Boys soccer: Canfield captains Fox area standouts

 
By Steve Nemeth
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/9/2018 10:51 AM
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  • Alex Canfield of Crystal Lake South High School is the All-Area Team Captain.

      Alex Canfield of Crystal Lake South High School is the All-Area Team Captain. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

What better credential for being captain of The Daily Herald's Fox All-Area unit than to be the acknowledged leader of a historic state championship squad?

Alex Canfield was an unmistakable force in leading Crystal Lake South to the school's first boys soccer Class 2A state title. And because he insists the Gators were loaded with many other talented players blazing a new path of success for South, the junior would just as easily find a way to mesh all the skill, speed, and technique of the other 14 All-Area honorees.

"The team fed off his energy and being one of the hardest workers ever, that meant he was willing to do anything needed on offense or defense, in the air, with his back to the goal, you name it," said South coach Brian Allen. "He's a man of special character and so mentally tough."

An Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State pick and a repeat All-Fox Valley Conference honoree, the junior forward made certain the Gators didn't stop with their eighth regional plaque. South added sectional and supersectional trophies en route to bringing the school's third state title -- boys golf in 1980 and baseball in 2017 -- home in time for a halftime showing during Saturday's Class 6A football playoff game.

"Being named captain is like winning state, neither one was possible without my teammates," Canfield said. "We had a brotherhood that put in the work, practiced hard, and kept growing. We'd watch film after every game and identify what we did right and what we could do better."

That sounds tough to do considering Canfield scored a regulation goal in six of seven postseason matches, and in that seventh one, he had the decisive conversion during the shootout.

"The thing with Alex is that if he missed finishing a chance the first time, it was almost guaranteed the next one was going in," Allen insisted.

His 11 game-winners within 33 goals and 72 points -- all team highs -- were accompanied by six assists. There were two goals in both regional wins and the sectional opener. Since he only tallied one goal in the sectional final, he came back with a hat trick in the supersectional.

Friday's semifinal was versus a Waterloo Gibault Catholic program making its third consecutive state finals appearance. That match like all the other games in the 2A finals had to be decided in a shootout following 20 extra minutes. Canfield was the sixth shooter and his conversion made it 5-4 in favor of the Gators.

In Saturday's championship versus Peoria Notre Dame, Canfield set up teammate Ty Getzinger to erase an initial one-goal deficit for a 2-1 halftime lead. Canfield used Ryan Coughlin's assist to put South up 3-2 before the Irish forced another shootout in which the Gators prevailed.

"There's a little extra pressure in postseason shootouts, but really it comes down to staying calm and doing what we've practiced," Canfield explained. "We practice them throughout the year, so I'd say we all step up and already have it in our minds we'll convert."

That same confidence enabled the 2A Gators (7-0-1) to capture the Fox Valley Conference banner finishing ahead of strong 3A programs like Dundee-Crown and Jacobs. Technically, their 22-2-3 record ties the school record for most victories in a single season. However, their .870 win percentage is a tad better than the 2004 unit which went 22-5-2 (.793).

And they carry over into 2019 a 15-match unbeaten string (13-0-2).

"Yeah we would have preferred those (state finals) matches would have ended in regulation, but we were confident in each other. I love each and every player on this team. There's nothing that will ever split us apart," Canfield said. "We are more than just a team, we're more than just a brotherhood, we are a family."

Hence the seat at the head of the all-area table.

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