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East Catholic survives with double OT win over Canton in Class S semifinal

East Catholic’s Madison Thiel, center, and Canton’s Allie Delsanto, left, and Julianna Iovine have their eyes on a loose ball in Tuesday night’s Class S semifinal in Southington.

SOUTHINGTON, June 5 – The momentum seemed there for the Canton High girls lacrosse team. They erased a three-goal deficit in a span of seven minutes. They had point blank shots on East Catholic goalie Kiely Callahan.

But they couldn’t get one last shot past Callahan, who shutout Canton in the final 7:51 of regulation, through one three-minute overtime period and into a second OT session.

East Catholic’s Alexa Weber broke the stalemate with 2:17 left in the second overtime, scoring to lift the No. 3 Eagles into the Class S championship for the first time in school history with an 8-7 win over No. 2 Canton in the Class S semifinal Tuesday night at Southington High School.

“You can always count on her back there no matter what,” Weber said of Callahan, who had 16 saves in the game.

“Oh my God. Those saves. I couldn’t believe they were happening,” East Catholic coach Brian Wilcox said. “She was just all over the place.”

Added Canton coach Sean Cole, “She was the player of the game. We had opportunities and she played great.”

Tied at 7-7, Callahan made a point blank save on Canton’s Ashley Potter who drove to the net and collided with Callahan with 3:07 remaining. With 1:17 left in regulation, she made a point blank save on Julianna Iovine, who scooped up the rebound and slipped behind the net. Iovine tried to pass it to a teammate but Callahan intercepted the pass.

Canton had 16 shots on net. “We really didn’t play well enough to win,” Cole said. “Yet, we had the ball at the end of regulation and got a few whacks at it. We just didn’t perform and execute.”

Canton’s Abby Charron finds out how physical it can be near the goal in Tuesday’s Class S semifinal against East Catholic.

The Warriors did hold East Catholic scoreless for more than 22 minutes. The Eagles scored three goals in a span of 3:20 early in the second half to take a 7-4 lead but never scored again in regulation nor in the first overtime session.

But the Eagles (17-2) finally broke through in the second overtime. Weber got a free start at the top of the circle after a Canton penalty (stick to the head) and went right to the net for the game-winning goal – her third score of the game.

“I looked to see if anyone was open on the sides and they were covered,” Weber said as she drove straight for the net. “So, I just cradled (the ball with her stick) as hard I could and closed my eyes. The sticks started crashing on me and I wished for the best.”

The game was tied 4-4 at halftime before East Catholic took a 7-4 lead with 19:25 left in the game. But Canton slowly crawled back into the game. Laura DiMartino scored with 14:46 left off a nice feed from Julianna Iovine (one goal, two assists).

Canton’s Abby Charron keeps the ball away from East Catholic’s Alexa Weber.

With 10:48 remaining, Iovine scored in traffic off a nice pass from Zoe Bates to cut the lead to one, 7-6. Abby Charron scored on an unassisted goal with 7:51 left in regulation, circling behind the net and coming in front of the net to get the ball past Callahan despite two or three defenders jostling her.

Both teams had opportunities at the end of regulation. A shot from East Catholic’s Cami Pasquaoloni with 47 seconds skipped past the goal and Canton hustled to get possession of the ball. But Canton turned it over trying to move it upfield and Canton goalie Courtney Lefave made a key save with 23 seconds remaining.

Canton forced a turnover with 19 seconds left but couldn’t get a shot off.

In the first overtime, Ashley Huff intercepted an East Catholic pass to give Canton possession of the ball with 1:59 remaining. When Charron tried to take the shot with 59 seconds remaining, the Eagle defense collapsed on her hard. She had to leave the field because the referee thought she might be hurt.

Huff had a shot on net with a few seconds remaining but it was just wide.

Losing in double OT in the semifinals is tough for any team to take.

Huff and Charron each had two goals for the Warriors, who finish at 17-3. Laura DiMartino, Maeve Balavender and Iovine also scored goals. Allie DelSanto had three assists. Lefeve had 12 saves in goal for Canton.

Weber had three goals and an assist for East Catholic, who also had goals from Macy Wilcox, Ava Eklund, Lily Ryan and Cami Pasqualoni. The Eagles beat Canton in April, 10-9 in overtime. Since that point, Canton had won 10 straight games.

East Catholic will play defending Class S champion New Fairfield (16-3) on Saturday at Jonathan Law in Milford.

East Catholic 8, Canton 7, 2 OT
At Southington
East Catholic (17-2)                4  3  0  1  — 8
Canton (17-3)                          4  3  0  0  — 7
Goals: Alexa Weber (EC) 3, Macy Wilcox (EC), Lily Ryan (EC), Cami Pasqualoni (EC), Ava Eklund (EC); Ashley Huff (Ca) 2, Abby Charron (Ca) 2, Julianna Iovine (Ca), Laura DiMartino (Ca), Maeve Balavender (Ca); Assists: Allie DelSanto (Ca) 3,Iovine (Ca) 2, Zoe Bates (Ca); Wilcox (EC), Ella Parizeau (EC), Weber (EC), Pasquaoloni (EC);  Shots: Canton 20-16; Saves: Kiely Callahan (EC) 16, Courtney Lefeve (Ca) 12

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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