FAIRFIELD — By the mid-point in the first half, Fairfield Prep boys’ soccer coach Ryan Lyddy had pulled his three attackers, Alex Whammond, Gavin Neumeyer and Andrew Neumeyer, and had them sitting comfortably on the Jesuits bench.
Their work was done.
Just eight minutes in against Career-Hillhouse and Prep already had three goals, one each from Whammond, Gavin Neumeyer and Andrew Neumeyer and were continuing to pile it on. Lyddy kept subbing, the Jesuits kept scoring and at halftime, with the entire roster already in the game, the Jesuits were holding a seven-goal advantage.
Playing close to the vest for the final 40 minutes, Prep completed an impressive 8-1 win over the Panthers to its third straight victory to start the season Thursday afternoon at Rafferty Stadium.
“In the first half, the objective was to ‘run ‘em,’ ” Lyddy said. “Maintain possession and go hard for 40 minutes and they met that goal. At halftime, we made some adjustments, we got a lot of the younger kids in and they held their own in the second half.”
Freshman Luciano Paoletta scored three goals, while Andrew Chiota and Jose Maria Garcia-Mina also found the back of the net for the Jesuits, who were coming off a sloppy, muddy, ugly (you name it) 1-0 victory over Amity and were so elated to be playing on the turf again that it felt like a magic carpet.
“Anywhere you stepped (against Amity), it was awful, you were sliding everywhere, but this was perfect,” Prep senior midfielder Ross Keblish said. “It was like a dream come true as compared to the other day. Today. We were able to play our style of play and keep it on the floor and dominate.”
It took Prep all of one minute to beat the Panthers defense and score as Gavin Nuemeyer took control of a Whammond cross and beat Career goalkeeper Ethan Silver at 38:12 to make it 1-0. Four minutes after that, it was Whammond that scored to make it 2-0 and a minute after that, Andrew Neumeyer scored and it was 3-0.
But Prep didn’t stop there.
Garcia-Mina scored with 15:08 left in the half to make it 4-0 and Paoletta netted two straight goals with 12:40 and 10:17 to play, respectively, to make it 6-0 and Chiota scored with 5:28 to play in the half and it was 7-0 Jesuits.
“It was a really slow start for us,” Career coach Becky Gawel said. “We had the day off yesterday, we got here late, there are a lot of excuses but we’re better than what we showed. Prep … they’re good. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast and we knew that coming in.”
Knowing that, Gawel felt that perhaps her squad was somewhat intimated by the ‘Prep’ mystique.
“Sometimes, I think it gets in our heads just knowing that we’re coming here,” Gawel said. “They fought back in the second half and I’m pleased with that,” Gawel said. “but it’s still a disappointing loss.”
One bright spot for Career was the play of Silver, who despite allowing eight goals, made over a dozen amazing saves.
“Silver was phenomenal,” Lyddy said. “He was amazing. That kid, he’s such a positive kid, he’s worked his rear end off these last three years. He made some fantastic saves. He did a very good job.”
“He’s stepped us huge,” added Gawel. “He’s a very good keeper. He’s making plays that he wasn’t making before. He’s our captain and he’s a big presence back there.”
In the second half, Career finally got on the board via a goal from Jaheim Sewell but Prep answered that as Paoletta scored his third with 17:17 to play to restore that seven-goal advantage.
FAIRFIELD PREP 8, CAREER-HILLHOUSE 1
CAREER-HILLHOUSE 0 1 — 1
FAIRFIELD PREP 7 1 — 8
Records: Fairfield Prep (3-0); Career-Hillhouse (0-2)
Scoring: Goals: FP — Luciano Paoletta 3, Gavin Neumeyer, Alex Whammond, Andrew Neumeyer, Jose Maria Garcia-Mina, Andrew Chiota; C-H — Jaheim Sewell. Assists: FP — Whammond 2, Ross Keblish, Luke Finnigan, Santiago Gil, Erik Langeland, Paoletta, Alexander Gough; C-H — Oury Diane. Shots: FP — 19, C-H — 6; Saves: FP — 5, C-H — 11.Goalies: FP — Ryan Cowels, William Hansen; C-H — Ethan Silver