Shelton High defeated Trumbull High, 2-1, in the Class LL state tournament at Finn Stadium on Wednesday night.
The 3rd-seeded Gaels’ Vince Mallozzi had scored a goal at 34:39 against the 14th-seeded Eagles to give the locals a halftime lead, but Shelton coach Isaac Montalvo had reason to worry because the visitors had better of the play in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
The Eagles added a corner chance one minute after the break.
A free kick from distance and a shot on net from Nicholas Moussavian followed.
Trumbull’s Andrew Restrepo then was rewarded for some fine forechecking and took a shot on Shelton keeper Isaac Garcia, which the junior knocked away.
The Eagles’ Jason Weinstein beat a defender to the rebound and his sliding shot tied the match at the 32:30 mark.
“Trumbull is very strong,” Montalvo said after his team won a 2-1 decision. “In an even-match game, you need to play defense first and on offense take what you can. They were looking to go over the top and were winning on the fifty-fifty (balls), so I placed number ten (Khaleed Dawkins) to stop penetration in the air.”
Shelton middies Dawkins, Tyler Carvalho, Nick Dingwall, Spencer Gangi, Zach Prindle and Mallozzi did a good job of locking in on the Eagles and filtering the play to backliners’ Kelan Smith, Jack Neary, Andrew Cordes, Anthony Russo and Cameron Boyce.
Garcia was decisive in net.
A through-ball by Trumbull’s Nicholas Moussavian to Anthony Barreira never found its mark, as Garcia was jet-quick off his line and snagged the ball before Barreira could get a foot on it.
One minute later, Shelton had a 2-1 lead.
The Gaels were awarded a free kick from midfield and the strong-legged Carvalho put the ball into the box, where it found the turf and slid to the right.
Gangi was there to put it home with 24:21 remaining.
“It was a 1-1 game and I did what I had to do to place the ball in the net,” Gangi said. “We knew that these guys (Trumbull) would come out hard. Vinny made a great play to get us started.”
Mallozzi never hesitated after Neary put a ball over the top in front of Trumbull keeper Christopher Calabrese. The sophomore beat both the goalie and a defender to the ball and kicked it home.
Shelton strikers Chris Conrad and Mark Gergely looked to pressure the Trumbull third, but found themselves with the lead working hard backchecking to disrupt the Eagles.
“I thought we were going to move forward (after Weinstein’s goal), but instead they come down only once and score off a set piece,” Trumbull coach Sebastian Gangemi said. “ Shelton is a good team. This was a heartbreaker.”
Trumbull, the 14th seed, finished 13-6-2.
Shelton (15-2-1) will play host to No. 6 seed Farmington (13-2-3) in Saturday’s quarterfinal at 3:30.
Farmington, which defeated Shelton in last year’s state final, advanced with a 1-0 victory over 10th-seeded Greenwich.
“Farmington is a very strong and physical team,” Montalvo said. “We’ll have one day to prepare and we’ll be ready.”