Spartans oust Gaels in SCC quarterfinals
On two separate occasions, the Shelton High boys soccer team established one-goal leads over Amity High in the Southern Connecticut Conference quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon in wind-swept Woodbridge.
Both times, the second-seeded Spartans overturned the deficit and pulled level — including on Justyn Broderick’s equalizer with 18:53 left to play that forced extra time — before shutting out the seventh-seeded Gaels in penalty kicks to claim a 2-2 (3-0 PKs) victory.
When the 20-minute overtime failed to produce a winner, the game went in penalty kicks where Amity converted three-of-three from the spot.
Dean Schwartz, Nick O’Brien and Aaron Cooper each beat Gaels’ goalkeeper Chris Carew. Conversely, Matt Manzo, Matt Brouillette and Matt Stoll all missed their attempts.
Only Manzo forced a save out of Amity keeper Griffin Volta, who sprawled to his left to stop the low shot. Brouillette fired his spot kick over net, while Stoll slammed his off of the crossbar to seal the fate of coach Joe D’Auria’s Gaels.
Shelton dropped to 9-5-3 and will await its pairing in the Class LL state tournament set to begin on Nov. 5.
Brouillette staked the Gaels to a 2-1 advantage at 36:08 of the second half. The senior midfielder pounced on a goalkick from Volta that hung up in a wind gust.
Taking it down along the left side, Brouillette belted a high shot that beat Volta to the far post.
Shelton, which outshot Amity by a 29-13 margin, had several chances to establish a two-goal lead. The best came through junior Elias Uyar, who hooked a shot wide of the Spartan net.
Amity nearly pulled level when Matt Whitehill intercepted a Shelton pass, then drove a cross into the box that Ajay King headed over Carew.
Broderick then split a pair of Gael defenders with under 19 minutes left. The senior forward rifled a shot high into the right corner of the net to tie the game at 2.
The Gaels kept up the pressure, with Pepe LoBello forcing Volta to make a save. Manzo had a chance in the final minute of regulation, but his shot was also saved. That led to a corner kick and chance by Brouillette, who missed the net with his shot.
Neither team broke through in extra time, with Stoll creating the best scoring opportunities for Shelton. The penalty kicks were all Amity (11-2-4), as the Spartans defeated the Gaels for the third time this season.
Early on, Stoll put Shelton in front with a sharp volley from the right side. Rob Stanley sent a pass to Uyar, who found Stoll streaking down the right side.
Stoll curled a high shot inside the far post at 32:22, before Jeremy Conn answered with a goal at 19:19 to forge a 1-1 deadlock.
Shelton’s defense, led by Jared Wallace, John Hunter, Austin Kothary and Michael Filakovsky, neutralized Amity’s attack the rest of the half.
After falling behind once again on Brouillette’s strike, the Spartans battled back again in the second half to tie it up before prevailing in penalties.
Amity lost in penalty kicks to sixth-seeded Guilford High 1-1 (4-2 in PKs) on Monday in Woodbridge.