Led by goals by Danny Castro, Ryan Smith, and Connor Prindle, coach Joe D’Auria’s Shelton High boys soccer team held on for a 3-2 victory over the Xavier Falcons (1-2-5) on a chilly Saturday evening in Shelton. With the win, the Gaels improved their season record to 5-4-1.
“Our team is coming together at the right time,” D’Auria said. “I think they’re starting to get it, and things are clicking in this part of the season.”
Xavier took early control of the ball and kept it in Shelton territory. Despite the fast pace of the attack, Xavier did not get off a single shot during the first ten minutes of play.
Shelton’s first attempt at a score came in the eighth minute, when junior Isaijah Robles sent a cross to Castro in front of the goal, but Castro’s shot went just left of the net. The Gaels kept the ball in Xavier territory and put another play together shortly thereafter, this time it worked.
Senior midfielder Jimmy Hunter worked the ball into the corner and got it to Robles, who again passed to Castro in front of the net. Castro headed the ball just past Xavier goalie Nolan Maruo and into the left side of the net, putting Shelton on the board 8:39 into the first half. Shelton would have had another score if not for an aggressive save in the box by Maruo in the 12th minute.
Shelton goalie Casey Cicero had stops in the 14th and 15th minutes, before Xavier’s Adam Beatty scored the equalizer. Shelton’s attack team of Robles, Ryan Smith and Prindle answered before the half.
Smith carried the ball back down the field and scored to put Shelton on top 2-1 going into the half. Xavier came out and made it a 2-2 game on Joe Zacchia’s goal six minutes into the second half.
Tensions rose as players from both teams were issued yellow cards over the course of the next few minutes, culminating in a penalty kick for Shelton after a Xavier defender was cited for a handball violation.
Prindle took the shot, his kick sailing past Maruo and into the right side of the net to put the Gaels on top 3-2. Smith took a shot on goal in the 51st minute of the half, before the pace slowed down before picking up again at the midway point of the session.
Xavier put together multiple chances, only to fire wide of the frame. The Falcons made one final push to score as the clock dwindled, but Shelton’s defense, led by a nice header by Ken Schif to deflect a Xavier pass, kept them off the board and the clock ran out on the Falcons.