BRUNSWICK — Avon’s girls sleep-walked through the first half of their big match on Saturday, fell behind by a goal, but came back to win their first district soccer title.
So no one got all nervous and upset when the Lady Eagles snoozed through the first 40 minutes Wednesday night. They trailed Chagrin Falls by a goal at the break and, what the heck, they’d already beaten the Tigers once this season.
Well, this time they didn’t bounce back the second half, were playing into a stiff wind and got torched 5-1 in a Division II regional soccer semifinal. The wind, now working to the Tigers’ advantage, figured in at least two of their three second-half goals.
“We could not get synched in,” said Eagles coach Brian Irwin. “They were unsettled in the first half Saturday when we played against Buckeye, but they managed to settle down at halftime. I don’t know if it’s youth (Avon starts four freshmen) and that whole thing, but we couldn’t get into a rhythm. We didn’t play well. It wasn’t our day.”
Chagrin falls took the lead in the 10th minute with the first of Megan Takacs’ two goals. Then 20 minutes later, Takacs and Rory Chaffee worked a pretty give-and-go and Takacs drilled her second goal. Chaffee’s assist was a head-turning heel pass.
Things took an optimistic turn for Avon when junior Megan Repas stole the ball on a Tigers restart deep in the Chagrin Falls end and scored unassisted, making it a 2-1 match at halftime.
“I thought that goal might change the energy, but we came out really flat,” he said. “I was hoping that goal was going to pick the intensity up, but it didn’t change. I mean, Chagrin came to play, did a great job and took advantage of the wind. We didn’t take a shot (actually, one in the second half).
“We did not use the wind to our advantage (in the first half),” said Irwin. “Well, we just could never possess the ball, never settled in. This is the result you get when you play like that.”
Irwin said the Eagles’ first-half effort was reminiscent of their first-half play against Buckeye.
“We hoped we would make some adjustments and correct that at halftime,” he said. “But (the Tigers) came out with the wind at their backs, took a couple of deep shots and got us right off the bat. I think that was it. We really seemed to lose tempo after that.”
Chagrin Falls struck quickly after the break. In the 41st minute, Caroline Smith zinged a bicycle kick off the Avon crossbar and Alex Baker kicked in the rebound. Less than two minutes later, Smith hit a wind-aided shot from 27 yards that sailed into the Eagles net. Avon keeper Stephanie Fifolt had no chance to save it.
The crusher came off the foot of Megan Isaacson, who also said a shot over Fifolt’s head in the 63rd minute. Again, Fifolt could have done nothing about it.
Avon (13-4-3) won the first district championship in the history of the girls program on Saturday, when it came back with a second-half goal against Buckeye, then won 2-1 in a shootout. The Eagles defeated Chagrin Falls 2-0 in a non-conference match at home on Sept. 15. The Tigers have not lost since then.
Chagrin Falls (13-5-3) advances to a Saturday noon regional final against either Hathaway Brown or Youngstown Cardinal Mooney at Brush High in Lyndhurst. Chagrin Falls won a state championship in 1996.
Chagrin Falls 5, Avon 1
GOALS: (A) Megan Repas, 37th minute. (CF) Megan Takacs 2, 10th, 30th minutes; Alex Baker, Caroline Smith, Megan Isaacson.
ASSISTS: (CF) Smith 2, Rory Chaffee.
SHOTS: Avon 7, Chagrin Falls 17.
SHOTS ON FRAME: Avon 2, Chagrin Falls 7.
SAVES: (A) Stephanie Fifolt 3. (CF) Alison Moy 2.
CORNER KICKS: Avon 1, Chagrin Falls 5.
GOAL KICKS: Avon 10, Chagrin Falls 8.
OFFSIDE: Chagrin Falls 1.
HAND BALLS: Avon 1.
OTHER INFRACTIONS: Avon 8, Chagrin Falls 16.
CARDS: (CF) Sam Lucci yellow, 69th minute.
HALFTIME: Chagrin Falls, 2-1.