CANTON, Oct. 28, 2020 – It’s an old cliché in sports that coaches have shared with players for years — “Play the game like it is your last one.” Playing sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, one never knows when the season will be over.
The Canton High boys soccer team turned in a championship-like performance Wednesday night with a dominating 4-0 win over Suffield in NCCC West region action on the turf field at the high school.
Not only did the Warriors avenge their only loss of the pandemic-shortened season but Canton shutout Suffield for the first time in 16 years since 2004.
Junior midfielder Spencer Mix had a hand in all four goals for the Warriors (7-1) with a goal and three assists. Goalie Nicholas Morabitolo had five saves to earn his second shutout of the season, including deflecting a shot away from point-blank range with about six minutes remaining in the game.
Canton (7-1, 14 pts.) extends lead in the group with a one-point lead over Granby (6-2-1, 13 pts.). The Warriors looked sharp. They moved the ball well with plenty of one touch passes to fuel their offense. Seldom did one player dribble long distance with the ball.
Mix got it started with about 12 minutes gone in the game. Covered in the midfield and deep in the Suffield end, Mix sent a left-footed pass out to T.J. Connelly in the corner, who took a step or two forward and fired a pass across the front of the goal.
Ty Aleksa was quickly on top of the ball and with one touch, ripped it into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Mix was tremendous on the second goal. He took a long pass and raced down the right sideline. He got tangled up with the Suffield defender and both hit the ground.
The ball stayed inbounds and Mix quickly jumped up, leaped over the defender and took control of the ball. He took two steps up the end line and fired a pass across the goal mouth again to Aleksa, who again beat a Suffield defender to the ball and with one touch scored for a 2-0 lead with 4:30 left in the first half.
For Aleksa, the All-New England midfielder a year ago, it was his eighth goal of the season and fourth in the last two games.
Mix got his third assist of the game early in the second half. He had the ball at midfield and chipped the ball to his left and forward Jackson Miner, who ripped a shot that Suffield goalie Jackson Heron (three saves) got his fingers on but couldn’t stop for a 3-0 lead.
Miner, who has scored in seven of Canton’s eight games, has a team-leading 10 goals.
Mix made it 4-0 on a stunning goal from 26 yards away into the upper right corner of the net. Mix took the pass from Miner, who chipped it into the middle for the junior midfielder. It was Mix’s eighth goal of the season.
Canton’s next game is uncertain at this time. The Warriors were supposed to play SMSA at Dillon Stadium on Friday but that game has been postponed. Monday’s scheduled game against Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) has been cancelled since the HMTCA team has to quarantine due to COVID.
With just two weeks left in the regular season, that ends the season for HMTCA which played seven of 12 games. HMTCA had two games left against East Granby and one each against Canton, Suffield and Windsor Locks.
Canton is scheduled to play at Granby on Wednesday, Nov. 4 beginning at 7 p.m. and closes out the regular season with a home game on Friday, Nov. 6 against East Granby beginning at 6 p.m.
NOTES: The series between the two schools began in 1984 when Canton joined the NCCC. The four-goal margin of victory is the largest by the Warriors, who beat the Wildcats by four a year ago in a 5-1 victory and in 2002 with a 6-2 decision. … It is the fifth time that Canton has shutout Suffield in the series.
Canton 4, Suffield 0
Suffield (5-1-1) 0 0 — 0
Canton (7-1) 2 2 — 4
Goals: Ty Aleksa (Ca) 2, Spencer Mix (Ca), Jackson Miner (Ca); Assists: Mix 3, T.J. Connelly (Ca), Miner; Saves: Nicholas Morabito (Ca) 5, Jackson Heron (S) 3; Shots: Canton, 11-8; Corner kicks: Suffield, 7-1
2020 NCCC West boys soccer
|Two points for a win and one point for a tie|
Remaining Canton schedule
vs. SMSA, TBA
Wed. Nov. 4: at Granby, 7 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 6: East Granby, 6 p.m.
NCCC West postseason tournament
Dates and Time TBA