WESTLAKE — A series of unfortunate events befell Avon’s boys lacrosse team Tuesday night against Westlake, to borrow the title of a popular series of children’s books.
Namely the Eagles couldn’t hold onto the ball, they had a hard time generating offense or winning face-offs and when they finally got their act together in the second half it proved to be too little, too late.
The Demons scored the first six goals on the way to a 9-4 win.
Westlake junior attack Adam Tinline scored the first two goals, both coming off assists from Matt Toner. Just 19 seconds after Tinline’s second goal, Toner found the back of the net to make it 3-0 midway through the first period.
Avon (6-10) looked like it had a chance to build momentum late in the first period when the special teams stepped up and held Westlake scoreless on a two-minute man-advantage after Eagles midfielder Cam Wagner was sent to the penalty box for an equipment violation and for having an illegal pocket on his crosse.
Avon didn’t get off its first shot on goal until more than 10 minutes had gone by, and every time the Eagles were able to get off a good shot Demons goalkeeper Brandon Hohman made the save.
When the Eagles got the ball into their offensive end they usually turned it over or were knocked off the ball by the aggressive Demons defense.
“Westlake’s goalkeeper took away all of our energy, he just made save after save,” Avon coach Paul Allen said.
“Give Westlake credit, they played a great game tonight and we made some mistakes.”
Avon didn’t score until the 9:46 mark of the third quarter when senior attack Connor Walsh scored off an Evan Barton assist. It looked like the Eagles were able to play themselves back into the game when 20 seconds later Ryan Martin scored an unassisted goal to make it 6-2.
But Avon didn’t score again for another 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, Jack Klessel scored two of his game-high four goals in a span of 39 seconds early in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach for Westlake (7-5), which has won seven of its last eight games after starting 0-4.
“We did a good job possessing the ball and taking good shots,” Klessel said. “We were patient and we were able to get the ball in the net. It’s helps a lot to get a good early lead and get some momentum. By the end of the first quarter it feels like you’ve already won the game. The first quarter is always the biggest quarter.”
Martin score his second goal of the game in the fourth quarter and junior midfield Oliver Hewitt scored an unassisted goal with 1:41 to play to close out the scoring.
“We weren’t perfect today but we did more good than bad and that’s always a good thing,” Demons coach Brian Stepanek said. “Avon is a good team. We knew we weren’t gonna shut them out today. I’m very impressed with my group. They’ve grown tremendously over the course of the season. They’ve exceeded all expectation and I’ve very proud of them but we’re not done yet.”
Westlake 9, Avon 4
Avon 0 0 2 2 — 4
Westlake 3 3 1 2 — 9
GOALS: (A) Ryan Martin 2, Connor Walsh, Oliver Hewett; (W) Jack Klessel 4, Adam Tinline 2, Matt Toner, Conner Gregory, Joe Brown.
ASSISTS: (A) John Kortowich, Evan Barton; (W) Toner 2, Tinline 2, Brown 2.
SAVES: (A) Matthew Schuler 9; (W) Brandon Hohman 8
SHOTS ON GOAL: Avon 12, Westlake 18
FACE-OFFS: Avon 5, Westlake 11
MAN-UP SITUATIONS: Avon 0-for-2; Westlake 1-for-5