AVON — It happens a lot in high school soccer.
One team dominates like it owns the midfield and outshoots the other team for most of a half.
Suddenly, the worm turns. The other team counters, scores and goes on to win the match.
It happened Monday night in Avon’s 1-0 non-conference victory over backyard rival Avon Lake. Maggie O’Donnell, Avon’s junior forward, scored in the 17th minute with an assist by senior midfielder Regan Betts and it held up for 63 minutes.
It was the Eagles’ season-opener and closely resembled their 1-0 victory over Avon Lake last year. The Shoregals, who dropped their opener to Oregon Clay on Saturday, fell to 0-2.
O’Donnell said she saw a scoring opportunity when Betts took control of the ball in the Avon Lake zone.
“The goalie came out and she was approaching me pretty fast,” O’Donnell said. “I got a last-minute touch in and it was a great ball to the back post, but I couldn’t have done it without my offense.”
Betts said she got a through-ball from Ali Clark.
“Maggie and I worked a quick give-and-go,” Betts said. “Maggie yelled that she wanted the ball so I knew that she was open. So I slotted it through two girls, Maggie got it and put it into the back of the net.”
Rachel Grudzien, Avon’s senior goalkeeper, earned the shutout. Avon Lake got off a dozen shots, eight on goal and Grudzien made her saves look routine. Not that the Shoregals didn’t make her nervous.
“I had a lot of confidence in our back line, and I do get nervous but I believe in them a lot,” Grudzien said. “I had to make a couple saves, but Avon Lake has very good forwards and they did put a lot of pressure on us. Overall, I was very confident in my back line.”
It was a frustrating loss for Avon Lake coach Daegen Duvall.
“I think we had 70 percent of the possessions in this game,” Duvall said. “I thought we were the better side. We got hit on one counter that squirted through, but if you look at the stats, I think we outshot them 2-1. Nearly every shot was on goal, maybe a little farther away than we would like. But I told the girls I’m proud of them.”
Avon Lake’s defenders did a good job of keeping the ball away from their keeper, Elise Duvall. The defense allowed Avon just seven total shots, three on goal. The Shoregals got off two shots in the first six minutes and their assertive play forced a half-dozen Avon goal kicks in the first 10 minutes.
Avon Lake nearly tied it in the 59th minute when junior Lindsay Butler, with a pass from Mariela Lopez put a hard shot on the Eagles’ Grudzien. The Shoregals also put two shots on frame in the 73rd minute, Olivia Siko’s right on target from 20 yards.
And the Eagles nearly increased their lead in the 64th minute when they earned two corner kicks after sophomore Sam Farmer put a shot on the Shoregals’ right goalpost.
In the action that followed, Betts missed just high with a header off Ali Clark’s corner and senior Emily Joyce was wide left on the second corner by Clark.
Avon coach Danie Schnaufer said the last few minutes of a match always seem to be a little hairy.
“We had some good runs throughout the game, but I’d like to see more of our offense,” Schnaufer said. “I think we did a better job adjusting in the second half.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon 1, Avon Lake 0
GOAL: (A) Maggie O’Donnell (17th minute).
ASSIST: (A) Regan Betts.
SAVES: (AL) Elise Duvall 3; (A) Rachel Grudzien 8.
SHOTS: Avon Lake 12, Avon 7.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Avon Lake 8, Avon 3.
CORNER KICKS: Avon Lake 4, Avon 3.
GOAL KICKS: Avon Lake 6, Avon 14.
OFFSIDE: Avon 2.
HANDBALLS: Avon 1.
FOULS: Avon Lake 4; Avon 3.
HALF: Avon, 1-0.