The boys varsity soccer team kicked off its 2022 campaign last week with a scrimmage against the Lisbon Golden Knights before traveling twice to Chazy for the annual season opening tournament. Despite competitive games, the Bears were unable to notch their first game win in the tournament, but look to build off the success of the scrimmage against Lisbon.

The Bears’ 2022 campaign began with a scrimmage against the Knights of Lisbon. A slow start from the hosting Bears led to a goal from Lisbon’s Isaac Larock, who volleyed one off of a corner kick just 10 minutes in. The Bears tied it up before the half ended, as Jonney Mclear walked his way through just about every Knight defender and pounded it into the net.

Canton continued to keep the momentum into the second half, where captain Owen Hall put a direct kick into the bottom left corner from 30 yards away. Solid defense and excellent conditioning from the Bears led to many more opportunities, including a shot off the crossbar from Bradley Frank on a breakaway. Lisbon was unable keep the deficit at one, as the relentless Canton pressure prevailed again and Mclear banged home his second of the game off of a nifty left-footed cross from Josh Aldous. That was all the scoring as the Bears defeated Lisbon, 3-1.

The boy’s first official game was on Thursday in Chazy, against the hosting Eagles. Coach Caufield loves to bring his soccer team to this Tournament, because it gives his team the difficult task of playing a multiple time State Championship winning team in the Eagles. Right out of the gates, it was visible that Canton was out to make a statement. It seemed as though all 11 starters were shot out of a cannon, and sophomore goaltender Jackson Ames made two magnificent saves to keep the Eagles off the board. The Bears kept up with the very strong Eagles, and ended the first half tied at zero. Despite getting outshot, Canton felt as though they had won the first half. It was obvious that Chazy was a little frustrated that their offensive chances had been foiled by both Canton’s defenders and Ames.

The teams carried their intense energy and game play into the second half, where both teams continued to pressure the other. Despite having grade A chances, it seemed as though both teams either missed the net or the opposing goalie made strong saves. A hard soccer play by Jack Kerrigan led to him leaving the game with an upper body injury, but it gave the Bears more energy. Through the second 40 minutes, the score remained 0-0.

Going into the first 10 minute overtime, Coach Caufield and Assistant Coach Reed’s emphasis on conditioning was not only shown, but seemed to be paying off. Canton once again had chances that were not capitalized on, but continued making great defensive plays and saves to thwart Chazy’s efforts. The second overtime was no different, as neither team could capitalize and the score was 0-0.

The game goes down in the books as a tie, but in order to decide who advances in the tournament,penalty kicks were needed. Vincent Nelson-Fuse and Mclear both scored, but the other shooters were unsuccessful as Chazy won the PKs, 3-2.

Canton’s final game of the week was once again in Chazy, but this time against Beekmantown. The game started similar to the Lisbon scrimmage, even though Canton jumped ahead on a penalty kick that was scored by Mclear. The boys seemed to have a fraction of the energy they had against Chazy, and Beekmantown capitalized on some defensive miscues, as they led the Bears 2-1 at halftime.

The Bears second half was much more reminiscent of the prior game, but the inability to score led to frustration. The Bears had the dreaded agitation that seems to lead to bounces and calls going the other way. Ethan Francey and Hall had excellent crosses and through balls that were either swallowed up by Beekmantown defenders or mishandled by the Bears offense. Despite playing a very solid second half, Canton was unable to bury a goal and was defeated by Beekmantown, 2-1.

The Bears are back in action this week, beginning league play on the road against Gouverneur on Thursday.

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