Szabo, Jesuits blank Nighthawks in opener

Danny Szabo beats Newtown's Blake Jarvis to the ball during Fairfield Prep's 1-0 win over the Nighthawks in Newtown on Tuesday night. (Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Danny Szabo beats Newtown’s Blake Jarvis to the ball during Fairfield Prep’s 1-0 win over the Nighthawks in Newtown on Tuesday night.
(Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Only one returning senior starter took the field for the Fairfield Prep soccer team when the Jesuits traveled to Newtown High to take on the Nighthawks in the their season opener at Blue and Gold Stadium on Tuesday night.
There is no replacing game experience, and Prep had lost 10 players to graduation from its team that advanced to the Class LL championship game for the first time in 2012.
What coach Ryan Lyddy’s Jesuits did have in the non-league contest, was a lot of players seeing extensive varsity minutes for the first time.
No Jesuit was under the microscope more than freshman goalie Danny Szabo, who stopped every Nighthawks shot in a 1-0 victory.
“He’s not afraid to point out to the veteran players where he wants them positioned,” Lyddy said. “Danny made some big saves early and his confidence grew from there.”
Newtown’s Matt Baldino tested Szabo in the first minute with a chip shot that he caught easily.
Szabo next came off his line to stop a threat, and then at 30:25 made a great save by the far post off an indirect kick around a two-man wall.
“I was nervous to start the game, but the defense played very well and things worked out,” Szabo said. “I just wanted to help my team out.”
Austin Sims, who made the move from offensive threat to defensive standout for his senior campaign, played an outstanding game alongside Simon Whitman and Aiden Bracken.
“Austin transposing himself from offense to defense says a lot about his team-first attitude,” Lyddy said.
“Stephen Tortora is our other senior returning starter, but he was out for this game. I liked our composure.”
Stephen Sappo, Chris Montani, Matt Crowe, Zach Guerrera and Pat Hess were joined by Nick Kelly in slowing the talented Nighthawks.
Travis Cantu, Mike Infante, Jack Oricoli, James Colihan and Christian Backe took their shots at Newtown goalie Eli Klorczyk, while also backchecking to help the midfield.
Infante sent the ball into the corner for Crowe, who in turn worked his way free and fed Infante in front, but Newtown’s Nathan Kaira blocked the shot with 23:00 left in the first half.
At 20:35, Infante broke free, but Klorczyk, who stopped four shots a year ago when the team’s played to a 0-0 tie on Sept. 12, made a diving save.
Newtown’s next shot at breaking through came in the 25th minute.
Hess made a sweeping tackle to stop Kaira, but Matthew Mossbarger collected the ball only to have Sims deflect his shot. Charlie Poarch ripped a shot toward the far corner, where Szabo knocked in wide with both hands and then gathered in the rebound.
Cantu was lost for the rest of the game with a concussion with 9:20 left in the half, and with increased playing time Colihan and Backe took turns bottling up Newtown defenders.
Twenty seconds into the second half, Mossbarger struck a lazer shot and Szabo made a dazzing save.
The Nighthawks garnered the games’ first corner on their next trip down, but Szabo caught the ball in the box.
Hess then turned the game permanently in Prep’s favor. Twice he won the battle for a free ball at midfield and Infante came away with possession.
He moved the ball forward to Colihan, who chipped the ball to Guerrera, who beat Klorczyk with 25:45 left in regulation.
“At halftime I told them to be patient. Don’t be a player your not,” Lyddy said.
Spurred on by the tally, the Jesuits began to win every second ball to further disrupt the Newtown attack.
The Nighthawks had corner opportunities at 31:03 and 13:38, but came up empty.
Orcoli headed out the second attempt at the far corner and Szabo had a catch in traffic on the second.
Prep will play host to Daniel Hand of Madison Thursday at 4 p.m.

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