By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington stormed downfield as they surrounded the Falcons goal like a swarm of killer bees. The ball was batted around between offensive and defensive players, so that Avon’s goalie looked as if he was trying to escape the hive.
In the midst of all the confusion, Erik Kryzanski quick touched the ball to Erik Schneider, and the senior attackman took advantage of the opportunity. The one-timer gave the Blue Knights a 1-0 lead with 18:24 left in the first half.
The Knights were far from finished. Nearing the end of the half, Joe Colaccino dribbled the ball towards midfield and shot a long pass up ahead to John Testa before a defender could narrow down his path. With every ounce of energy, Testa sprinted with a defender to the lone ball that was in front of him as the Falcons goalie closed in.
At the last second, the goalie made a diving attempt at the ball, colliding into his teammate. Testa lightly kicked the ball to his right, before squeezing through the goalie and defender like a business man trying to catch an elevator before the doors close. Testa caught up with the ball before it rolled out of bounds, giving him just enough time and space to roll in the Knights’ second goal, giving Southington a 2-0 lead with 2:52 remaining in the half.
The Knights wouldn’t find the back of the net in the second half, but their two goals would be just enough to defeat Avon (11-4-0), 2-1, at home on senior night on Thursday, Oct. 22. Avon’s only goal came in the second half on a corner kick that was headed in from the left post of the goalie box.
Southington almost had a third goal, but a breakaway from Schneider hit off of the left post of the goal with about four and a half minutes to go in the game. Avon had an open look at the goal with just over a minute left, but the Knights’ defense deflected the ball out of bounds. Avon then had a second look on a last chance opportunity to tie the game on a corner kick, but Ian Lawrence made a leaping save to secure the win and end the game.
The Knights took nine shots on goal and one corner kick. Lawrence saved five of Avon’s six shots on goal.
“I think that this was our best game, in terms of really putting it together,” said Southington coach Dave Yanosy. “In terms of the way we defended, the way that we played in the middle, the way we finished our opportunities, and the collective work that the entire team did, I really thought we put it all together tonight to beat a really good team.”
Yanosy said that senior night might have served as a wrinkle in their pregame warm-up, but it celebrated the work that his seniors have done over the last four years.
“I thought we came out a little slow in the first 10 minutes,” said Yanosy. “Part of that might be because it’s senior night. Part of that might just be because Avon’s a really good team. Once we weathered the storm of the first 10 minutes or so, we relaxed, got our bearings, and started to play some really good soccer. In turn, we started to create some really good opportunities, able to get on the end of two of them.”
Earlier in the week, the Knights traveled to Hartford where they defeated Bulkeley (2-10-2) by a score of 2-1.
Ryan Burrill assisted Dan Topper with the only goal of the first half. Colaccino scored an unassisted goal in the second half to secure the win for Southington. Bulkeley’s only goal of the game came late in the second half.
The Knights took eight shots on goal and seven corner kicks. Evan Daddona saved four of Bulkeley’s five shots on goal.
Southington will play their two final games of the regular season when they travel to Glastonbury (12-2-0) on Monday, Oct. 26 and return home to host Hartford Public (2-12-0) on Thursday, Oct. 29 as they prepare for the Class LL state tournament.