Finally a solid win against a good team to reward our boys for their gritty and resilient effort. We left a snowy Deerfield campus and hopped off the bus to a damp and 43 degree Avon Old Farms with only 13 players available. With key players missing, the game plan was to move as a unit with solid possession and not ask too much of any individual. We needed everyone to stay fresh. We opened the scoring in the first minute of the game when MacGregor Hynds (’25) charged into their box on our first possession and banged a righty into the left panel. What a lift for us to score so early. Avon leveled things about midway through the half on an easy finish after a left wing drove the near post and crossed on the ground. Just before halftime, Bryan Gianvecchio (’26) scored his first goal of the season when he corralled a deflected clearance on his left wing, stepped past the defender, drew the ball in close, and finished a right footer across the goalie’s face and into the far right panel. He made a tough finish look easy and certain. We took a 2-1 lead into halftime, but we learned that our stalwart holding midfielder Walker Naughton (’25) would be unable to carry on due to an ankle injury. We adjusted our shape to be more defensive and opened the second half determined to keep the lead. When Avon evened the score at 2-2 on a nice trap and hit at the top of the box, we had about 15 minutes remaining. Then we lost center back Jason Bannerman (’24) to injury and were down to 11 players, some hobbling and cramping in the cold. Avon kept coming and our defense stood strong with excellent play from Finn Knight (’25), Ari Santos (’25), James Kurto (’25) and Sungmin Ahn (’26). We were staring down another tie when some well-earned good fortune came our way. Finn Knight (’25) sent a free kick from midfield high into the Avon box. An Avon defender attempted to clear it and instead rolled it right to the feet of striker Tai Feng (’26) who alertly angled the game winner past the Avon keeper. What perfect timing for Tai’s first and long-awaited first goal of the season. I guess Halloween scared off his demons! The game ended jubilantly at 3-2. Overall, our small squad worked very hard today for the entire 80 minutes. Players like James Kurto (’25), MacGregor Hynds (’25), and Oscar Sanford (’26) moved around the formation and played with intensity and smarts to keep Avon under pressure. Jack Borg (’27) and Cai Harrison (’26) also played with persistence and determination. After some disappointing results, Coach Corliss and I are delighted that our boys enjoyed the feeling of beating a strong team on the road. We aim to repeat this effort and result on Saturday at NMH!