AVON, Oct. 24 – It hasn’t been easy for the Avon High boys soccer team this fall. Coming off back-to-back Class L state championships, the Falcons have struggled to score goals and pick up wins.
Avon has played in six overtime games this year and has gone 1-3-2. Eight contests have been decided by one goal and the Falcons have lost five of them.
The fifth one-goal defeat came on Monday night under the lights as Spirit Week kicked off at Avon High. For the second time this season, the Falcons fell to Simsbury, 1-0 on a goal from Elijah Rowland with 28:22 left in the first half.
The defeat didn’t eliminate the Falcons from contention for a berth in the CIAC’s Class LL tournament but it didn’t help. Avon (4-8-2) needs to pick up at least three points in their final two games. The Falcons play at Southington (7-4-2) on Friday night at 6 p.m., and close out the regular season on Monday when they host Farmington (10-2-1) at Fisher Meadows at 3:45 p.m.
“Today was a microcosm of the season,” Avon head coach David Zlatin said. “We’ve struggled to score goals this year and we couldn’t get one tonight. They’re a good defensive team but we made some mistakes we shouldn’t have made and it cost us.”
Simsbury (6-6) got the only goal it would need early in the first half. Avon had most of the early opportunities but Rowland made a move on an Avon defender and curled a shot into the upper corner of the net. Falcon goalie Max Umansky (6 saves) had no shot at it.
Zlatin had hoped that the Falcon offense had awakened with six goals in the last two games – three each from senior Daniel Shayler and Ian Jalbert. Avon dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to South Windsor last week but rallied for a dominating 4-1 win over Maloney on Friday.
Avon had a few opportunities but couldn’t get off shots against Simsbury. The Falcons were able to get more pressure on Simsbury in the final 15 minutes of the game, putting a few passes together and getting some shots on Trojan goalie Jack Medve (10 saves).
“They gave us some space and let us do that,” Zlatin said. “But the last pass we needed wasn’t there. We’ve had trouble in close games. We just haven’t been good enough in big spots.”
Simsbury beat the Falcons, 1-0 in the season opener in September.
The loss ties the school record for most losses in a season. The Falcons went 7-8-1 in 1978 under head coach Ron Nedovich and missed the tournament that season. Avon has made the CIAC tournament for the past 24 seasons. The last time that the Falcons didn’t qualify was in 1991 when the Falcons were 5-7-1 under Marty deLiveron.
NOTES: The girls soccer team hosts Glastonbury on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. on the football field. On Wednesday night, the Avon volleyball team hosts undefeated Farmington, the No. 1 ranked team in the latest state coaches poll, at 6 p.m. in the gym. On Thursday night, the field hockey team hosts Conard-West Hartford and on Friday, the Avon football team hosts Northwest Catholic beginning at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Avon Booster Club’s 5K road race kicks off Sunday morning at 8:15 a.m.
Simsbury 1, Avon 0
Simsbury (6-6) 1 0 — 1
Avon (4-8-2) 0 0 — 0
Goal: Elijah Rowland (S); Saves: Jack Medve (S) 10, Max Umansky (A) 6; Shots on goal: 10-7, Simsbury; Corner kicks: Avon, 2-1