FAIRFIELD -- Perspective can temporarily become skewed when your first outright conference title is tantalizingly within your grasp.
How else to account for Trumbull boys soccer coach Sebby Gangemi's sentiments when sharing what was going through his mind at halftime of Friday night's FCIAC championship game against Staples.
"It's a bad situation to be up 2-0," Gangemi said. "You get a false sense of security."
Gangemi chuckled when considering the alternative, and there was nothing flawed about the Eagles' senses after they held on for a 2-0 victory at Fairfield Ludlowe, denying the Wreckers a fourth straight league crown.
"We finally did it," said Gangemi, whose team was playing in the final for just the second time -- it shared the title with Staples in 2006. "This feels a lot better than the last time. We played with our hearts, and it showed. We are a good team and they are a good team. Today we were better."
Zach Chase finished with a goal and an assist, while Liam O'Sullivan also scored for the second-seeded Eagles (14-1-4).
For a team that had lost just once, Trumbull was something of an oddity, respected by everyone but often overshadowed by others during the course of the season for reasons not easily explained.
"Going into the year we know we had a great team, and we set our goals high," said Keith Bond, the Eagles' skilled striker. "I think even tonight, though we were the higher seed, we kind of felt like we were the underdogs. We tried to prove ourselves."
If the fourth-seeded Wreckers (12-3-4) could take away any solace, the outcome was due not to their failures but two well-played goals, the second coming just two minutes prior to the intermission.
"A second (score) before the half is tough, but it was a great shot," Staples coach Dan Woog said. "That was the one scenario we didn't want. They are big, they are fast and they are strong. They are certainly worthy champions."
The Eagles dominated possession time in the first half, their chances usually involving work done by Bond, whose combination of speed and technical skill has flustered the best defenses.
"He was the man tonight," Gangemi said. "He makes things happen. He plays like a man among boys."
After a few near-misses, Trumbull finally struck in the 24th minute, and Bond was the catalyst, beating a defender with a nifty move before setting up Chase, who was alone in front of the goal.
"All year long I've just tried to create goals however I can," Bond said. "I just want to be involved."
There was some controversy in the 32nd minute, when the Wreckers thought they had equalized off a corner kick by Steve Smith. Following a shot off a scramble, Trumbull goalkeeper Nick Weinstein's foot -- but not the ball -- appeared to cross over the goal line,
Trumbull then seized control when Chase was well contained by the Staples defense, but got the ball over to O'Sullivan, who rocketed a hard shot high into the net.
"At 2-0, it's not over but it's a comfortable score," Bond said. "We knew in the second half they would come out strong, but our defense was rock-solid."
There were few prime chances over the final 40 minutes, as the Eagles attacked early and then went into defensive mode.
"We were trying to punt the ball to the corner flags and eat up some time," Gangemi said. "We didn't let them fluster us. We played like we needed to play. At playoff time you have to elevate your game, and we did today."
The Wreckers, who started the season with just two returning starters, will attempt to regroup for next week's state playoffs.
"They are awesome kids and they have come a great way," Woog said. "No one believed in them at the beginning of the season."
Dave Ruden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveRuden.
STAPLES 0 0--0
TRUMBULL 2 0--2
Records: Staples 12-3-4; Trumbull 14-1-4. Goals: T--Zach Chase, Liam O'Sullivan. Assists: T--Keith Bond, Chase. Goalies: S--James Hickok (2 saves); T--Nick Weinstein (6 saves). Shots: S--11; T--7.