Canton wins second state championship in four years with 1-0 win over Adams in D-1 FinalSoccer  |
Brighton — Canton claimed its second state championship in four years with a 1-0 win over Rochester Adams on Saturday.
With the win, the Chiefs’ record remained unblemished as Canton went undefeated during its championship run with 24 wins and 3 ties.
“It was very special and a lot of fun coaching these kids,” Canton coach Mark Zemanski said.
“We were a pretty even keel team so we didn’t focus on it. I always felt my team was the best in the state, to be honest. We move the ball well when we play our game, and that’s what we did today.”
With 25:51 left in the first half, Canton struck first off the foot of junior midfielder Jason Ren for his third goal of the season.
Senior midfielder Kyle Mettlach defended a Highlander throw in, and headed the ball to fellow senior Jack Zemanski. Zemanski offered a quick touch pass to Ren who was crashing the goal box, offered a deke and sniped the right corner for a 1-0 lead.
“Kyle and Jack worked their butts off to save the ball from going out. When I got the ball, I hit it as best as I could because a defender was right there, and it went in,” Ren said.
Canton from then on would rely on its defense who stepped up earning clears despite facing a couple of solid chances from Adams (13-5-7) in the second half.
“Our defense has been special all year. We’ve given up thirteen goals in 27 games. My center backs Sam Belcher and Chris Dooley are outstanding players with big hearts, and our outside backs that we rotate in compliment them very well,” Zemanski said.
The Highlanders received a series of set pieces and a free kick in the matter of a minute and a half in midway through he second half.
Senior Nick Lumsden took a free kick from 25-yards out, and quickly passed it to Senior Kevin Lencioni who worked his way towards the net. After he cleared his defender he offered a shot that the wind carried just over the cross bar.
“I don’t believe in wind too much. Players win the game, not the weather. We had chances in the second half, but we just couldn’t finish them,” Adams coach Josh Hickey said.
“We’re very capable of putting together a string of constant offense all season. When we get good opportunities, we look to capitalize off our set pieces. We just didn’t find the back of the net.”
Adams staged another late rally in and effort to tie the game and send it into extra time with just under ten minutes left in the game when Alex Kim split the defense and offered a shot that just sailed wide.
Zemanski said after the game that he would have liked an extra goal because he knew that Adams would test his team all game.
The Chiefs received a couple of good opportunities by junior forward Sam Deloy including a try in the first half that sailed just over the crossbar.
Jason Ren had another opportunity midway through the second half, but Adam goalkeeper Dylan Brown made an incredible save as he dove to his right. Brown punched the ball outside to his defenders who would then earn the clear.
Adams will lose only eight seniors from this year’s state finalist squad, and will return not only Dylan Brown, but also one of their top goal scorers junior Lennart Zorn who had 15 goals and eight assists this season.
Canton loses 12 seniors including both its goalkeepers, and one of its top goal scorers in forward Carter Schenk. The Chiefs will return Ren, Deloy (12 goals this season), and top goal scorer junior Hunter Olson.