At Canton
Lewis Mills (15-7)               4   3  — 7
Canton (17-2)                      7   8  — 15
Goals: Allie DelSanto (Ca) 5, Ashley Huff (Ca) 4, Fionna McNally (Ca) 3, Maeve Balavender (Ca) 2, Zoe Bates (Ca); Lauren Alvarez (LM) 2, Drew Stewart (LM), Liz Krienky (LM), Morgan Sokol (LM), Riley Fogler (LM), Nicole Grabowski (LM); Saves: Courtney LeFave (Ca) 12, Ellie Martin (LM) 10

Canton 17, Jonathan Law 10
At Canton
Jonathan Law                      10
Canton (16-2)                      17
Goals: Ally DelSanto (Ca) 7, Ashley Huff (Ca) 5, Maeve Balavender (Ca) 4, Emma Mates (Ca); Laura Dennigeran (L) 3, Katie McNellis (L) 2, Eryn Mower (L) 2, Jordyn Konlian (L), Allie Gordon (L), Molly Gordon (L); Saves: Courtney LeFave (Ca) 10, Meghan Gorman (L) 5

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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