AVON, Nov. 12 – Seconds matter, especially in high school athletics. These aren’t seasoned professionals. They are teen-age athletes. Nursing a one-goal lead throughout the second half, the No. 2 Avon High girls soccer team tried to run out the clock in their second round Class L contest with No. 15 E.O. Smith from Storrs. They nearly succeeded.
The Falcons celebrate with goalie Kaylan Conrad after Avon defeated E.O. Smith on penalty kicks.
But despite being draped by an Avon defender, E.O. Smith sophomore Karina Larson took the ball across the goalmouth and at the last second fired a shot that bounced off Falcon goalie Kaylan Conrad to tie the game at 1-1 with seven seconds left in regulation forcing overtime.
That goal gave them another 20 minutes of overtime to try and win. But Avon wouldn’t yield and finally eliminated the pesky Panthers on penalty kicks to earn a 2-1 victory and advance to the Class L quarterfinals on Tuesday at Fisher Meadows at 2 p.m. against either Berlin or Wilton.
Avon (13-1-2) prevailed on penalty kicks, 4-2. Jenna Donahue, Erica Primovic and Catherine Jordan each had successful penalty kicks for the Falcons. Sophomore Youn Jae Baek clinched the victory by scoring low to the right side.
“They had to dig deep mentally and emotionally,” Avon coach Jim Murray said. “To get a win after giving up a goal with seven seconds left in regulation is outstanding. This is a great group (of players), a very positive group. They work hard.”
Primovic made a great play in the first half to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. She got the ball at midfield and drove to the goal, beating two or three defenders along the way for her team-leading 17th goal of the season.
But Avon couldn’t add to its total.
“We had opportunities to score in the first and second half and in overtime but we couldn’t get it done,” Murray said. “It’s unfortunate it came down to penalty kicks.”
Avon had several corner kick opportunities in the final two minutes of overtime but couldn’t get a clean shot on goal. E.O. Smith goalie Rachel Gagnon played an outstanding game.