AVON – There will be new head coaches behind the bench when the Avon High boys and girls lacrosse teams hit the field this week.
Scott Kossbiel is set to begin his third tenure with the Falcons boys lacrosse program while Bridgit Hogan made her debut with the Avon girls lacrosse program on Saturday in a 6-4 loss to Westhill-Stamford.
Kossbiel is no stranger to the Avon boys lacrosse program. “It’s been part of my life for years. I have been involved as either a player or a coach for 17 of the past 25 years,” he said. “It is a big part of who I am.” Kossbiel played lacrosse here in Avon under the late Jim Kearney, who founded the program.
Kossbiel, who played two years of varsity lacrosse at the University of Scranton, was the varsity coach at Avon from 2009-13, leading the Falcons to records of 17-3 and 18-1 in 2012 and 2013 before stepping aside. He returned as the head coach in 2017, giving way to Aaron Cohen, who led the team in 2018.
But when Cohen took a position as assistant coach at Mitchell College in New London this spring, the Falcons turned to Kossbiel again.
“It’s nice to come back home,” Kossbiel said. “I am very honored to be selected to coach this team. I was looking for opportunities elsewhere (with Cohen leading the team) but things work out for a reason.”
The Falcons went 5-11 last year and missed the CIAC tournament for the first time since 2004 with a young team. But they do return several veterans, including four of their top five scorers – junior Nick Cohen (14 goals, 13 assists), seniors Eric Schweitzer (18 goals, 5 assists), Broadrick Dwyer (15 goals, 6 assists) and Jadon Folkwein (2 goals, 14 assists). Goalie Owen Folkwein also returns.
“I expect the focus to be on discipline and the details,” Kossbiel said. “The league (CCC Central) is very tough.” Glastonbury and Simsbury are traditionally two of the top teams in the state.
Avon opens the season at Farmington on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The home opener is Monday, April 8 against Northwest Catholic at 4 p.m., at Buckingham Field.
Hogan replaces Kyle Kramek, who led the Falcons for three seasons posting a combined record of 10-37. She brings plenty of experience to the table. She grew up in Farmington where she played lacrosse and went onto to play four years at Central Connecticut State from 2012-15.
Since then, she has been an assistant coach at Canton High where the Warriors won a Class S championship in 2016 and three straight NCCC titles. Canton lost in the semifinals the past two seasons.
“I am obviously very excited to be taking on this new role and excited for the upcoming season,” Hogan said. “The girls have been working extremely hard in the off season, which makes the three coaches excited for what is to come this season.
“I have two awesome assistant coaches working with me this year. We all have a lot of experience and involvement in the sport each playing the sport growing up, myself and Alex Flynn played Division I lacrosse, and Alex and I went on to coach after college.”
Flynn will be the junior varsity coach and Emily Belanger will lead the freshman team.
“Our focus this season is the connection with one another leading to success on the field. The connection between the girls, the connection between the girls and the coaches, and the connection with the community will all lead to our success this season,” Hogan said.
The Falcons opened the season on Saturday in Stamford, dropping a 6-4 decision to Westhill.
Peyton Edwards, Tori Doukas, Olivia Webster and Hayley Luby each scored for the Falcons while Ann Hayes made 13 saves in net. Grace Hansen had three goals for Westhill while goalie Ava Feliciano made four saves to earn the victory.
The girls return to action on Thursday, April 4 when they travel to Rocky Hill. They play their home opener on Wednesday, April 10, when they host Conard at Fisher Meadows at 4 p.m.
The team will play their home games at Fisher Meadows this season with one game scheduled at the high school on May 8 against Somers.