NAUGATUCK, November 5 – A year ago, the Avon High girls soccer team missed out on the CIAC state tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
Last week after three consecutive losses, the Falcons were staring at the prospect of missing the tournament for the second straight year. But Avon stood tall in their regular season finale against Northwest Catholic.
Avon needed to win and the Lions needed at least a tie to earn a spot in the state tournament. Avon scored two goals and held off a furious Northwest Catholic rally to earn a 2-1 victory and clinch a spot in the Class L tournament.
Gina Lindley scored her first goal of the season just 5:36 into the game to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Teammate Olivia DiBella scored her fourth goal of the year 17 minutes into the second half. Jade Strassner had two assists for Avon.
The Lions cut the lead to one goal on a goal from Nina Singer with 10:46 remaining and applied relentless pressure from the remainder of the game. But goalie Lily Langevin (5 saves) and her Falcons defenders were up to the task for Avon.
Avon faced No. 9 Naugatuck (11-4-3) at Veteran’s Field in Naugatuck Monday in a first round game and dropped a 3-1 decision in the Class L tournament. Lilly Lyons had two goals for the Greyhounds, who won their first playoff game since 2013, snapping a three-year first round losing streak.
Down by two goals after the half, No. 24 Avon cut the lead to one when Clare Archer scored her fourth goal of the season on a cross from Olivia Webster.
Naugatuck goalie Sydney O’Donnell made some big saves in the second half – none bigger than when she came out of her net to challenge Strassner, who was streaking toward the goal. O’Donnell deflected Strassner’s shot away from the net and a few minutes later, the Greyhounds added an insurance goal.
It was the first time since 2005 that the Falcons failed to win at least one game in the state tournament.
Naugatuck 3, Avon 1
Avon (6-10-1) 0 1 — 1
Naugatuck (11-4-3) 2 1 — 3
Goals: Lilly Lyons (N) 2, Alissa McNeil (N), Clare Archer (A); Assists: Emma Sonski (N), McNeil (N), Olivia Webster (A); Saves: Sydney O’Donnell (N) 9, Allison Janes (A) 3, Lillian Langevin (A) 6