TUPPER LAKE - Tupper Lake held off Canton for a 3-2 girls soccer win Wednesday in a contest featuring two evenly matched teams.
One of the big keys for the Lumberjacks was cashing in on some early scoring opportunities that allowed them to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Forward Katie Stuart got the Lumberjacks on the scoreboard first when she kicked the ball into the upper left-hand corner of the net about eight minutes into the game.
Lindsay Maroun follows through on a kick that turned out to be Tupper Lake’s second goal of the game Wednesday in Tupper Lake. The Lumberjacks won the game 3-2 against Canton.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
Six minutes later, teammate Lindsay Maroun put the ball into the right side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
The Lumberjacks held that two-goal lead until Tori Daley notched Canton's first goal with a little less than 11 minutes remaining in the half.
For the most part, the Lumberjacks played their best soccer of the game at the outset. Lumberjacks coach Russ Bartlett said his team played "phenomenal" in the first 20 minutes.
On the flip side, Canton coach Greg Kiah wasn't happy with his team's first-half performance.
"We weren't communicating on defense in the first half," Kiah said. "I thought that my girls battled back and put the pressure on them the last two-thirds of the game."
In the second half, Canton (4-3 overall) was able to put pressure on Tupper Lake by controlling the ball. Still, the Golden Bears weren't able to get many easy scoring chances as the Lumberjack defense was always around the ball.
Tupper Lake got some breathing room 16 minutes into the half when Christine Kelly put the ball over the outreached hands of the Canton goalie, giving her team a 3-1 lead. The score came on a long direct kick and seemed to catch the Canton defense and some of the crowd by surprise.
"They told me to put it in the corner, so I did," Kelly said. "That was the first time I took that kick."
The goal gave Tupper Lake a much-needed cushion in the face of a rally by Canton. The Golden Bears appeared to have fresher legs in the second half as a result of their depth. They had 22 players suited up for the game, while the Lumberjacks had only 16. Canton is generally a Class B team, but moved down to Class C this season.
Canton got its final goal of the game on a score by Emily Pickney with just under seven minutes remaining. That brought the Bears within one goal, but they couldn't find the back of the net the rest of the way.
Lumberjack goalie Brooke Dewyea made several nice stops in the final two minutes.
"We hang tough," Bartlett said. "They kept running fresh legs in, but ultimately it was heart and guts that made the difference."
Heading into the game, Stuart knew it was going to be a tough matchup.
"Yeah, right when we saw them on the schedule, we knew it was going to be full of pressure the whole game," Stuart said. "We knew it was going to be tough during warmups. We kept talking about it. We just showed up with our A-game."
With the win, Tupper Lake improved to 4-2. The Lumberjacks return to action on Friday when they host Brushton-Moira.