In Avalon’s final games under Coach Gustavo Gilardi’s second year of leadership, the Black Knights entered the annual Maryland State Soccer Tournament with a 1-3-3 record and looking to finish off the year on a high note.
Avalon was one of four teams in the tournament, with St. Mary’s Ryken, Bishop Walsh, and St. Maria Goretti being the other three teams.
The Black Knights came in with a newly installed formation for the tournament, running a 4-4-2 with Italians Luca Galli and Simone Rafaelli as strikers, differing from their ordinary 3-2-3-2.
However, that changed quickly in the first game when the Black Knights resorted back to their regular formation, but to no avail, as they lost their early morning game to St. Maria Goretti.
Avalon later dropped their second game to Bishop Walsh despite leading 3-1 at one point behind goals from Garpue Barchue, Luca Galli, and Ryan Thorn. The Walsh game was also the only game where the Knights scored a goal in the tournament.
In the final game of Saturday’s pool play round, the Black Knights lost to 4-0 to St. Mary’s Ryken earning them a 4 seed in the playoff games for Sunday’s final rounds.
Sunday morning brought more trouble for Avalon, as they lost their final game of the season.
The loss was the final career game for senior captains John Paul McPherson and Max Kiley, who were foundations for the soccer team for years of transition between coaches and multiple roster shifts since their freshman years. The pair even played as eighth graders to help bolster a weak roster.
Senior goalkeeper Phil Corcoran also played his final soccer game for the Knights after adding versatility and depth, as well as lots of height, to the team this season.