Canaan Christian Academy squads bounce back from Week One loss

Canaan Christian Academy’s varsity soccer teams kicked-off their regular season schedule this week with a full slate of NY-Penn League matches.

The Eagles hosted their home opener Friday against Central Baptist, then traveled to Ross Corners for their first away game on Tuesday.

Coach John Ashley’s girls were involved in a wild one on Opening Night, eventually coming out on the short end of a 7-4 final.

To their undying credit, the local lasses bounced right back though, powering their way to a 4-1 win.

“With the heart and soul of last year’s team lost to graduation, we knew it was going to take time to find our way this season,” Coach Ashley said.

On the boys side of the ledger, Canaan dropped a 3-2 decision to Central then rallied for a 2-0 shutout of Ross Corners.

“I think the league will be very competitive and I think there are several veteran teams, so I’m not sure where our young teams will end up,” said Coach Ashley. “But, I think we’ll be in the thick of things win or lose.”

Weather permitting, the Eagles will be back on the pitch Friday at Cortland.

Action gets underway with the boys game at 3:30 p.m., followed by the girls contest at 5 p.m.

Young & Exciting

Canaan’s girls varsity roster was decimated by graduation in the spring.

However, what this year’s edition of the team lacks in experience it more than makes up for with youthful exuberance.

On Friday, the Lady Eagles put up a spirited battle against Central, but absorbed a 7-4 setback.

“One of the bright spots was the work of the offense,” said Coach Ashley. “We had several chances, especially down the right wing where freshman Kelli Grimm is quickly showing how dangerous she’s going to be.”

Grimm hammered home two goals and handed out an assist. Senior captain Julia Hunter also tallied twice, while junior Celia Sheard had an assist.

Canaan returned to action Tuesday with a road trip to Vestal (NY) for a battle with Ross Corners.

The Eagles struck twice in the first half with goals from Brooke Eason and Grimm giving them a 2-1 lead at intermission.

“Kelli doesn’t say much, but she quietly takes apart the defense with run after run down the sideline,” Coach Ashley said. “She creates opportunities and gives her teammates good looks.”

Eason notched her second goal of the game in the 51st minute, while Gracie Hughes made it 4-1 later in the half.

Celia Sheard and Paige Branning shared keeper duties and combined to stop all but one of the eight shots they faced.

“I felt the girls really upped their game in the second half,” said Coach Ashley. “Especially with the midfielders controlling the ball with Julia Hunter, Abby Hunter and Katie Lewis feeding the ball to the front line.”

Resilience

Canaan’s boys team enters its first season under the direction of Coach Pat Hughes.

And while the Eagles suffered a tough 3-2 loss at home on Opening Night, they rebounded quickly with a 2-0 victory at Ross Corners.

Mitchell Beckish paced CCA’s offensive assault. The talented sophomore striker tallied both goals, including a penalty kick late in regulation.

Senior sweeper Jacob Hanna anchored a very young Eagle back line, while junior keeper Nick Antolick racked up 14 saves.

The local lads ratcheted up the intensity level on Tuesday, unleashing a barrage of shots on the Ross Corners net. This resulted in a 19-6 advantage and a final score of 2-0.

Beckish ignited the offense again in this one, banging home an unassisted goal just four minutes into the match.

David Hughes added an insurance tally midway through the half, finding the back of Ross Corners’ net off a Beckish assist.

Antolick earned the shutout, while Kevin Lamberton and Kyle Eason also contributed key plays.

“Coach Hughes is very happy with the effort and improvement,” Ashley said. “He is really excited about the potential this young team is showing.”