The Shelton High boys soccer team saw its run in the Class LL state tournament end on Thursday night at Taft Field in Fairfield.
Danbury High, the No. 11 seed, netted three goals in the second half to post a 4-2 victory over the seventh-seeded Gaels, who were making their first appearance in the state semifinals since 2005.
It is the fifth year in a row Shelton has been eliminated by an FCIAC squad, as the Hatters (15-3-4) punched their tickets to the state final alongside No. 4 seed Farmington High (17-2-1) on Nov. 19.
After the teams traded early goals, with Kaike Nascimento giving Danbury the lead at 32:39 before Kyle Gil of Shelton equalized at 32:06, the Hatters put away their chances in the second half. The Gaels had a bevy of opportunities themselves, but were staring at a 3-1 deficit in the 67th minute.
“Those goals, last game, we were having this discussion, against Greenwich, we are putting those in the back of the net,” Shelton head coach Joe D’Auria said. “It’s unfortunate. We are used to putting those away. That’s a sign of playing against a good team, a good solid defense. We have to do better.”
Danbury took the lead following a corner kick with 15:03 left, as Ricardo Rodriguez’s corner kick struck a Shelton defender before glancing in off of the Hatters’ Felipe Alves. Two minutes later, Danbury tri-captain Kevin Spennato knocked one over the top of Shelton keeper Isaac Garcia to make it 3-1.
As they did against Greenwich in the quarterfinals, the Gaels fought back. Mikey Sciortino blasted one home in the 70th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2. After a few chances went by the board for Shelton, Danbury’s Chriss Sari tallied an insurance goal with 2:14 left to seal the 4-2 triumph and quell a potential Gael uprising.
Shelton finished the season at 18-4-1, winning the SCC title for the second year in a row.
“In years past, this is my 13th season overall coaching in this program, you see it everyday. It’s up and down. The style of play, the results. If they come to play, if they don’t. This year was little different, for the most part, let’s call it 90 percent of the time, they were at a good rate. They wanted to play, they wanted to train, they wanted to prepare. They wanted to work for this moment.”