AVON, Oct. 3, 2020 – Avon High senior Quandrell Stewart gently tossed a football into the air on a beautiful fall afternoon with a few clouds floating overhead in a bright, blue sky.
A year ago, you might have found Stewart wearing his navy blue No. 2 jersey running a passing pattern on Avon High’s new turf field as a receiver playing for the Falcon football team.
On Saturday, he was behind the fence surrounding the complex waiting for an opportunity to snap a few photos in uniform on the field he once played football with his friends and teammates. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there won’t be a football season this fall for Stewart and his Falcon teammates.
On that same field, the Avon High field hockey team won their second game of the season with a dominating 4-0 victory over Lewis Mills. Meg Gilbey scored three goals with Kali Fontanella scoring her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Goalie Katrina Frez made three saves in net to earn her first shutout of the season.
The Falcons have 13 seniors on their team and would have been a contending team in the Class M state tournament. But there will be no state tournament this fall. There will be a “tournament experience” but there are no details at this time on what that might be.
Yet, there is no complaining about what is missing. These players and head coach Terri Ziemnicki are acutely aware of their good fortune. They saw all their classmates lose an opportunity to play sports last spring, attend the prom or graduate together as so many have done before.
Their friends on the volleyball team wear masks during games. Their classmates who play football have no games at all – just the hope of perhaps playing a few games in the early spring.
“We look at every day as a gift and (approach the day) with an attitude of gratitude,” Ziemnicki said. “It’s not an attitude of we can’t do this and we can’t do that. It is what can we do? We’re focused on what we can do and that is our attitude.
“It’s different this year but we’re making the best of it and we’re making a lot of great moments,” Ziemnicki said.
Avon looked sharp on Saturday with some crisp passing across the turf and plenty of shots on overworked Lewis Mills goalie Elle Martin, who made 14 saves. The Falcons had numerous penalty corner opportunities and spent much of the game in the Spartans’ end of the field.
It was the first career hat trick (three or more goals) for Gilbey, who scored on assists from Kendall Neamtz, Kali Fontanella and Delia Hogan. Fontanella had her first career hat trick with three goals in the 3-1 season-opening win over Farmington with Gilbey, Kerry Kartin and Serno Slatas getting the assists.
“They’re looking for each other. We don’t have one person carrying the team our more experienced players are trying to make (the) people around (them) better,” Ziemnicki said.
It should be a challenging season in the group (CCC B) that Avon finds themselves in with upcoming home-and-away games against Granby and Simsbury, two field hockey programs with a tradition of recent field hockey success.
“I am so glad we have the opportunity to do this,” Gilbey said. “We’re definitely very excited to be out here. (Many of us) have been together since our freshman year so it’s nice that we can finish it out together.”
With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Falcons held their Senior Day ceremonies prior to Saturday’s contest.
The Falcons return to action on Monday when they host Southington at 3:45 p.m. on the turf field.
Avon 4, Lewis Mills 0
Lewis Mills (0-2) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Avon (2-0) 1 1 1 1 — 4
Goals: Megan Gilbey (A) 3, Kali Fontanella (A); Assists: Kendall Neamtz (A), Fontanella (A), Delia Hogan (A), Kerry Karlin (A); Saves: Elle Martin (LM) 14, Katrina Frez (A) 3
2020 CCC B field hockey standings
|Team||CCC B Group|
Farmington 0, Southington 0
Avon 4, Lewis Mills 0
Southington at Avon, 3:45 p.m.
Simsbury at Canton, 6:30 p.m.
Granby at Lewis Mills, 4 p.m.
Lewis Mills at Southington, 6 p.m.
Avon at Granby, 7 p.m.
Farmington at Simsbury, 6 p.m.
Canton at Farmington, 3:45 p.m.