Austin Forlenzo’s goal with 26:21 left in the second half propelled Shelton High to a 1-0 SCC Housatonic Division boys soccer victory over Lyman Hall of Wallingford on Saturday at Finn Stadium.
Matt Brouillette set up Forlenzo’s game-winning tally with a crafty header pass, as the Gaels improved to 3-0-1 overall. Lyman Hall dropped to 3-1.
“We’ll take it,” Shelton coach Joe D’Auria said. “It’s tough. There’s no such thing as a weak team in the Housatonic. Everyone comes to play solid.”
Chris Carew recorded the clean sheet in net for Shelton, making two saves. Justin Donath of Lyman Hall made five stops, as the Gaels outshot the Trojans, 20-7.
Shelton created a bevy of scoring opportunities, led by Brouillette and Matt Manzo up front, while limiting Lyman Hall’s chances on the other end.
“We knew their style coming in,” D’Auria said. “We worked on their style defensively.”
With John Hunter and Rob Stanley patrolling the defensive half in front of Carew, who was quick off of his line, the Trojans never really strung together an efficient attack.
Jon Jacobs of Lyman Hall broke free at the 35:45 mark, but Hunter blocked the shot attempt.
Shelton had chances from Brett Peterson, Brouillette, Manzo and Forlenzo go by the board in the opening 40 minutes, as the teams went into the break in a scoreless deadlock.
Eventually, the Gaels’ relentlessness resulted in a goal. Brouillette outlept his defender, nudging a header through to the feet of Forlenzo, who lofted a shot past a marooned Donath with just over 26 minutes left to play.
“In the past couple of games, we’ve had multiple opportunities and not finished them,” D’Auria said. “It was great to see something like that go into the back of the net.”
The Gaels nearly added to their lead over the final 20 minutes, but Lyman Hall held strong.
“The more chances you get, hopefully the percentages at some point meet up,” D’Auria said.
Through four games, Shelton has outscored its opposition, 9-1. One of the Gaels’ victories was on the road against Fairfield Prep, last season’s Class LL runner-up. They also hammered North Haven, 6-0, and drew Branford, 1-1.
After a strong preseason, D’Auria expected big things from his experienced side.
“These guys are a special bunch,” he said.
The return matchup against Lyman Hall is set for Oct. 7, in Wallingford and Shelton will know what to expect when visiting its league rival.
“All-in-all, it was a good effort,” D’Auria said of the victory. “We have some more preparation to do because I can tell you one thing, when we go face them it’s not going to be easy.”