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Granby races out to a quick lead and dominates Avon in a 17-9 victory

Avon’s Will Avery (1) is closely guarded by Granby’s Mike Spence in Saturday’s non-league lacrosse contest at Buckingham Field.

AVON, May 20 – The Avon High boys lacrosse team was been moving in the right direction.

About 10 days ago the Falcons outlasted Hall, 5-1 in a tough contest. They lost to Simsbury on Monday night but scored 11 goals in a 15-11 loss. On Wednesday, the Falcons rolled over Southington by a 13-4 margin to clinch a spot in the four-team CCC Central post-season tournament.

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Granby came out on fire and quickly took Avon out of the game in the first quarter in a 17-9 non-league victory. The visiting Bears (9-6, 5-3 NCCC) led 6-1 after one quarter and the Falcons never got any closer than four goals the rest of the way.

“This was a rough day at the office,” Avon head coach Scott Kossibel said. “I feel good about our team in terms of progression. We’ve gotten better as the season has progressed. But we took a step back today. We didn’t come ready to play.”

Granby received five goals and three assists from Zac Parker, who is returning from an injury. He adds another scorer in the middle for the opposition to cover. Rusty Stove had four goals and an assist for the Bears while Christian Warren had two goals and three assists.

Parker had surgery in January and returned to the lineup this week. “We’re coming together at the right time,” Granby coach Dave Emery said. “This was an important game for us. (Parker) changes everything for us. Now, we have two legitimate threats on attack. That makes a big difference for us.”

Avon’s John Jones (21) keeps the pressure on Granby’s Luke Kenney in Saturday’s game in Avon. The Bears won, 17-9.

Goalie Dan DeGagne made 15 saves in net as the Bears won their third straight game. Granby will host Ellington in the semifinals of the NCCC Tournament on Tuesday night with the winner getting another opportunity to face league champion Somers (15-1, 8-0 NCCC) in the tournament final on Thursday night in Granby.

The eight-goal win was Granby’s largest win over Avon, eclipsing a seven-goal victory in 2009.

Avon (8-8, 2-3 CCC Central) received three goals each from Jack Jones and Will Avery along with individual goals from Ryan Varano, Ryan Bellucce and Cole Zelanzy. Varano had a pair of assists with goalie David Triggle making eight saves.

Avon’s Samuel Johnson (51) chases down Granby’s Christian Warden (2) as goalie David Triggle (20) stands guard in net in Saturday’s game in Avon.

It’s a new group of players this season and they’ve been inconsistent at times. The Falcons beat Berlin in the season opener, 10-9 and looked good in a 17-10 win over Farmington. Avon was impressive in a 16-12 win over Bethel in late April and had a season-high 18 goals in a win over Suffield.

“We graduated virtually the entire team (last year) so people we’re not quite sure what to expect from us this year,” Kossibel said.

Fortunately for the Falcons, they have at least two more opportunities to play.

The Falcons face CCC Central champion Glastonbury in the semifinals of the CCC Central tournament on Tuesday on the road. The winner advances to the final against either Simsbury or Conard. It is Avon’s first CCC post-season appearance in boys lacrosse.

NOTES: The rivalry with Granby – a long-time rival in the NCCC — has been a spirited one for the Falcons. A year ago, the Falcons beat Granby by a goal in the season opener, 9-8. Two years ago, in their final season in the NCCC, Granby had a pair of one-goal wins over Avon including a win in overtime.

PHOTOS: We’ll be posting additional photos from Saturday’s game at our new SmugMug photo gallery.

Granby 17, Avon 9
At Avon
Granby (9-6)      6  3  3  4  — 17
Avon (8-8)          1  3  3  2  — 9
Goals: Jack Jones (A) 3, Ryan Varano (A), Will Avery (A) 3, Ryan Bellucce (A), Cole Zelanzy (A); Rusty Stone (G) 4, Zac Parker (G) 5, Luke Kenney (G), Christian Warren (G) 2, Cole Battison (G), Colin Kantzer (G), Andrew Kirby (G), Trevor Smith (G), Mike Spence (G); Assists: Stone (G), Parker (G) 3, Kenney (G), Warren (G) 3, Kirby (G), Smith (G), Jones (A), Varano (A) 2; Saves: Dan Degagne (G) 15, David Triggle (A) 8; Shots: Granby 38-29

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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