Suffield wins NCCC, defeats Avon again

AVON — The Suffield girls soccer team showed why it is unanimously the top squad in all of Connecticut with an impressive 3-0 win over the equally potent Avon Falcons, who are two-time defending Class L State Champions.

The shutout win is the 14th of the season for the 15-0 Wildcats, and the team has allowed just one goal all season with one game remaining, Monday against Ellington. They also clinched the best record in the NCCC conference.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Suffield head coach David Sullivan said. “Everyone was like ‘oh you beat them pretty good the first time.’ We finished our chances in that game (a 5-0 Suffield victory in September). We took a little longer to finish our chances  in this one, grass fields, we are not as good on. In the first half, they probably out worked us and we probably outworked them in the second half.”

Just nine minutes into the game, Reilly Williams got things started with a beautiful goal off a Jasmine Lin assist to give Suffield a 1-0 advantage.

“Their forwards are possibly the best forwards they have ever had,” Avon head coach James Murray said. “[Avon Defenders] Amanda Holtzman and Lauren Miller did a great job. [Williams] got open for a goal, but she got a perfect pass and they got it right on her feet.”

Though the Falcons had a handful of attempts to even the score, including great chances from Youn Jae Baek, they went to the break trailing 1-0.

The second half proved more physical, and for a time, seemed to be trending Avon’s way. But a shot fired off the crossbar by Brittany Champagne was rebounded and put in net by Lindsey Connolly to give Suffield the 2-0 advantage.

“We pressure all over the field,” Sullivan said. “We make everybody part of the offense, that’s our game, to pressure pressure pressure. Both teams are pretty equal. No matter who has the better team on paper both teams are going to work hard, it’s a great rivalry.”

A few minutes later, a penalty shot was awarded to Jillian Consolini, and she took advantage giving the Wildcats their third and final score.

“They are a phenomenal team,” Murray said of the Wildcats, who returned 10 starters from last year’s team. “They deserve to be ranked No. 1. They are up in LL now after being in the quarters for several year, and they will be very competitive in LL.”

The teams combined for 24 shots, and stellar goaltending from Emma Carlone and Lydia Cuddleback saved seven shots for Avon.

Suffield’s Meredith Ouellette was equally impressive, saving 10 shots for the Widcats.

Avon drops to 13-2 with their finale Monday against Granby, but the Falcons will use this experience, under the light and in front of their own fans to prepare to defend their title when the state tournament begins in November.

“This is like a state championship,” Murray said of the highly anticipated game. “When we play Suffield. We still have work to do, we have to finish some shots. To have just four shots in the second half, that’s not enough.”

Suffield, which is a win away from the perfect season, takes more than just a ‘W’ in the standings from the stellar contest under the lights.

“We definitely needed this game,” Sullivan said. “A battle like this, they are as good as they come. This is exactly the kind of game we needed. They took us out of some of the things we normally do.”

The Falcons honored middle school teacher and huge Avon athletics contributor Colleen Martin before the game. They raised money to contribute to Colon and Liver Cancer research, the illness that took her life. The team also sported green uniforms to help raise awareness for the terrible disease.

Photos By Erika Studer

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