In seasons past, the success of the Fairfield Prep boys soccer team has been defensive-based. Superior back-line play, good goaltending and a consistent counter-attack.

That’s all changed.

This season, blessed with a solid core of offensive players, the Jesuits have become a scoring machine, tallying 14 goals in its opening four games, including Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Guilford at Rafferty Stadium that pushed Prep’s record to a perfect 4-0.

“It’s reversed this year,” said Prep coach Ryan Lyddy. “Usually, we’re a defensive-oriented team, always have been but this year, we’ve changed the formation. We’re using Biagio (Paoletta) a bit more. We was a center back but we needed to have him forward. We’ve catered the system around him a little bit and once we get over half field, it’s blazing. Everyone’s moving, being creative and that’s where the goals are coming from.”

It was a Paoletta header in the 52nd minute that gave Prep a 3-0 lead. Finding some space inside the box, Paoletta took a perfect cross from Patrick Guere and knocked the ball past Guilford keeper Colin Brocksieper.

“Pat, on the cross, has always given me good balls like that,” Paoletta said. “He’s been doing it all the time in practice and I knew he was going to put it in a perfect spot for me and all I had to do was finish it.”

Early on, however, it was Guilford (2-1) that controlled the play, keeping Prep off-balance with its ball possession as the Indians’ Stephen Page just missed a couple of potential scoring chances. But in the 37th minute, Prep’s Jack Oricoli took a cross from Jamie Becker inside the box and hammered a drive past Brocksieper to put the Jesuits in front just before halftime.

“Jack’s goal came with around two minutes left in the field half and now, we’re high and they’re a bit low,” Lyddy said. “And we came right out in the second half, took that momentum played hard and finished the game that way.”

A penalty kick goal, coming off the foot of Prep goalkeeper Daniel Szabo, made it 2-0 in the 47th minute before Paoletta’s header made it a three-goal Jesuits advantage. Guilford finally got on the board in the 63rd minute when Chris Barber found the back of the net from around 10 yards out.

With just under six minutes, Szabo collided with a Guilford player going for a ball and lay on the ground for a couple of minutes holding his head. Lyddy said that he banged his head and possibly bruised some ribs but should be all right.

“He’s a tough kid,” Lyddy said.

With four home games to open the season and six of the first seven on the schedule in the friendly confines of Rafferty Stadium, it was important for Prep to get off to a hot start. And they have.

“These guys have been playing very well,” Lyddy said. “Every day, we’ve gotten better and today, the biggest thing was playing against a very good Guilford team, we didn’t panic when they had the pressure on us. They play exactly like us, they spread the field, look for options, different scenarios. I thought we held our ground. We were a little shaky at times but we didn’t fold. We kept plugging away.”; Twitter@elsctpos