AMHERST — It’s not like the Avon girls have been trying to mask their true potential.
They’ve had a lot of injuries, to the extent that the talented Eagles have hovered at or near the .500 mark through the regular schedule.
On Wednesday, under nearly impossible playing conditions — a driving, continuous and increasingly vigorous downpour, along with gusty wind — the Eagles won their biggest match of the season.
After a scoreless 40 minutes, the now nearly healthy Eagles erupted for four second-half goals and went home with a 4-0 win over second-seeded Amherst in a Division I sectional soccer final. Avon (7-5-5) advances to a Rocky River district semifinal against the winner of Saturday’s North Olmsted-Magnifcat sectional final. The day and time will be announced.
In the aftermath of their triumph, the Eagles were soaking wet and deliriously happy. They celebrated by running, diving and sliding head-first across the cold, slick surface at Amherst Junior High, proving yet again that youth is wasted on the young.
The game was moved from the Comets’ football stadium because of poor, weather-related field conditions.
Avon got its two middle goals from junior forward Nicole Chabot, her second and third of the season. She said the victory was huge.
“This means everything to us, because we didn’t have a very good (regular) season, not as good as we wanted,” Chabot said. “But we came out and knew what we had to do and beat them. Everybody’s back now and we’re going full force, except for one senior. We had a lot of injuries. We’ve had concussions, ankles, knees, all kinds of stuff, but we’re back now.”
So it would seem.
She didn’t know it at the time, but Avon’s Sydney Simpson scored the only goal the Eagles really needed when she connected in the 55th minute. Simpson, also a senior, headed the ball home on the rebound after senior mid Holly Ohradzansky banged a shot off the Amherst crossbar.
Chabot struck first in the 57th minute when she kicked in a rebound, then made it a 3-0 game barely two minutes later. On this one, she took control not far from midfield, made a long run and scored, going one-on-one with Comets keeper Ashley Feguson.
“The first one, I pressured her (defender) down the line and beat her around the line,” Chabot said. “I tried to play it to Megan (Garner), but she hit it against the goalie, so I came in and shot it. I was in the right place at the right time. The second one was just a ball I got a touch on, beat (the defender) and went right to the goal.”
Ohradzansky ended the scoring with a goal in the 73rd minute.
“This is an enormous win for us,” Eagles coach Tony Dimacchia said. “When the tournaments start, it’s about coming out and executing, about coming in with a game plan, setting the tone and we did that today. You have to give Amherst a lot of credit. But in the second half, we caught some breaks, broke through their defense and we executed.
“Those are things in the first half of the season we had a hard time doing,” he said. “I’m certainly very proud of our girls’ effort tonight. Our last two practices were probably our best practices of the year. We had a lot of high energy, they were in great spirits. They were kind of loose, very focused and they worked very hard.”
Amherst (9-5-2) put two shots on Holly Kraus, Avon’s senior goalkeeper, in the first half. The first was a left-footer by junior midfielder Emily Varouh in the 32nd minute, which Kraus handled routinely.
The second came shortly later off the foot of sophomore Julie Lacock, who uncorked a free kick from 30 yards on the restart after an Avon foul. This shot forced Kraus to make a nifty diving save of what otherwise might have been an important goal.
It was Krause’s eighth shutout of the season, with help from the Eagles’ defenders, who included Rachael Bishop, Hannah Winger, Natalie Wilden and Emilie Wetzig, among others.
Avon 4, Amherst 0
- GOALS: (Av): Nicole Chabot 2 (57th, 59th), Sydney Simpson (55th), Holly Ohradzansky (73rd).
- SHOTS: Avon 14, Amherst 3.
- SHOTS ON FRAME: Avon 9, Amherst 2.
- SAVES: (Av) Holly Kraus 2; (Am) Ashley Ferguson 5.
- CORNER KICKS: Avon 4, Amherst 3.
- GOAL KICKS: Avon 10, Amherst 7.
- OFFSIDE: Amherst 2.
- HANDBALLS: None.
- OTHER INFRACTIONS: Avon 7, Amherst 4.
- DROP BALLS: 1.
- YELLOW CARDS: (Av) Megan Garner (61st), Bench (61st).
- HALFTIME: 0-0.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.