Shelton defeats Fairfield Prep in boys soccer
Updated 4:23 pm, Thursday, September 19, 2013
Although Fairfield Prep sustained its first back-to-back losses since conference and state tournament action to end the 2010 season on Tuesday afternoon, the Jesuits 1-0 loss to Shelton has not left Prep coach Ryan Lyddy in a scrambling mode. He says that he is not fearing what will unfold next merely because there have been "a few bumps" four games into the 2013 season.
It is true that the Jesuits have fallen to 2-2-0 overall after their SCC loss at Fairfield University's Alumni Field, and he expressed displeasure at his team's inability to generate offense. He witnessed his club muster one goal on Sept. 14 in a 2-1 loss at St. Anthony's on Long Island, which is ranked No. 22 in the country, according to one national poll.
Lyddy's analysis is simple. His team, which reached the CIAC Class LL finals in 2012, was competitive in its first three game this season, but not so much against the Gaels on Tuesday. And one game early on does not cast the season in a definitive direction either way. The loss most likely will spur the Jesuits into spirited practices on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of their game Friday at Hamden, he said.
"We had St. Anthony's on their heels for some stretches of the second half. We were competitive against Newtown (a 1-0 win on Sept. 10) and we were competitive against Daniel Hand (a 2-1 victory on Sept. 12). Now we have two days off and, at practice, we are going to figure out where we want to go and how to get there," Lyddy said.
"We'll use this as a learning experience in preparation for the SCC and state (CIAC Class LL) tournaments. We were outplayed by Shelton pretty well. This was a letdown for the most part."
The Gaels, who last defeated Fairfield Prep on Sept. 29, 2008, in a 4-3 victory at Alumni Field, remained unbeaten by improving to 2-0-1 overall and in the SCC. The Jesuits dropped to 2-1-0 in the conference.
Shelton senior co-captain Matt Brouillette converted a short pass from junior Pepe Lobello with 1:49 remaining in the first half by blasting a shot from the top of the box into the low, near corner past Prep starting goalkeeper Daniel Szabo, a freshman, whose diving attempt to smother the shot was a tad late. The Jesuits had taken three shots on Gaels junior goalie Claudio Lobello up to that point, then managed just two shots at him in the final 40 minutes.
Lyddy will not redesign Prep's offensive tactics, he said, but he will reassess who will participate on the attack as well as who finds his way into the rotations in the midfield and on defense.
"We will re-analyze who the leaders on this team are going to be, and we're going to get some guys who haven't been playing as much and see the contributuions they can make maybe to mix it up," Lyddy said.
"We should be averaging 15 to 20 shots a game. This was unacceptable," he said. Shelton outshot Prep by 9-5. "We stuck to our game plan until the final 20 minutes, then we pushed a lot of guys up. Obviously, that didn't work." When the Jesuits strategy shifted, Szabo was pulled in favor of another freshman goalie, Chris MacKay, who made his varsity debut.
What succeeded was Shelton coach Joe D'Auria's scheme to neutralize Prep's potent attack. "Knowing them and what they like to do, we like to close space on them fast. They'd switch (sides of the field with the ball) and we'd close up fast. They man-marked one of our top players (senior co-captain Matt Manzo), and that opened things up for us. He was able to get the ball and distribute it quickly."
D'Auria called the game a "signature win" for the Gaels. "This is really going to mold our season for us."
Fairfield Prep beat Shelton by scores of 2-0 and 1-0 last year. The Jesuits' most recent two-game losing streak was on Nov. 5, 2010, a 2-0 loss to Guilford in the SCC semifinals, and Nov. 8, 2010, in the first round of the state tournament in a 2-1 defeat to Bridgeport Central.
Shelton 1, Fairfield Prep 0
SHELTON 1 0--1
FAIRFIELD PREP 0 0--0
Records: Shelton 2-0-1, 2-0-1 SCC; Fairfield Prep 2-2-0, 2-1-0 SCC. Goal: S--Matt Brouillette. Assist: S--Pepe Lobello. Goalies: S--Claudio Lobello (3 saves); FP--Daniel Szabo (3 saves), Chris MacKay (1 save).