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Local Rivals Avon, Farmington Soccer Prepare to Duel for Championship

The high school boys varsity soccer teams prepare to play each other in the CIAC Class L state tournament final Friday, their first official match-up since 1989.

The last time Avon boys soccer faced Farmington in an official game was when the Falcons clinched a victory after penalty kicks in the 1989 state tournament semifinal.

Friday afternoon, the longstanding local rivalry will be rekindled when Avon and Farmington high schools play each other in the CIAC Class L state tournament championship game in Meriden.

"Everyone is very excited. The players know each other from youth leagues," Avon assistant varsity coach David Zlatin wrote in an email to Patch.

Historically, Farmington has a 16-14-1 record against Avon, Zlatin said. The teams played against each other in the Northwest Conference until Avon left conference in 1985. The Falcons now are in the NCCC.

"We have met six times in the state tournament, each team winning three games," Zlatin said. "They played in one state final, in 1986, won by Farmington."

Even though the teams have not played any conference or tournament games against each other for more than 20 years, they do have a tradition of scrimaging every August.

After a day of rest on Thanksgiving, the teams will duel for the Class L title at Falcon Field in Meriden at 1:30 p.m.

It's Avon's 14th trip to the finals, Zlatin said. The last of seven state championships that the team has won was in 2000.

This is Avon's second consecutive year in the final. Last year the Falcons lost 3-0 to Bunnell. When asked what the team learned from last year, Zlatin said, "Enjoy the moment."

Avon graduated 10 starting seniors last spring and seven of its seniors this year are starters.

"Most of this team lacked varsity experience at the start of the season," Zlatin said.

But their hard work paid off and they concluded the season with a 12-3-1 NCCC record. Farmington had an 11-2-3 record in the Northwest Conference.

Avon advanced to the Friday's state championship after defeating Daniel Hand High School 1-0 last weekend. Daniel Leszczynski scored off a free kick from teammate David Freling with nearly 11 minutes remaining in the game, according to the Hartford Courant. Bethel, which Avon beat 2-1 at Fisher Meadows in the second round of the tournament, is the only team so far to score against Avon in the state tournament. Avon also defeated E.O. Smith 1-0 in the first round of the Class L state tournament and shut out Berlin 4-0 in the quarterfinals at home.

Three goals have been scored against Farmington so far in the state tournament, including a 3-1 win over Stratford in the first round and a 3-2 victory over Branford in the second round. Farmington shut out both Windsor and RHAM 1-0 in the quarterfinal and semifinal, respectively.

When asked what will make him a happy coach when Avon and Farmington play Friday, Zlatin said, "control our emotions and play our style of soccer for all 80 minutes."

The Class L finals for boys and girls are being held at Falcon Field in Meriden at 200 Westfield Rd. Kickoff for the Avon-Farmington boys game is at 1:30 p.m.

Will you be at Friday's game? So will we! Make sure you tweet @AvonPatch during the game with your thoughts on how the game is going and upload your photos and video to our gallery once it's posted.

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