Boys soccer: Shelton booters off to 5-1 start

Khaleed Dawkins (10) scored a goal for the Gaels in their win over Career/Hillhouse. — Andy Hutchison photo

Despite being shorthanded to begin with, and enduring an injury in the middle of the game, Shelton High’s boys soccer team nipped visiting Career/Hillhouse 2-1 on a hot Saturday afternoon at Finn Stadium.

Coach Joe D’Auria’s Gaels improved to 5-1, bouncing back from their first defeat of the campaign — a 2-1 loss to Branford on Wednesday.

Tyler Carvalho scored the goal for Shelton. Ethan Boileau and Ben DeMaio had goals for Branford (5-0). Isaac Garcia had two saves for the Gaels.

Khaleed Dawkins and Carvalho scored for the Gaels in the win over C/H.

Dawkins scored first, 1:30 into regulation.

After Career/Hillhouse tied the score, Carvalho answered.

With John Paul Feliciano out of the lineup, Kyle Prindle stepped in and stepped up to make seven saves.

Shelton was also without defender Kelan Smith, and Carvalho left the game with an injury.

The defensive effort was led by Sean Beacham, who broke up several threats in or near the 18-yard box.

D’Auria and his players see a lot of room for improvement.

“It wasn’t our day today. We don’t typically allow this many chances for the opposing team,” D’Auria said of this season compared to prior campaigns. “We’re not playing up to our standards. We’re not playing up to our level.”

In the prior game, Branford had a 17-5 shots advantage.

“That’s been our (mode of operation) all season thus far. That’s very frustrating,” D’Auria said.

The Gaels believe better production on offense is also necessary.

“We’re always going to have opportunities,” Beachem said. “We just have to put them away so the pressure is less on the defense.”

The Gaels piled up 19 shots and had four corner kicks.

Anthony Russo headed a goal kick away to Spencer Gangi for a run up the left wing to create one chance.

Moments later, defender Vincent Mallozzi intercepted the ball near midfield and set up an opportunity but the Gaels couldn’t convert.

Some of the early-season struggles may be attributed to the fact there were 13 seniors on the roster a year ago.

“We’re a new team this year — a bunch of new players. We’re trying to connect and score goals,” Smith said. “The room for improvement shouldn’t be as big as it is.”

Then again, the Gaels know things could be worse. Given all of the need to improve, five wins in six games to begin the year is about as good as it gets.

Roundup: Shelton dropped a 3-2 road decision to Fairfield Prep on Monday. Spencer Gangi and Tyler Carvalho scored goals for the Gaels (5-2). Axel Whamond had two goals and Andrew Neumeyer one for Prep (4-1-1). Isaac Garcia (2 saves) and Kyle Prindle (5 saves) played in net for Shelton. Everett Lyons had nine saves for Prep.

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