Canfield blanked by Kenston
CANFIELD — After winning Division II district championships in two of the previous three seasons, Canfield girls soccer coach Phil Simone said he and his team had heard from others outside the program that this season would be a rebuilding year for the Cardinals.
Still, Canfield reached a district championship for the fourth season in row. This time, the Cardinals fell short.
Sixth-seeded Kenston got a goal and an assist from both Aidan Myles and Skylar Cornell, and its defense stymied the second-seeded Cardinals in a 3-0 win Thursday night.
“I just told the girls there is nothing to be ashamed of,”
SSimone said. “We lost a lot from last year’s team, including five three-year starters. Everybody kept saying this is the year Canfield is rebuilding. But we still got to this point, so there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.”
The Bombers were making their first trip to the district finals.
“First and foremost, let me tell you this, it was an honor to share the field with them,” Kenston coach Jonathan Kostoff said. “Phil runs a terrific program here and had won two out of the last three district championships. He’s one of the winningest high school coaches in Ohio history. To be out here competing against a great program in our first-ever district championship match, this is amazing.”
Canfield had the better of play early in the match, but it never materialized into any dangerous scoring opportunities.
“I think they were the aggressor the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game, then we settled in,” Kostoff said. “We gave them a ton of ball pressure. We wanted to throw numbers at them because they have so many good players in the midfield.”
The Bombers, who improved to 16-3, will play Richfield Revere in a regional semifinal Tuesday at a site to be determined.
“We never got a good (scoring) chance,” Simone said. “They were much more athletic overall than we are and they got to more balls than we did. That first step with them, that’s soccer IQ. They knew a step ahead of us where they wanted to go with the ball. They had that advantage. We just couldn’t get that push forward, especially in the second half.”
Myles scored the first goal with 8:46 left in the first half when she headed in a corner from Sophia Mighton. That boosted the Bombers’ confidence.
“We defend at a super-high level and have allowed only nine goals all season,” Kostoff said. “We knew if we could get one, whether off a set piece or in the run of play, we’d have a really good chance to win. Getting a goal in the first half, in these conditions, we felt good about our chances.”
The score remained 1-0 until just 9:41 remained in the game. That’s when Mighton took a pass from Cornell, beat a defender and sent a rocket past Canfield goalkeeper Bayann Jadallah from 17 yards out at a sharp angle. It was a high degree of difficulty.
“Once they got that second one, we had to push up and try to get back in the game, but we conceded the third (goal),” Simone said. “That happens in soccer. What impresses me is that (Kenston) is young. They only start one senior, the goalie (Natalie Adante), so that’s a team that will be vying for district titles and more the next few years. That (Cornell) is an absolute stud. I was really, really impressed by her.”
The Bombers’ final goal was scored by Cornell, unassisted.
The Cardinals, who finished 13-4-2, will lose eight seniors from this squad.
“On any given day, three or four of them were starters,” Simone said. “Three of them — Morgan Carey, Marissa Ieraci and Kailey Charnesky — were three-year starters or four-year letterwinners. Every year it’s tough to say goodbye to our seniors. This group was special to me because I’ve worked with a lot of them since fifth or sixth grade, not just since they got in high school. It was a good group.”