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Quick start propels Canton past Stafford in Class S tournament

Canton’s Mike Balgach and two Stafford players chase after the ball in Monday night’s 8-1 win over Stafford in the first round of the Class S state tournament.

CANTON, Nov. 7, 2022 – Sometimes, it takes a whole season to learn the lesson and learn to play together as one team.

Canton High boys soccer coach Bill Phelps likes what he sees from his Warriors, who went 12-3-1 this fall and finished third in the NCCC with a 10-2 record behind league champion Ellington and Suffield.

The Warriors scored three goals in the first 12 minutes of Monday’s CIAC Class S first round contest as they walked away from Stafford with an 8-1 victory on the turf field at the high school. Canton scored just 20 seconds into the game and dominated from the start.

“This (Stafford) team wasn’t a bad team but we dismantled them very quickly,” Phelps said. “I think we are peaking at the right time. We are coming together at the right time.

“I am really pleased that we have broken away from the me, me, me (mode) to togetherness,” he said. “There were five opportunities (today) where a kid could have taken a shot and they pushed it off to another player with a better shot.”

Five different players scored for the Warriors, led by London Abbott with three goals and an assist. Miles Deiulis had two goals and two assists while Sammy Lincoln, Noey Woloshin-Verni and Alex Bowne also scored for Canton (13-3-1), the No. 6 seed in the Class S tournament.

Monday night’s Class S boys soccer game in Canton was played under a full moon. The Warriors beat Stafford, 8-1.

Canton advances to Wednesday’s second round when they will host No. 11 Aerospace or the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering from Windsor. Aerospace beat No. 22 Griswold, 3-2 in double OT to advance.

Abbott is the first Canton player to get a hat trick (three goals) in a state tournament game since Kurt Schilling scored three against St. Bernard’s in 2003. The seven-goal margin of victory is one shy of the program record for a state tournament game. Canton had eight-goal wins in the state tournament in 2010 against University High (9-1) and in 1981 against Wheeler (8-0).

Canton 8, Stafford 1
At Canton

Stafford (6-10-1)            0  1  — 1
Canton (13-3-1)             5  3  — 8
Goals: London Abbott (C) 3, Miles Deiulis (C) 2, Sammy Lincoln (C), Noey Woloshin-Verni (C), Alex Bowne (C), Ryan Builluly (S); Assists: Deiulis 2, L. Abbott, Spencer Abbott (C), Raheim Nason (C), Liam Glassey (C), Evan Sokolowski (S); Saves: Gavyn Munson (C) 1, Owen Weller (C) 2

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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