AVON, Nov. 8 – The Avon High girls soccer team had the game in control. They had a two-goal lead with about 20 minutes remaining. But don’t underestimate the heart of a champion.
Defending Class L champion Guilford scored two goals in the final 20 minutes to tie the game. However, junior Hannah Davey scored with one second left to lift the Falcons to a thrilling 3-2 decision over the Indians in the Class L quarterfinals Saturday at Fisher Meadows.
The victory, the 400th in the long career of head coach Jim Murray, moves No. 4 Avon (15-1-2) into the upcoming Class L semifinals against Mercy High in Middletown (12-3-3) for the opportunity to play in the state championship game. Avon played in the four consecutive Class L finals from 2009-12, winning twice in 2011 and 2012.
Davey shot from about 25 yards away toward the back post and beat Guilford goalie Emily Stephens for the game winner. It was Davey’s 14th goal of the season, which ties her for the team lead with Michaela Marcus.
“That last minute was a blur,” Murray said. “Alley Kolb got the ball up the left side and passed it to Taylor Lisevick who distributed it to Hannah Davey with about 12 seconds left. She was about 25 yards from the goal. She turned to her right, took a couple of dribbles and shot with about four seconds left.
“The goalie was ready and positioned inside the right post. She got her hands on it but it was a hard shot and she couldn’t stop it from going in. It was an unbelievable finish.”
Playing on back-to-back days, Avon took an 1-0 lead on a goal from Amanda Holtzman with 8:22 left in the first half, going the length of the field. The Falcons beat E.O. Smith 24 hours earlier at Fisher Meadows, 4-0. That game was been postponed from Thursday to Friday due to wet field conditions.
Avon extended its lead to 2-0 with 25 minutes left in the game when Lisevick converted on a penalty kick.
No. 5 Guilford (17-4) rallied when Allison Stephens scored off a corner kick from teammate Julia Carr and then Andrea Basilicato scored on a loose ball in front of the net with 6:26 remaining in the game. The initial shot from Carr hit the cross bar and began bouncing around the front of the net.
Avon goalie Lydia Cuddlebrook, who plays in the second half, was hit in the head in the scramble in front of the net that led to the second goal and teammate Emma Carlone, who plays the first half in net, finished off the contest.
“Lydia was on the ground diving for a ball and was kicked in the head,” Murray said. “The ball came loose and deflected to one of their players and they scored the goal that tied the game.”
Carlone and Cuddlebrook made 14 saves in net for Avon while Stephens made 10 stops in goal for Guilford. Holtzman did a great job defensively on Guilford’s top player Julia Carr and Lisevick and Michaela Marcus at midfield played well on both sides of the ball.
Murray’s career record is now 400-103-40 in 29 seasons.