Trumbull defeats Warde for Sebe, win FCIAC title
NORWALK—Somewhere, Sebe is looking down and smiling.
Last year the Trumbull boys’ soccer team won the FCIAC title playing for its coach Sebastian Gangemi, who was battling cancer.
This season the Eagles were back in the final, but this time they were playing for Gangemi’s memory after the longtime coach died in May.
To say the Eagles had been through a lot emotionally would be an understatement.
For the second year in a row, No. 2 Trumbull is FCIAC champion after beating No. 1 Warde 1-0 on a rain-soaked night at Testa Field in Norwalk.
“There are no words,” said Trumbull coach Silverio Vitiello, a longtime assistant to Gangemi. “Given what we, as a program, went through and the emotions of losing Sebe. This is a storybook ending. We did everything we had to do to beat a quality team. Those last 10 minutes felt like 100 years. (Warde) came with numbers and they left it all out on the field.”
Trumbull was playing in the championship game for the fourth straight season.
It was the first loss of the season for Warde.
Trumbull survived an all-out attack by Warde over the final 15 minutes, with keeper Nick Grassi making several big saves.
With 12:40 left, Warde appeared to score the equalizer when Mario Morataya put the ball in the net. But the play was called offsides, nullifying the goal.
Grassi’s biggest save came with just over 23 minutes remaining, diving to his left to thwart a rocket shot by Warde’s Devin Grenier.
“Their keeper made a brilliant save on Grenier’s shot. It was an amazing stop,” Warde coach Justin Ottavio said. “Trumbull is a mirror-image of us. We played well in the second half, they did well in the first half. We have no regrets. It just seemed like the ball was not bouncing in our favor today after it bounced our way all year.”
Trumbull’s goal came early in the first half.
Justin Horvath dribbled in, forcing the defender man-marking Tiago Frazao to step up, leaving Frazao free just for a moment.
Horvath read the defender, playing the ball to Frazao who finished with authority for the game’s lone goal.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Justin Horvath, Trumbull. Horvath was on the ball all night and earned championship MVP honors for his efforts.
“This is an amazing feeling. Everything this year was for Sebe,” Frazao said. “For it to culminate with this, is awesome. I can’t describe it. (the final minutes) felt like ages. They had a few really, good chances and seconds felt like hours. It was a long final 10 minutes. This one is a little sweeter than last year, I have to say.”
TRUMBULL 1 WARDE 0
TRUMBULL 1 0—1
WARDE 0 0—0
Goals: T—Tiago Frazao. Assists: T—Justin Horvath. Goalies: T—Nick Grassi 9 saves; W—Andrew Jones 6 saves. Records: T—13-2-4; W—15-1-3