PLATTSBURGH — The Canton girls’ soccer team, heading into Tuesday’s Class C regional game against AuSable Valley, hadn’t allowed a goal in its last six contests going back to October 24.
That changed when Rachel Knapp’s goal with 11:49 left in regulation gave the Patriots a 1-0 victory in the opening round of the NYSPHSAA Tournament.
The Section VII champion Patriots (8-11) will head to Stillwater on Saturday to play in the state quarterfinals against Section II champion Hoosick Falls. On the line is a trip to the Final Four.
“The girls played an awesome game,” said AuSable Valley coach Bruce Bourgeois. “We knew going in that it was going to be a low-scoring game because Canton hadn’t allowed a goal in quite a while.
“And, they play against big schools in their league, just like we do during the regular season.”
The Golden Bears (12-6-1) had a few chances here and there, but the Patriots held the edge in play with a 12-3 shot advantage. Canton did not have a shot on goal in the first half.
“They came out a little stronger than we did at the beginning,” said Bourgeois. “But then we began to play well. I felt we were able to control the better of play and had some great crosses.
“I felt we might get a couple goals because Canton looked nervous when we got the ball in their end. I did feel better, however, about things when we got the first one.”
It, however, remained a scoreless contest until the 28:11 mark of the second half.
Knapp got the ball from Haley Taylor and sent a hard shot from 25 yards out into the corner of the net.
“Rachel has a powerful shot and she is actually better from 25 yards out than 18,” said Bourgeois. “It was a beautiful goal. She practices from that distance a lot in practice.”