MILFORD — Both the Law and Avon boys soccer teams came into the postseason with comparable records.
The teams were not that close on the field.
Dominating time of possession and scoring the only goals of the contest, No. 17 seed Avon topped No. 16 Law 3-0 in a CIAC Class L first round game at Law High Monday evening.
Avon (9-6-2) advanced to second round action at top-seeded E.O. Smith, a 4-0 winner over Bristol Eastern, on Wednesday.
“They were playing two center-mids and we were able to dominate the midfield,” Avon senior Charles Fox said. “We were able to keep the ball and not let them possess it. I had a lot of opportunities from the top of the box in the first half. At halftime, I was told to shoot. I got the ball and I shot it.”
Fox broke a scoreless tie with 15 minutes, 40 seconds remaining when he ripped a shot from 28 yards out to the lower left corner for the only goal Avon needed.
“We saw them play,” Law coach Mike Gruber said. “They are a technical team. They are good with the ball. We knew we had to defend well. We just had to play hard for 80 minutes and we did. They hit an incredible shot from 30 yards out. The kid hit a pill. We had to push numbers up from there and the game opened up.”
With Law pushing the play up, Avon freshman Thomas Keenan, who also had two assists, was able to break in and beat Law goalkeeper Jack Pincus-Coyle off a break with 9:52 remaining in the game.
Keenan picked up his second assist when he fed Daniel Kamenetskiy, who slipped a shot into an open net with 7:04 remaining to seal Avon’s opening round victory.
“We play such a rugged schedule, not only in the CCC, but in the CCC West as well,” Avon coach David Zlatin said. “That certainly has gotten us ready for the state tournament.”
The goal by Fox helped the Avon offense finally break through after dominating play most of the contest. Law had an opportunity to get on the board first in the second half, but a chipped shot by Will Contaxis could not find its way to the back of the net.
Law (9-8-0) had one final opportunity to even the game with 12:13 remaining, but a shot by Kevin Linn was stopped in front.
“They are a very good team,” Gruber said. “They are well-organized and well-coached. I could not be prouder of the way we played.”
While the contest was a tight one throughout, the Falcons had the better of the play in the opening half, and had several opportunities to take the lead.
Keenan tipped a shot which was stopped by Pincus-Coyle six minutes in, before Ryan Bartkiewicz ripped a shot off the crossbar from 15 yards out. Pincus-Coyls made a diving save of a blistering shot by Alex Rostenberg from 15 yards out with 20:11 remaining in the opening half, before a laser by Riley Welter sailed high from17 yards seconds later.
Law’s best scoring opportunity came with 10:35 left in the opening half. Contaxis lofted a shot which Avon goalkeeper Vito Catalano (3 saves) punched in the air. The ball tipped off the crossbar and out, keeping the game scoreless.
Pincus-Coyle made nine saves in the loss for Law.