Fairfield Prep's season ends at Pomperaug
The Fairfield Prep boys soccer team's first loss was also its last defeat in 2011.
Pomperaug senior Nicholas Lasewicz netted the only goal off a corner kick in the top-seeded Panthers' 1-0 win over No. 9 Fairfield Prep on Wednesday in the Class LL quarterfinals at Pomperaug.
"We've been working on set pieces all year," Pomperaug coach Joe Mancini said. "The kids get tired of it, but it works."
The Jesuits fell for the first time this season, ending their year 14-1-7.
"We definitely played with them," Fairfield Prep coach Ryan Lyddy said. "They had their opportunities and we had ours."
Panthers' goalkeeper Zach Goodridge stopped six shots as Pomperaug improved to 19-1-1. The Panthers advance to Saturday's state semifinal against another SCC team, either No. 12 Cheshire or No. 13 Guilford at a site and time to be determined.
"Our goal was to get to the state semifinals," Mancini. "We worked hard for it, and the kids have been working good together."
"(Grella) was very good," Lyddy said. "He stood up and took the challenge."
But on the ensuing corner kick, junior Marc Almeida delivered a perfect ball onto Lasewicz's right foot, who flicked the ball over Grella and inside the near post to put the Panthers ahead.
"They ran their play perfectly and it went in," Lyddy said.
Pomperaug had other chances, but Grella came up big, as did the Jesuits' defense. Junior defender Patrick Connolly made a goal line save on Kostika Kosova's chance at an open net in the 15th minute.
"We wanted to be aggressive," Mancini said. "We're the home team, so we shouldn't be sitting back."
Prep's best scoring opportunity came in the 74th minute when Austin Sims' header was corralled by Goodridge.
Despite the loss, Lyddy was ecstatic about the progress his club made in 2011. Prep won the SCC and suffered just the lone defeat at the Class LL's No. 1 seed, Pomperaug.
"I'm happy for the guys," Lyddy said. "They put Prep on the map."