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Simsbury hands Avon another 1-goal defeat in a challenging campaign for AHS

Senior Dylan Hellyar (7) controls the ball in Monday night's 1-0 loss to Simsbury under the lights at Avon High.

Senior Dylan Hellyar (7) controls the ball in Monday night’s 1-0 loss to Simsbury under the lights at Avon High.

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.

Avon's Ryan Bartkiewicz (10) and Simsbury's Jack Rosenberg (6) play the ball in Monday night's CCC Central match in Avon.

Avon’s Ryan Bartkiewicz (10) and Simsbury’s Jack Rosenberg (6) play the ball in Monday night’s CCC Central match in Avon.

“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.”

Avon junior Riley Welter (2) battles for the ball on Monday night.

Avon junior Riley Welter (2) battles for the ball on Monday night.

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
At Avon
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

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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