The JV lady bears have had a productive start to a high-hopes season. This young squad has every position on the field solidly covered with strength, competence, and passion. As they prepare for the varsity level they’ve worked hard to improve strategies in terms of team play and individual ability. This was especially evident in games against Massena, who is undefeated and highly skilled.
In the first match Sara Aldous scored the lone goal for the Bears while the Raiders were able to finish 6 strong bullets to the net. But on their home turf about 4 weeks later, Canton narrowed the gap within a goal and settled on a loss of 4-3 with pride for much improvement.
The Lady Bears have won all other games so far in the season as summarized below:
9/7 vs Malone 2-1 win. Goals by Salma Moumen and Sara Aldous; Assist by Kailin Backus
9/9 vs Massena 1-6 loss. Goal by Sara Aldous; Assist by Haley Burnett
9/10 vs Norwood-Norfolk 7-0 win. Goals by Chloe Baxter, Viv Coburn, Sara Aldous, Kailin Backus (2), Gracen Parker (2); Assists by Viv Coburn, Salma Moumen, Abby Nee, Eliza Creurer, Sara Aldous, & Gracen Parker
9/20 vs OFA 6-0 win. Goals by Winnie Downs, Viv Coburn, Olivia Sommerstein, Sara Aldous, Kailin Backus, Maysa Moumen; Assists by Sara Aldous (2), Gracen Parker, Haley Burnett
9/28 vs Gouverneur 2-1 win. Goals by Gracen Parker (2); Assist by Kailin Backus
9/30 vs Norwood-Norfolk 4-0 win. Goals by Salma Moumen, Sara Aldous, Kailin Backus, Calie Klassen; Assists by Viv Coburn (2) and Kailin Backus
10/4 vs Massena 3-4 loss (felt like a win). Goals by Viv Coburn (2) and Salma Moumen; Assists by Kailin Backus and Calie Klassen
10/7 vs Madrid-Waddington 4-0 win. Goals by Viv Coburn, Sara Aldous (2), and Kailin Backus; Assists by Elaina Robert and Kailin Backus (2)
More about the squad…The dependable defense is lead by speedy sweeper Winnie Downs who is the boss of the offsides trap. Abby Nee is not afraid to make an effective escape up the field carrying the ball “all the way.” And the light but tough Chloe Baxter will not be pushed around. Her aggression and speed keep her upright and ready for any fast forward. Stopper/center mid, Elaina Robert has come out of her “defensive comfort zone” to push the ball beyond the half. Her fearless speed and strong foot is an asset to both the defense and offense.
The rest of the midfield can be counted on to support in either direction. Viv Coburn stands out as center mid (but seemingly everywhere on the field) with confident skill and an unmatched eagerness. With five goals and three assists this season she is a team leader. This initiative and her communication skills make her a respected team captain aside Downs and forward Sara Aldous.
Other half backs, Salma Moumen and Olivia Sommerstein complete the midfield space. Moumen’s ability to shoot a rocket from outside the 18 has been a surprise to opposing teams including Norwood and Massena. She is also the “give and go queen,” always thinking about how she can help her team. Sommerstein is small but fierce with ball patience and an aggression that is combative but clean and sportsmanlike. Striker Sara Aldous leads the team in goals scored with seven for the season along with three assists.
Coach Kim French has watched Sara grow in size, strength and skill since seventh grade and would say she is the most improved and one of the hardest working athletes. Sara is such a well rounded player but her hunger for a goal makes her a good choice for the striker position.
Other forwards, Gracen Parker and Kailin Backus make the front line on point. Parker has used her natural ability to move the ball around defenders in a one v. one matchup from a young age. This coordination along with a strong foot makes her effective on the wing. Eighth grader Kailin Backus was recruited to JV for her exceptional power behind crosses and shots. She leads the team with total points and assists having five goals and six assists this season. Her reliable corner kicks have put the ball directly in front of the net for multiple opportunities in every game.
Completing the starting lineup is goalkeeper Faith Christy. Faith has obvious experience in the net and is not afraid to take a dive or aggressive call on the ball. With 12 saves so far in the season she is a well grounded final stop to any opposing team. Maysa Moumen has taken on a new position as back-up goalie this season and has proven herself valuable with a natural punting ability and positive attitude to try something new.
Other supportive players to the JV squad include Eliza Creurer, Haley Burnett, Lucy DeCoteau, and Calie Klassen. Creurer is another outstanding eighth grade athlete enlisted by Coach French. Her acute intelligence, athleticism, versatility, and open mindedness has made her invaluable because she can be used effectively in any position. Haley Burnett comes up from the modified level with experience as a forward and is a hard working, eager to please athlete. Her sweet and patient disposition fulfills a position on the team that holds a team in high esteem.
Coach French is happy to introduce Lucy DeCoteau as a sophomore newcomer to competitive soccer. Lucy has a natural athleticism and in practices is often the fastest runner with great coordination. She will be a strong player with added confidence and experience.
And finally, Calie Klassen has suffered an injury for much of the season but comes back full throttle with a goal and an assist along with six shots on net in limited time on the field. Calie is another asset to the team that coaches have high hopes for.
Honorable mention Mae O’Shea has been out for the duration of the season with injury but hoping to get back on the field soon. Coming up from modified as a stopper substitute, Mae’s dedication despite some hardship is respected and she is missed by the team.
“This is one of the most talented and fun groups of kids I’ve ever worked with. I’ve seen tremendous improvement since I started working with them three years ago and even just this season the growth in confidence, aggression, and ability is evident,” said Coach French. “I am so proud in every game to see things we’ve worked on like give-and-go strategies, corner kick set ups, kick-off plays, our own team talk like ‘crash,’ ‘negative,’ ‘back through,’ etc. They are hard working but also know how to have a good time when it’s appropriate. Aside from all the hard work we have had practices that consist of competitions with Powerade ‘trophies,’ a cornhole tournament, kickball, tik tok dances, and just everyday positive banter. They remind me of my daughter’s final four basketball team that were so successful because they got along so well and valued each other with a team effort that exemplified the quote ‘There is no I in TEAM.'”
This post comes courtesy of Coach Kim French