FAIRFIELD — How a team reacts after an opponent’s goal varies.
Some teams tuck tail and point fingers.
Fairfield Prep responded to Shelton taking a 2-0 lead by attacking the Gaels over the final 24 minutes to earn a 2-2 tie with its SCC rival on Tuesday at Rafferty Stadium.
“The kids kept their poise and mentally did a great job,” said Prep head coach Ryan Lyddy, who pointed out that his team had played St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) the same way on Monday night in a 2-2 tie. “They were coming off a draining game with an out-of-state team and then had to play an always strong Shelton team.”
Joey DeVellis was at the goal-scoring end of a brilliant passing sequence to deadlock the match in the 77th minute.
Josh Samaras controlled a long ball to the right post. When Shelton keeper Patrick Feliciano darted to cover, Samaras poked a short ball to DeVellis, who had nothing between him and a 2-all score but an open net.
“We pushed the ball up and played the wings,” DeVellis said of the Jesuits’ comeback. “Conner Moore, our left wing, was pushing really well down there and that’s how he scored his goal. Samaris, he got a ball at the back post and I made a good run in and I was wide open.”
Mark Gergety had two great opportunities for the Gaels, and the senior forward was spot on with his shot.
“It was tight the whole game, it always is playing them,” Gergety said. “It felt really good. Once I got one, I felt that my confidence just went up and I could just keep going and get another one, maybe.”
Gergety positioned himself in front of the net, where he was ready for Vince Mallozzi’s on-target pass from distance. Shelton led 1-0 seven minutes into the second half.
In a foreshadowing perhaps, Prep’s Christian Ortiz and Moore each had chances to equalize in the next three minutes but came up empty.
Cowles was tested in the 54th minute after Mallozzi stole a weak pass and Sanzo blistered a shot that Cowles punched over the crossbar. Off the ensuing corner from Coleman, Cowles muscled his way into traffic and grabbed the ball.
Gergety’s second tally came off a good ball from Noah Doyens. Gergety had time to settle and placed the ball high into the net at the 55:43 mark.
Prep’s Gavin Neumeyer spotted Moore by the far post, and the talented junior beat Feliciano just 1:33 after the Gaels’ second goal.
The Jesuits never stopped going forward.
“We will be more diverse with our formations with this group,” Lyddy said. “We have young players, and that’s great for the future. We’ll take the first half of this season to figure out who we are and establish an identity.”
Shelton (0-1-1) had the better of play in the first 40 minutes when Cowles stopped four shots.
The Gaels best chance came in the 12th minute — and they were denied not by Cowles — but by senior backliner Mike DeMoura.
A quick exchange between Alexander Coleman to Justin Sanzo resulted in Jason Lorent shooting from the box. DeMoura knocked it wide before it could reach the frame.
“In the first half we were prepared for their style of play,” Shelton head coach Isaac Montalvo said. “In the back we did well. After we had four starters go out with injuries in the second half, that took its toll.”
“This is always a good match,” Shelton head coach Isaac Montalvo said. “We came here with respect for a team with great players and a great coach.”