WATERBURY, Nov. 20 – The regular season was a bit different for the Avon High girls soccer team this year. In the previous three years, the Falcons won 44 games, lost just one and tied three. This year, Avon lost three games and was outscored 7-0 in a pair of losses to NCCC champion Suffield.
But the No. 8 Falcons (16-3-1) have ripped off eight straight wins including four one-goal victories in a row to earn a chance to play for the Class L state championship Saturday at 3 p.m. at Waterbury’s Municipal Stadium against No. 6 New Canaan (18-1-3), the FCIAC co-champions.
On Tuesday, Avon outlasted RHAM, 2-1 to earn its first trip to the finals since 2003. “This was kind of rebuilding year for us, but from Day 1 they’ve done an outstanding job developing, every practice and every game,” Avon coach Jim Murray told the Manchester Journal Inquirer. “We emphasized keep working, keep building, and good things would happen.”
Senior J.J. Gower had two goals for Avon in the game, scoring her first goal with 26:52 left in the game and adding an insurance goal with 11:46 remaining.
“This whole season people were talking us down, that we weren’t good enough and we couldn’t do it,” Gower told the Journal Inquirer. “We wanted to prove to everyone and ourselves that we are good.” Gower has scored a team-leading 17 goals for the Falcons.
New Canaan shutout Masuk on Wednesday, 3-0, to return the finals for the first time since 2004, when they beat Suffield. Three Ram players had goals and New Canaan posted its sixth shutout in seven postseason games.
“Masuk showed early on they’re a capable team if you give them space and time,” New Canaan coach Kirk Bamford told the New Canaan Advertiser. “But my girls have shown time again that when they face teams that you think might be a bit too much, they come out and play out of their skin.”
“They’ve had a great season,” Bamford told the Advertiser regarding Avon. “They beat a lot of teams so they’ve obviously got something going for them. But the final is the final. Records go out the window and it’s just down to how you turn up that day. The girls have applied themselves to every situation enormously well and I just hope we can take that next step and do it on Saturday.”