It's been a season of firsts for Canaan Christian Academy's varsity soccer program.
Coach John Ashley's teams made their debut as members of the NY/Penn League this fall and left an indelible impression on their opponents.
Led by the tag-team efforts of Allyson Wittenbrader and Tori Grimm, the Lady Eagles soared to both regular season and tournament titles. Canaan's girls finished up the campaign with a 16-2-1 overall record.
Joe Chupick anchored the boys squad from his keeper position and the Eagles responded with 10 wins and a trip to the tournament consolation game.
A boatload of awards and accolades rolled in for CCA on the heels of these efforts. Included among them were multiple berths in the NY/Penn all-star games, including one for Coach Ashley.
"It was definitely a privilege to coach these girls in the all-star game," he said. "We had a wicked awesome season and this was a great way to cap it all off."
Four Canaan girls traveled to Binghamton to play for NY/Penn against the Empire State Christian Athletic League squad. Ashlea Swingle, Corinne VanDeLinde, Allyson Wittenbrader and Grace VanDeLinde all earned a starting nods in the annual classic.
On the boys side of the ledger, Chupick and teammate Joe Schweinsberg were both honored with selections and each played a major role versus their ESCAL opponents.
On the Pitch
Swingle led the charge for the NY/Penn squad in what evolved into a defensive battle.
A senior sweeper who also won All-League honors for her stellar play during the regular season, Swingle dominated the backfield in this one. However, she also made her presence felt up front, unleashing four shots at the ESCAL net.
By the time the final whistle sounded, NY/Penn had piled up a staggering 24-8 advantage in shots.
Page 2 of 3 - Central's Kayla Krewson and Meghan Wheaton of Ross Corners shared the keeping duties for Ny/Penn.
Krewson turned away all four shots she faced in the first half before turning the net over to Wheaton. The talented freshman saw just two shots in the second half, but she had to make diving stops on each to preserve the shutout.
The game remained scoreless until after intermission when NY/Penn finally broke through with what proved to be the gamewinner.
Kaci Czajkowski of North Rome snagged a loose ball near the top left corner of the 18. Several ESCAL defenders bore down on her, but Kaci deftly slipped the ball through to Central's Sarah Bolles who one-time it past the keeper.
The goal came with just under 13 minutes remaining in regulation. Swingle, Wheaton and the rest of the defense made it stand up as NY/Penn hung on for a 1-0 victory.
For her non-stop hustle and relentless defensive play, Swingle was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 All Star Game.
“If Ashlea hadn’t been back there, we wouldn’t have won the game," NY/Penn co-coach Leslie Weiss of Central Baptist said.
Corinne VanDeLinde was quick to agree, saying: “Ashlea is Most Outstanding Player because she’s always back there to sweep up what gets by everyone else.”
In the nightcap of this very special doubleheader, NY/Penn defeated the ESCAL boys by a score of 2-1.
Canaan's Joe Schweinsburg started the game on defense and Joe Chupick took over keeper duties in the second half with his team trailing 1-0.
Chupick stopped every shot he faced in the second half from any ESCAL attackers who managed to elude Joe Schweinsburg and company.
Page 3 of 3 - This allowed his teammates the opportunity to score the equalizer and then the game winner late in the contest to give NY/Penn a sweep in this year’s contests.