Nicola Lobello fired in the game-winning goal with 27:44 left to play, powering Shelton High to a 1-0 victory over Fairfield Prep in the Southern Connecticut Conference championship match at Ken Strong Stadium.
Lobello beat Prep keeper Daniel Szabo to teammate Mikey Sciortino’s cross, winning the 50-50 ball and tucking into the corner of the net.
“I saw an opportunity and I took it,” Lobello said, a senior forward. “It came out the way we wanted it to be. That’s all we really needed.”
It was the second straight league title for the second-seeded Gaels (15-3-1), who were making their seventh straight appearance in the SCC tournament.
Senior midfielder Kyle Gil was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, anchoring the middle of the park for the Gaels against the tenacious fifth-seeded Jesuits (11-4-4). Prep had previously defeated Shelton twice this season, 1-0 on Sept. 27 and 2-0 on Oct. 21.
“I told my team, ‘we have to be first to every ball,'” Gil said of the game plan against the Jesuits the third time around.
Sophomore keeper Isaac Garcia recorded the clean sheet in net, with some help for Shelton’s backline — including centerback Ethan Shuster, who bicycle kicked a clearance away late in the game to defuse a Jesuit scoring chance.
“They were pressing and pressing and pressing,” Shelton head coach Joe D’Auria said. “We had our counterattacks and some chances, but we were just focusing on the marking.”
Shelton will return to action in the Class LL state tournament, which begins on Nov. 8.