Avon boys soccer team believes it can hang with nationally ranked St. Ignatius in second straight regional semifinal meeting

Todd Shapiro
The Chronicle-Telegram
Oct 29, 2019

There may have been certain levels of anxiety and trepidation of the Avon sideline when the Eagles took the field to play St. Ignatius in the 2018 Division I regional semifinals. After all, they were facing a team that is consistently ranked among the top teams in the country.

This year, as the Eagles prepare for tonight’s regional semifinal rematch at 7 p.m. at Brunswick High School, they have a lot more offense firepower, one of the top defenses in Ohio and the confidence to believe they belong on the same field as a Wildcats team that is ranked No. 1 in Ohio and No. 2 in the United States.

“The biggest thing is having the confidence we can win,” Avon coach Chris Dore said. “We need to remember we’re all high school soccer players. We have a lot of strengths, just like they do. We know we’re not the favorite to win, but understanding we’re not far away from anybody in the state of Ohio should give us the confidence for one game.”

Avon has an identical record to St. Ignatius, 17-0-2, and is ranked No. 8 in the state. The Eagles have excelled in all facets of the game this season scoring, 53 goals while shutting out 15 opponents. Junior goalkeeper Ryan Poling has only allowed four goals this season.

So there’s good reason to believe that this year’s game should be much closer than last year’s 4-0 Wildcats win.

“This year we have more talent and we really want to win,” senior forward Aidan Lacko said. “Last year we didn’t come into the game with the right mindset. This year we’ve won against some good teams, we have great team chemistry and we play together well. So we feel like we can compete against anyone.”

Lacko is one of the main reasons the Eagles are still alive. It was his overtime goal, his team-leading 21st goal of the year, that secured Avon its second consecutive district title in a 1-0 district final win over Avon Lake.

“From last year to this year Aidan is a new person,” Dore said. “He has played a bigger role and more of a leadership role for us this year. Plus he just has a knack for scoring.”

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