PORTLAND >> Old Lyme coach Marc Vendetti said his Wildcats “expected to be here, without question” in Friday night’s Shoreline Conference tournament final.
Then the Wildcats went out and lived up to those lofty expectations.
Second-seeded Old Lyme dominated from start to finish, handling top-seeded Morgan 4-0 at Portland High. It’s the Wildcats’ first league championship since 2009.
“We knew if we could get here, we had a very good chance,” Vendetti said. “We didn’t care who it was, we felt all along we were the best team in the Shoreline. Tonight was all about, can we go out, play our game, do the things that we train for and let the result take care of itself. It wasn’t anything more than that.”
The Wildcats (14-1-3) had over a year’s worth of motivation, dating back to last year’s final on Halloween. Cromwell defeated the Wildcats in double-overtime.
“Last year as an absolute heartbreaker. We had the dream team,” said Old Lyme forward Nathan Peduzzi, one of four returning starters. “It was time for us to win it. We deserved this one.”
Peduzzi scored twice, once in each half, and almost had the hat trick. His shot hit off a Morgan defender and into the goal with 1 second left before halftime. That gave Old Lyme the 3-0 lead.
The Huskies (15-2-1) had beaten every other team in the Shoreline except Old Lyme, which defeated Morgan 2-0 during the regular season.
“Our morale went down (during the game). We will be strong for states,” Morgan coach Ross DeMay said. The Huskies are the top seed in Class S.
Old Lyme kept a close eye on Juan Avila, Morgan’s top scorer, hardly allowing him to touch the ball, let alone get off a shot.
“He’s a dangerous player. The objective on him was, don’t give him a sniff,” Vendetti said.
Cooper St. Germain had the first goal for Old Lyme with 18:57 left in the first half. Peduzzi scored less than 2 minutes later.
Old Lyme outshot Morgan 15-4.
“(Morgan was) under constant siege the entire game,” Peduzzi said.
Old Lyme 4, Morgan 0
Old Lyme 3 1 — 4
Morgan 0 0 — 0
First half—OLM: Danny Cole 21:03; Nate Paduzzi 22:49; own goal 39:59; Second half—OLM: Nate Paduzzi (Graham Aird) 70:55;
Shots—OLM: 15; MO: 4;
Saves—OLM: Cameron Dean-Frazier 2; MO: Anes Gadun 4;
Records—Old Lyme 14-1-3; Morgan 15-2-1