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Avon girls soccer moves into Class L finals with 1-0 win over Bunnell

POSTED November 18, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

MUNICIPAL STADIUM, WATERBURY-Avon Falcons girls soccer head coach, Jim Murray, didn’t want to take anything for granted before or during his teams Class L semi-final contest against Bunnell.

He even made sure he changed benches.

“We were 0-2 here,” Murray said, “We lost to Joel Barlow in the semi-finals two years ago and in the finals last year to New Canaan. So we tried a new bench.”

The different bench, and a determined Falcons team that made the adjustment to the lightning fast surface at Municipal, all led to a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs and a trip to the Class L finals on Saturday afternoon against RHAM.

The finals will be played in Middletown at 4 p.m., immediately after the Class M final that features a familiar North Central Connecticut Conference foe, Suffield, against Lewis Mills at 1 p.m.

Freshman Britt Douglass scored the only goal her team would need midway through the second half in a game the Falcons won by controlling the mid-field area and relying on a stubborn defense and goalie who has been their anchor all season.

Sophomore Kaylan Conrad posted her second shutout of the State tournament (a 2-0 win over Farmington in the second round) and ninth of the year.

Conrad posted five saves and was challenged early by the Bulldogs Chelsea Boursiquot, who was threat all game with her speed and footwork.

10 minutes in, Boursiquot got free in the box and launched a shot that Conrad deflected back into play.

Junior defender, Katie Bentivegna made a goal saving clear to keep Bunnell from grabbing an early advantage.

As the half progressed, the Falcons started to get the feel of how to work the turf field to their advantage.

Crisp, accurate passes led to chances on Bunnell goalie, Laura Collins, who made several quality saves to keep the Falcons off the scoreboard.

The Falcons though, were getting close as the half wore on. Junior forward Erica Primovic was getting close on potential breakaways while fellow junior Jenna Donahue was establishing the midfield are as her own.

The Bulldogs held a 3-1 edge in corner kicks in the first half and two of them, sent in by senior Meaghan Ford, found the middle of the box, 10 feet from the Avon goal, but no Bunnell player was able to get a head or foot on it before it went through and out of harms way.

In these types of games, every opportunity becomes huge and wasting them often comes back to haunt a team.

A scoreless first half led to a flurry of action as the second half got underway.

Once again, Boursiquot was in the mix for the Bulldogs, putting shot directly on Conrad with less than a minute gone.

The Falcons too were active and after two scoring chances were thwarted by Collins, a third led to the games only goal with just over 24 minutes left to play.

Senior Catherine Martin started the play when she found fellow senior Kristina Shayer down the right sideline.

Shayler made her way inside the 20 yard line and sent a crossing ball towards the middle.

The ball eluded Katie Zambrano but found Douglass who connected with her left foot for her first ever State Tournament goal and second of her varsity career.

Up 1-0, the Falcons kept the pressure up on the offensive end while having an answer for anything the Bulldogs mounted with some terrific defense.

Bunnell freshman, Kacie O’Neil, who showed speed and agility in challenging the Falcons defense, created several opportunities for her team with pure effort but was sent away empty handed each time.

Juniors, Molly Brown, Bentivegna and Madeline Zabel marked the Bulldogs threats well all game and as a result, their team gets to play again one more time, this time for the ultimate prize.

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