EAST HAVEN >> Mikey Sciortino had the best scoring opportunity of the second half Wednesday night, blistering a shot that West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson had to make a diving save.
Sciortino made sure he made good on the next chance he had. His goal, the only one of the half, beat a diving Robinson. No. 5 seed Shelton wins its first Southern Connecticut Conference tournament title 3-2 over No. 6 West Haven at Crisafi Field.
“This shot, when I had my chance, I really had to hit it hard and get it done and over with this time,” Sciortino said. “He is an amazing keeper. I wanted to throw it high enough where he couldn’t reach it and then spin down so he had no chance.”
It was the first appearance in the final for the Gaels (13-5-1). West Haven (11-3-4) is still searching for its first league title. The Westies only previous appearance came in 1998.
“I’m proud of them but unfortunately, I think the moment was too big today. That’s what it seemed like to me,” West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said.
Sciortino’s first scoring chance came off a corner kick, the middle attempt in a quick sequence of three shots for the Gaels. It was also much closer to the net than his goal was 3 minutes later.
“Their goalkeeper kept them in the game. He made some tremendous saves,” Shelton coach Joe D’Auria said. “In the second half, both teams were a little bit hesitant. We were lucky to get a great goal. … I’m expecting big things out of him (Sciortino) for the remainder of the year and next year.”
D’Auria said the Gaels basically played the same defensive set no matter who the opponent was. But West Haven’s Salah Oumorou, the reigning Register’s Area MVP, is a special case.
“They have a dynamic player and you have to prepare for him,” D’Auria said. “We left our defensive center-mid in his shape which is Jimmy Hunter. He contained him. He is probably one of the better players I have seen in high school (soccer).”
Oumorou scored in the first half but had just one of the Westies’ two shots in the second half – a direct kick that lined off the crossbar.
“We didn’t get the ball to his feet enough as often we would have liked to,” Hamasian said.
Neither team had allowed a goal in the first two games leading up to Wednesday’s final. That changed rather quickly.
Ryan Smith opened the scoring for Shelton 12 minutes, 46 seconds into the game with a line-drive shot past Robinson on an assist from Jay Shea.
Less than six minutes later, Oumorou answered after Ulises Hernandez ripped a shot off the crossbar. Oumorou was right in the middle of the field and put in the equalizer.
With 16:16 left before halftime, Blaise Haba was able to stay onsides as he and Shelton goalkeeper Casey Cisero got to the ball. Haba was able to gain possession and slip behind for the 2-1 lead.
Connor Prindle tied it with 10:49 left, beating Robinson from the right side to the opposite corner.
“This definitely boosts us up so much, it puts us up to a whole another level,” Sciortino said.
Shelton 3, West Haven 2
(at East Haven)
West Haven 2 0 — 2
Shelton 2 1 — 3
First half—SHE: Ryan Smith (Jay Shea) 13:46; WH: Salah Oumorou (Ulises Hernandez) 18:03; Blaise Haba 23:44; SHE: Connor Prindle 29:11; Second half: Mikey Sciortino 68:44;
Shots—WH: 5; SHE: 17
Saves—WH: Garfield Robinson 7; SHE: Casey Cisero 1
Records—West Haven 11-3-4; Shelton 13-5-1