EAST LYME, June 4 – A year ago, the Avon High boys lacrosse team had a wonderful season. For the first time in school history, the Falcons ran the table going 16-0 in the regular season.
Avon won the NCCC championship and swept through the NCCC Tournament with another two victories. Eventual Class M champion Wilton spoiled the party by handing Avon a six-goal loss in the state tournament.
This season has been more of a challenge. Injuries have forced first-year coach Jeff Lombardo to constantly shuffle his lineup. Five seniors have been lost to season-ending injuries, including two of the team’s three captains, Stephen Griffin and Jake Ernst.
Avon limped into the Class M tournament with a 7-10 record and three losses in last four games. But the Falcons have persevered.
They beat Farmington, 9-5 in a first round contest with Dan Mangrini scoring four goals and Jake Corrigan scoring twice. Goalie Sean Glover made 22 saves. This was against a Farmington team that limited Avon to four goals in a 8-4 loss in early May.
On Wednesday, No. 18 Avon stunned No. 2 East Lyme with a 7-5 decision to earn a spot in the Class M quarterfinal for the second time in three years. The Falcons (9-10) will travel to Redding to face No. 7 Joel Barlow (11-5) on Saturday at 4 p.m. with a berth in the semifinals on the line.
Against East Lyme, Corrigan had four goals while Tyler Gordon, Magrini and Andy St. Jean had one goal each. Matt Guarino, Tyler Gordon, Bob Zaino and Alex Casner each had assists.
Avon’s defense stood tall and played well led by Sean Neagle, Harry Stanczyk and Patrick Logan. Glover looked sharp in net making 10 saves. Quality faceoff victories from Sam Sahl and Magrini helped the Falcons keep possession of the ball and limit the Viking’s opportunities.
It was a nice win for the Falcons against an East Lyme team (15-4) that recently won its fourth straight Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament championship. Griffin Woods and Ethan Opsahl had two goals each for the Vikings.
“We were trying to force things, we were getting passes off, they were sliding hard, getting on our hands, and we just weren’t able to get shots off,” East Lyme coach Gary Wight told the Norwich Bulletin.
NOTES: Four players were recently named to the All-NCCC team including defenseman Patrick Logan, Sean Neagle, midfielder Tyler Gordon and goalie Sean Glover.