AVON — Prior to Monday night, the Avon Eagles had never won a postseason game in their brief history.
Senior midfielder Sarah Perusek and sophomore attack Maddie Davis conspired to change that.
Perusek and Davis combined to score seven goals, including one each in a span of 53 seconds late in the game to break a tie and send the Eagles on their way to a 9-8 win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a Division I, Region 2 qualifying game at Joe Firement Stadium.
The Eagles (13-6) rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to take the lead for the first time with 15:15 remaining in the game on Davis’ second goal. Thirty-eight seconds later Davis scored again to make the score 7-5.
While it momentarily looked like Avon had the game under control, the Bees weren’t finished.
Senior midfielder Danielle Camperchioli scored on an 8-meter free position with 9:07 to play to cut the lead to 6-5.
With 6:58 to play, Bees attack Payton Schneider scored to tie at 7.
“We had to get back to playing the game our way and we did that in the second half,” Avon coach Todd Kortowich said. “We have to move the ball fast and get cuts from the side. The great thing is whenever we struggle offensively our defense is always there to pick us up.”
Davis gave Avon the lead for good with 6:23 to play thanks to one of Kamryn Wilson’s three assists. At the 5:30 mark, Perusek followed with an all-important insurance goal.
“I’ve been playing lacrosse for five years, since the program started,” Perusek said. “Tonight is what we’ve been working for all five of those years. We always tell ourselves to stay calm so when we they tied the score we were able to pull together as a team and get the lead again.”
The Bees (8-11) cut the lead to 9-8 with just under a minute to play on a goal by Sara Kulik, who led Brecksville with three goals.
On the ensuing draw, Avon midfielder Jules Frombach made one of the biggest plays of the night, scooping up the loose ball in the Brecksville attacking zone and breaking free down the near sideline to give the Eagles possession as the closing seconds wound down.
“It was amazing to see Jules come up with the ball,” Perusek said. “It really meant a lot to all of us seniors. Everybody on this team always plays for each other and to have everyone working together to win that draw was really special.”
The game didn’t start out well for Avon as Bees junior attack Taylor Swain scored 18 seconds into the game. Swain also had a pair of assists before picking up her second yellow card early in the second half, disqualifying her from the remainder of the game.
“We always say we’re a second-half team so I think we just picked it up, got on board and got work done in that second half,” Davis said. “We’re really close as a team and comfortable with each other so we trust we’re going to get it done even when we’re behind.”
Avon’s reward for its postseason success is a trip to Cleveland Heights on Friday for a regional quarterfinal against a Tigers team that ended the regular season 6-10-1 but played one of the toughest schedules in Ohio with games against teams from five different states as well as Ontario.
“This win means everything to our seniors, to me and to our entire program,” Kortowich said. “To be here for all these years and see these seniors get a home playoff win … it really means a lot.”
GOALS: (B) Sara Kulik 3, Taylor Swain, Eliyse Castro, Danielle Camperchioli, Gabrielle Underwood, Rachel Gordon. (A) Maddie Davis 4. Sarah Perusek 3. Jules Frombach, Riley King.
ASSISTS: (B) Swain 2, Castro, Sam Volkens. (A) Kamryn Wilson 3. Grace Knapper, Nicole Brearley, Anastasia Alvelo, Perusek.
SAVES: (B) Alaina Feather, 10; (A) Izzy Eldridge, 11
SHOTS ON GOAL: Brecksville 19, Avon 19
DRAWS WON: Brecksville 5, Avon 14
MAN-UP SITUATIONS: Brecksville 1-for-2, Avon 1-for-3.
YELLOW CARDS: (B) Swain (:56 first half, 22:38 second half), Caroline Drinko (23:11 second half), Hanna Ryan (:08 second half). (A) Brearly (20:03 second half), Perusek (9:11 second half).
HALFTIME SCORE: Brecksville 5-3