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Canton uses quickness to beat Weston, 3-0 and advance to semifinal

Canton’s Emma Foy (21, left) tries to get the ball past Weston’s Kayla Schiffer (12) during Thursday night’s Class S quarterfinal game/ Canton won, 3-0.

CANTON, Nov. 9, 2023 – Last week in the second round of the CIAC Class S tournament, the undefeated Canton High field hockey team faced the Westbrook/Old Lyme co-op team for the second time in a week. The Warriors rolled to a four-goal win over the Wild Knights.

Westbrook/Old Lyme forced Canton to do something they had not done all season – play from behind. The Wild Knights took an early 1-0 lead before the Warriors eventually won in overtime.

Lesson learned.

No. 2 seed Canton took command from the start in Tuesday’s Class S quarterfinal to beat No. 6 Weston, 3-0 on the turf field to earn a spot in the state tournament semifinals for the second straight year.

The Warriors (18-0) will face No. 6 Stonington (16-2-1) on Tuesday at a time and neutral location to be announced. A year ago, Stonington outlasted Canton on penalty strokes on a snowy evening. “That’s still in the back of their mind,” Canton coach Margaret Bristol said.

Canton didn’t allow Weston (13-4-2) many opportunities to attack the net. For the most part, the Warriors were quicker to the ball at both ends of the field, allowing them to control the game and create scoring opportunities.

“In our last game, it took us a while to get started and (playing with) intensity,” Canton’s Ellie Bahre said. “(Tonight), we were right out there and went right at them. It feels so much better when you go out there and start with intensity from the beginning.”

Canton’s Rachel Sidrane (8) moves the ball up the sideline despite pressure from Weston’s Noa Oren in Thursday night’s Class S quarterfinal game in Canton. The Warriors won, 3-0.

Bahre had her team-leading 20th goal early in the game, taking a pass from Emma Foy and rifling it past Weston goalie Mia Oren with just 2:21 gone in the game off a penalty corner.

Bahre said that the Warriors had certain expectations about Westbrook/Old Lyme considering that they had beaten the Wild Knights just a week earlier.

“This time (against Weston), we had nothing to expect so we went into the game and tried out best and it feels so good,” she said.

Bristol said, “We knew we didn’t play our game (against Westbrook/Old Lyme). We played with heart but it just wasn’t the way Canton field hockey plays or the way that Canton field hockey practices.

“We knew we had to come out today with intensity from the beginning to the end,” Bristol said.

Canton made it 2-0 on a goal from Emma Foy off a pass from Madi Dufresne with 2:41 left in the first half, off another penalty corner.

Weston played better in the second half and had a few opportunities but they trailed by two goals. O’Connor played well to keep Weston off the scoreboard.

In the fourth quarter, Bridget Sonju used her speed to fly down the near sideline to get the ball into the Weston zone. Sonju’s cross went to Keagan Grecula near the far post, who tapped it into the net before Oren could move to her right and try to make a stop.

Grecula’s second goal of the season gave Canton a 3-0 lead with 6:23 remaining. O’Connor had three saves in goal to earn her 10th shutout of the season.

Canton is playing in the back-to-back semifinal games for the first time since 2006-07. The Warriors are looking for their first finals appearance since 2007 and their first state championship since 1999.

Canton won their 18th straight game – their longest winning streak since 1991-93 when the Warriors won a school-record 47 consecutive games.

Canton 3, Weston 0
At Canton
Weston (13-4-2)              0  0  0  0  — 0
Canton (18-0)    1  1  0  1  — 3
Goals: Ellie Bahre (C), Emma Foy (C), Keagan Grecula (C); Assists: Erin Mackin (C), Madi Dufresne (C), Bridget Sonju (C); Saves: Mia Oren (W) 7, Lyla O’Connor (C) 3; Penalty corners: Weston, 8-4

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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