By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Sports Online
FARMINGTON, Oct. 16, 2001 -- No one was really quite sure what to expect from the Canton High field hockey team Tuesday night prior to its game with No. 10 Farmington at Tunxis Mead Field, even Canton coach Nancy Grace.
The Warriors were only 3-3-2 and had won only once in its last six games.
Yet, it was Canton that taught Farmington a lesson in composure, rallying from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to beat the Indians for the first time since 1979 with an exciting 3-2 victory.
It was the most goals allowed in a game by Farmington since dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to Watertown in the 1998 Class M tournament.
Canton took 28 shots on goal and senior Cara Pasquale made 22 saves, including several spectacular stops. But it wasn't enough.
"We had a break down in the basics," Farmington coach Lorene McLaughlin said. "They were not skill related items but focus related. It was focusing on the simple things like backing up on free hits and hitting to our strong side. Canton was taking the quick hits like we're supposed to do."
Canton (4-3-2) moved with quickness and with a purpose. Too frequently, Farmington got caught watching the play, a split-second too slow.
"We realized we had the talent but we added the passion and heart," said Canton's Abby Dailey, who scored the game-winning goal. "No one let up."
The Indians (7-2-1) led 1-0 at halftime, courtesy of a Jen Boyle goal with only 6:11 gone in the game. Boyle redirected a rebound of a hard shot by Jessica Dahle off the pads of Canton goalie Molly Daniels into the net.
With only 1:57 gone in the second half, Canton's Sarah Miner slammed a shot in the six-inch gap between Pasquale and the post to tie the game. But before the Canton fans could finish celebrating, Farmington retook the lead.
The Indians quickly marched downfield with Dahle scoring 15 seconds later off a penalty corner for a 2-1 lead and the opportunity to seize control of the contest.
Canton, 0-5-5 in its last 10 games with Farmington, refused to crumble. Canton continued to quickly hit the ball in the gaps of the FHS defense and chase down the loose balls.
The hustle paid off when Canton's Ali Gradischer was slowed by defender Noreen Stewart, who took the ball off Gradisher's stick. But Gradisher kept going, regained control of the ball and faked out Steward to drive toward the goal where she beat Pasquale to tie the game, 2-2 with 10:26 remaining.
Daley's blast off a penalty corner to the far side of the goal cage with 7:38 left was the game-winner.
In the final seven minutes, Farmington had its only three penalty corner chances of the second half. But the Indians couldn't get a clean shot on goal.
"We had this type of effort against Wamogo (1-0 loss) and Granby (2-1 loss) but they didn't focus and believe in themselves to finish," said Grace, who earned her 250th career victory. "We switched to shorter penalty corners and it gave us time to hit the ball."
Farmington's leading scorer Lacey Morley (15 goals) was shut out for only the second time. She was scoreless in the 2-1 loss to Wamogo. Dahle had some nice opportunities at midfield while Christine Nicol played well defensively.
Pasquale came out of the net several times and made some diving stops on Canton drives.
"This was a shocker," said Pasquale. "We played hard but we can play better than that. We learned we can get beat today. We have to work just as hard. Nothing is a given."
DIVOTS: The 28 shots was a season-high for a FHS opponent. ... Twenty-two saves was a career-high performance for Pasquale. ... The win over Farmington was the first ever for Grace, who is now 250-31-25 in 17 years. .. McLaughlin is seven wins shy of 200 career victories with a record of 193-67-28. She has a record of 3-1-3 against Canton. ... The goal was Dahle's sixth of the year while Boyle scored her second goal. ...Since 1995, Farmington has allowed three goals in a game only twice.
Canton 3, Farmington 2
Canton (4-3-2) 0 3 -- 3
Farmington (7-2-1) 1 1 -- 2
Goals -- Ali Gradischer (Can), Abby Daley (Can), Sarah Miner (Can), Jessica Dahle (F), Jen Boyle (F); Assists --
Dahle (F); Saves -- Molly Daniels (Can) 4, Cara Pasquale (F) 22. Penalty corners -- Canton, 11-7; Shots -- Canton, 28-15.