CANTON – Canton High girls lacrosse Sean Cole isn’t afraid to challenge his squad with a larger school on the schedule. Just don’t fill up his entire dance card with large schools.
A year ago, the Warriors played a schedule heavy with Central Connecticut Conference schools due to the late start of the season and complications from the pandemic. Canton went 5-11 and missed the state tournament for the first time since 2014. “We had no business playing eight Class L teams and (three) Class M teams but last year is over,” Cole said. “It’s great to get back to it.”
Back in the North Central Connecticut Conference, the Warriors have a more balanced schedule and are off to a 5-1 start.
Canton (5-1, 3-1 NCCC) has a committed group of athletes out on the field this spring. “Seven girls are playing lacrosse out of season,” he said. “That has really helped. They’re really committed and they want to play.”
Canton is getting it done at both ends of the field. “We can score the ball and we can defend,” Cole said. Starting goalie Eva Dakin has been a bright spot. She has a 5.93 goals against average, giving up 35 goals in six games. It’s one of the lowest goals against averages in the state, Cole said.
The Warriors began the year with a challenging 5-4 win over Hall on opening day, April 2. Canton’s Mary DeRitis scored with 1:37 remaining to put the Warriors ahead for good. Hall tied the game at 4-4 with 2:40 remaining before Canton rallied for the win. Emma Keller had all four goals for Hall.
DeRitis has two goals for Canton while Gabby DelSanto added two and Heather Delbone scored one. Dakin had eight saves to earn the win.
Canton moved to 2-0 with a 19-3 rout over NCCC rival Rockville. Twelve different players scored for the Warriors in the game. Dakin made seven saves to earn the win.
The Warriors moved to 3-0 with a 12-6 win over Somers, who beat Canton for the first time since 2016. DelSanto had a season-high seven goals while DeRitis had three. Meghan Haynes and Elle Bahre each had a pair of goals while Carolyn Colfen added a goal. Dakin made seven saves.
Canton forced numerous turnovers in their next game to beat Old Lyme in the rain and on the road, moving to 4-0 with a 13-8 victory. Delbone had a team-high five goals while DelSanto added three and Megan Hayes added two. Bahre, Jordan Defina, and DeRitis had one goal each. Dakin had nine saves in the win.
Ellington handed Canton their first loss of the season on April 12 in a 8-5 victory. Dakin had one of best games of the season and had 15 saves. DelSanto and Bahre each had two goals while Defina added one.
Canton rebounded with a 17-6 win over Suffield last Monday. Seven Warriors scored including Delsanto, who scored five goals. Avery Brown, Delbone, Defina and DeRitis each had two goals while Bahre and Hayes had one each. Dakin stopped nine shots in goal.
The Warriors return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Granby (5-1, 4-0) to face one of the better teams in the NCCC. The game begins at 4 p.m. and it is the first of two games between the two of the league’s championship contenders.
Canton also has games left on the schedule with Avon, Class S contender East Catholic, Sheehan and St. Joseph, a team that played in the Class M title game in 2019.