SOUTHINGTON – Amid the rain, Southington boys soccer withstood a furious rush by Avon on Tuesday afternoon to collect its first win of the season.
The 2-1 Central Connecticut Conference conquest was the first in the coaching career of first-year head coach Austin Magaro.
“It feels really good,” Magaro, a 2008 Southington High grad said. “They’ve been fighting through the different COVID-19 restrictions and practice restrictions, and to finally get my first win is big, and to get it at home against a good opponent feels good.”
The game started in a heavy downpour on a soaked Fontana Field. The deep puddles on the sidelines diminished as the rain finally ended in a scoreless second half.
In the first half, Cole Marek and Trevor Sousa provided the offense for Southington (1-1-2) with goals in the 23rd and 28th minute, respectively.
Avon took an immediate 1-0 lead with a goal by senior Tyler Nyberg through the puddles. He flicked the ball by Southington goalie Ryan Lunn on the end of a breakaway.
The goal came just 1:45 into the contest and on the first shot of the game by either team. Senior Michael Zelazny had the assist with the close-range pass in the box.
Marek, a senior, came up with equalizer. He tucked in a rebound inside the left post, giving Avon keeper Aidan McKeown no chance in tying the game in the 23rd minute.
The score came on the heels of the Southington offense putting pressure on the Falcons after the visitors controlled the opening 20 minutes.
In the 28 minute, Southington took the lead for good. Sousa, a junior, blasted a goal from 23 yards to McKeown’s right. The goal, Sousa’s first of the year, came on a free kick following an Avon handball.
“It was a great moment. It’s lovely. I love to be able to help the team out however I can and that was a great goal for me,” Sousa said. “I saw the back corner open and took my chance. The whole team needed this. It was a great morale boost and, hopefully, we can take it to the next game.”
A few minutes later, Sousa had another set piece from 10 yards further out. He put it on the head of senior Cooper Burdette. However, McKeown (3 saves) came up with a lunging save to keep the Avon deficit at one.
The Falcons (1-1-2) had several good looks at Lunn in the second half. On a free kick early in the second half, Aidan Baghdassarian’s boot was on target, but handled by Lunn cleanly. A few minutes later, Lunn cleared a Nyberg shot on net.
Avon had another good shot in the 70th minute off of a free kick from 22 yards. Sophomore Jeff Magel’s deflection was on target, but was turned away by Lunn.
Lunn kept Avon off the board following the early goal. He had seven saves in the victory.
“Everyone did great and we finished our chances,” Lunn said. “I just stayed focused and I was just thinking it was 0-0 to start the second half.”
Magaro credited Lunn and his defense in the victory.
“That game was won by our goalkeeper,” Magaro said. “He kept us in that game. He’s an outstanding goalkeeper. For as even as these teams were, I’m confident in saying we had the better goalkeeper and that’s why we came out with the win.
“We are confident in the back. We’re led by Cooper Burdette. He’s been in these situations before where we’ve gone against big dogs in (Class) LL and the big dogs in the CCC. We’re used to playing defense and it showed.”