All-State Players - Luigi Cappetta '88; Eric Soares '97; Dave Forero '99; Carlos Caracas '00; Matt Gilman '02

All Over
Westies' season ends with 3-2 loss toHamden
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
HAMDEN (November 6, 2012) -
 In the end, one goal literally separated the Hamden and West Haven boys’ soccer teams. Coming into the CIAC Class LL play-in contest, both teams had the same record and had tied in the two regular season meetings this year.
With just over five minutes to go in regulation, the contest was also tied.Hamden’s Kenny Okafor made sure his Hamden team separated itself from the Westies as Okafor took a perfect pass from Martin Nunez and beat West Haven goalkeeper Dan Pendergast with 5 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in regulation to give Hamden a 3-2 victory at Hamden High Tuesday evening.
With the win, Hamden (6-7-4) advances to Class LL state tournament where the Green Dragons will travel to play top-seeded Norwalk. West Haven finishes its season at 5-8-4.
“This game could have been either way,” Hamden coach Joaquin Rodriguez said. “The third goal was big. They had us on our heels, especially that number nine (Alexis Garcia) up top.
“We have been working hard. We had a couple of hiccups during the season, but we worked hard to get here.”
The Green Dragons twice had to come back from deficits, the latter with under 12 minutes remaining in the second half. Trailing 2-1, Hamden took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the Westies to even the game with 11:31 remaining.
Ralph Grzybek fed Tristan Mahan with a perfect pass and Mahan got by theWest Haven defense. Mahan took a looping shot which went over Pendergast and into the net to even the game at 2. 
Read the rest of this article in the Post-Chronicle 
here

Moving On
Westies qualify for postseason with win over Foran
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 24, 2012) –
 Knowing one point was all that was needed to qualify for postseason play, the West Haven boys’ soccer team traveled down the road to Milford to play Foran. Battling in their first meeting against Foran, the Westies knew they were in for a battle against the Lions.
When all was said and done, West Haven qualified for postseason play. Alexis Garcia scored 3 times and West Haven defeated Foran 3-0. With the victory, West Haven improved to 5-7-4. 
"It is good to get in," West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. "We dropped down a little with our defensive play compared to years' past, but offensively, we were considerably better. 
"Alexis Garcia scored nearly as many goals this year on his own than last year's team combined. Pablo Perez was right behind him. We came into the year saying we wanted to quadruple our scoring from last year and we nearly tripled it."
After a scoreless first half, the Westies were right where they needed to be as a tie would have been good enough to qualify for the state tournament. Enter Garcia. 
The Westie sniper scored three times in the second half to single-handedly lead West Haven to the tournament. 
"We did not want to play for a tie," Leapley said. "Alexis has been playing hurt the last couple of games. He was still a little hobbled. 
"We had a talk at halftime and we told him we were putting this game on his shoulders. He took it and ran with it."
Garcia gave West Haven a 1-0 lead off an assist from Ricardo Oceguera 11 minutes, 12 seconds into the second half and increased the lead to 2-0 with an assist from George Oppong with 14:36 left in the game. A late goal with 3:44 remaining by Garcia clinched the playoff bid. 
Danny Pendergast played well in goal with 8 saves. Pendergast has been playing well at just the right time of the year. 
"He (Pendergast) was upset with his performance against Amity," Leapley said. "That game was not his fault. Our defense let him down. 
"He came out with more confidence this game and it showed. We have been waiting for the goalkeepers to separate themselves and I think we may be seeing that now."

Crushed
Westies thumped by Amity, 7-0
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WOODBRIDGE (October 22, 2012) -
 Knowing the postseason is right around the corner, the Amity boys’ soccer team wanted to work on some things leading up to the tournaments. If Monday afternoon was any indication, the Spartans are ready for the league and state tournaments.
Applying pressure from the start, Amity scored three times in the first half and cruised to a 7-0 victory over West Haven in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision game at Amity High. With the win, Amity improved to 12-1-2, while West Haven fell to 4-7-4 and needs at least a tie against Foran Wednesday evening to qualify for the state tournament.
“We are working really well together,” Amity coach Michael Marchitto said. “We did a little better today. We are playing better. We are still working on some things.”
Amity’s Joseph Guerra stepped up his game, scoring three times and assisting on another, all in the second half. Guerra’s offensive display helped turn a respectable game into a rout.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Tough Loss
Xavier uses late goal to defeat Westies
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
Senior Matt Olenick contributed to this article
(October 17, 2012) –
 The West Haven boys’ soccer team came so close to inching closer to the post season. With 13 minutes to play, the Westies were inching towards earning one point with a tie.
Just 16 seconds later, that point was wiped away. Behind a goal by Xavier’s Dan Higgins with 12 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the game, Xavier defeated West Haven 2-1 at Ken Strong Stadium.
The Westies fell to 4-6-4 and saw their window for qualifying for the postseason get a little tighter.
Just 12 minutes, 30 seconds into the second half, Xavier took a 1-0 lead as Andrew Coburn beat Jose Chankuk. George Oppong looked to even the game 10 minutes later but his bending shot from 25 yards out just missed.
West Haven finally got the equalizer with 15:28 remaining. Pablo Perez drilled a shot which hit the post from 25 yards out and the ball rolled into the back of the net to even the game at 1.
West Haven had plenty of chances in this game. While Xavier dominated the first ten minutes of the game, Alexis Garcia was denied in front with 26:29 left in the first half.
Perez shot high and wide from 35 yards out 9:06 later and Troy Consalvo was denied by Xavier goalkeeper Zach Camner from 30 yards out with 8:11 remaining in the first half.
Abdul Zachariah denied a Falcons’ goal 1:12 into the second half and Oppong did not convert for the Westies with 17:47 remaining.
Canner and Chankuk each made 4 saves in the game for their teams.

Almost There
Westies within one point of postseason after tie with Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
HAMDEN (October 15, 2012) –
 Just two days after upsetting Fairfield Prep, the West Haven boys’ soccer team knew it was a win away from the postseason. Playing a scrappy Hamden team in torrential rain was not going to be an easy chore.
When all was said and done, the Westies got one of the two points in a 2-2 tie at Hamden High. The game marked the second time the two teams played to a tie this year and the Westies saw their record move to 4-5-4.
“I thought we played well,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “Hamden always plays us tough. It is the third game in a row we played hard. We need one more point.”
Things started well for the Westies as they took a 1-0 lead 11 minutes into the contest. Sergio Gomez took a corner kick which found Kevin Ruiz in front of the Hamden goal. Ruiz, a freshman, beat Hamden goalkeeper Matt Wilson for a 1-0 West Haven lead.
“It was a nice play off the corner kick,” Leapley said. “It is a play we practice. It is nice to see someone other than Pablo (Perez) and Alexis (Garcia) score. He (Ruiz) was in the right place at the right time.”
The lead did not last long as Hamden needed just 3 minutes, 45 seconds to bang in the equalizer. Hamden’s Leo Valencia found Kenny Okafor in front of the goal and Okafor beat West Haven goalkeeper Jose Chankuk to even the game at 1.
The two teams battled for the remainder of the half in heavy rain, but neither could pull ahead. Tristan Mahan rang a shot off the post for Hamden with 17:29 to go in the half and West Haven’s Alexis Garcia and Santiago Perez each were denied from 20 yards out by Wilson in a 5 minute span.
West Haven took the lead 7:51 into the second half. Pablo Perez sent a nice pass in the direction of Garcia, who took a sliding shot which sailed under the crossbar for a 2-1 lead.
“It was a nice goal,” Leapley said.
Hamden again battled back to even the game at 2. With 20:37 remaining, Martin Nunez took a corner and Okafor was there to knock the ball past Danny Pendergast, who had replaced Chankuk to start the second half.
“We have to do a better job on our corner kicks,” Leapley said. “Either our goalkeeper has to punch the ball away or the defense needs to clear it out.”
West Haven had two more opportunities to pull out the victory but could not do so. Wilson made a diving save of a Perez shot with 16:27 remaining and Garcia missed a breakaway with 1:23 left when he just missed wide of the net. 
Chankuk and Pendergast each allowed one goal and each made 4 saves. 

Westies upset Prep
Second half goals lead WH to victory
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 13, 2012) –
 It has been quite some time since the West Haven boys’ soccer team defeated Fairfield Prep, at least 10 years according to head coach Liam Leapley. Coming off a tough loss to Jonathan Law and a tie with Notre Dame, the Westies were in desperate need of points Saturday evening.
Consider the drought over. Behind the offensive play of Alexis Garcia and Pablo Perez and the goalkeeping of Jose Chankuk, the Westies upset the Jesuits 2-1 at Ken Strong Stadium. With the win, West Haven improved to 4-5-3.
“I always knew we were a better team than the record shows,” Leapley said. “We played a gritty game. They (Fairfield Prep) let us play the way we like to play.
“It was nice to see the kids play really quickly. It was an all out defensive effort. It has been like 10 years since we beat them. I know it is my first time as head coach.”
The game did not start the way the Westies would have liked as they trailed 1-0 at the half. Austin Sims scored at the 36 minute mark for the Jesuits, sending the Westies to the half down 1-0.
“We just told the kids to start pressing them,” Leapley said. “I felt comfortable against them. Their style of play is what we aim to do. We practice it and we were prepared for what they do on offense.”
The Westies kept the pressure on in the second half and the combination of Garcia and Perez came through once again. As has been the case all year, the offensive leaders, used a nice play to even the game.
The two gave the ball to each other, then Garcia used a touch play to beat Fairfield Prep goalkeeper Will Steiner to even the game at 1 with 6 minutes, 5 seconds gone by in the second half.
“Alexis and Pablo play really well together,” Leapley said. “Alexis’ goal was a thing of beauty. He took a one touch pass from Pablo and beat the goalkeeper.”
After Garcia was denied later by Steiner, Perez got the game-winner. Awarded a penalty kick, Perez narrowly beat a diving Steiner for a 2-1 lead.
“Pablo came through,” Leapley said. “Their goalkeeper almost stopped it with a diving attempt. That was big for us.”
With the lead, all that was left was for the Westies to play solid defense in front of Chankuk. The Westies did that and Chankuk made some brilliant saves down the stretch to preserve the win.
“He (Chankuk) made some big saves for us,” Leapley said.
Chankuk finished with 12 saves in the win. 

Westies tie ND
Late heroics by Djoule knot contest
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (October 11, 2012) – 
It has been a tough week for the West Haven boys’ soccer team. Despite posting an impressive victory over East Haven, the Westies sandwiched the victory with a loss to cross-town rival Notre Dame and another setback to Jonathan Law, marking Law’s first win in 49 contests.
With the regular season coming to a close and the Westies needing to get back on track, there could have been no better opponent to get the focus back than Notre Dame once again.
In a wildly entertaining game, the Westies and Green Knights played to a 3-3 tie at Ken Strong Stadium Thursday evening.
The game, which was to give West Haven greater focus, did not start that way. The Westies came out flat and trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes of play.
“It was the worst first half we have played since our first preseason game,”West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “We came out flat. I have no idea why. We did not possess the ball like we usually do.”
West Haven (3-5-3) had been struggling to put the ball in the goal, but that all changed with 13 minutes, 4 seconds gone by in the first half as the combination of Alexis Garcia and Pablo Perez was at it again.
Garcia’s corner kick found Perez in front of the goal. Perez wasted no time drilling a shot past Notre Dame goalkeeper Tyler Fernandez to the back of the net for a 1-0 West Haven lead. 

Broken Law
Westies fall as Law picks up first win since 2008
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 9, 2012) –
 With the postseason just around the corner, the West Haven boys’ soccer team is focused on qualifying first and improving the seeding next. Tuesday night looked to be the perfect opportunity for the Westies to reach the .500 mark and add another win towards qualifying for the state tournament.
Playing a Law team which had not won since 2008 and was 0-46-2 in that stretch, the Westies could not capitalize and fell 2-1 at Ken Strong Stadium.
“Once again, we moved the ball at will and had plenty of shots,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “We could not convert. It is unbelievable. We can’t figure it out.
“I think some kids shrink from the pressure. They want Pablo (Perez) and Alexis (Garcia) to do everything and they just want to watch.”
The Westies, who fell to 3-5-2, hit the crossbar three times, while taking 25 shots. In the end, those shots were not enough as Herbie Pritchard scored with 5 minutes left in the game to give Law a 2-1 lead.
“It is extremely disappointing,” Leapley said. “That is not to take anything away from Law. They played hard.”
“Our passes were beautiful. Our plays were great. We hit the crossbar three times. We did not do the simple things like following our shots.”
Law struck first in the game as Sam DaSilva scored at the 18:15 mark off a penalty kick to give Law a 1-0 lead at the half. Despite the shot barrage,West Haven trailed entering the final 40 minutes.
Pablo Perez and Alexis Garcia, as they have all year, came through for the Westies. Garcia set up Perez in the final 10 minutes as Perez scored the equalizer with 8:45 remaining to even the game at 1.
“Pablo Perez and Alexis Garcia played hard,” Leapley said. “Some of the kids are enamored with watching them.
“I think George Oppong played very well all night. He hit the crossbar as well.”
Jose Chankuk made 2 saves in the loss for West Haven. 

West beats East
Perez and Garcia lead Westies past EH, 4-0
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
Senior Matt Olenick contributed to this article
(October, 5, 2012) –
 West Haven coach Liam Leapley was none too pleased following West Haven’s loss to cross-town rival Notre Dame this week. Feeling his team left way too many scoring opportunities on the field, Leapley was looking for his team to play much better Friday evening against East Haven.
Consider Leapley’s wish granted. Behind two goals apiece from Alexis Garcia and Pablo Perez, the Westies scored four times in the second half to defeat East Haven 4-0.
"We played much better," Leapley said. "We played phenomenal. We dominated from start to finish and that is one thing we have not done all year. The kids saw if we shoot, good things happen. They (East Haven) barely touched the ball all game."
With the victory, West Haven improved to 3-4-2 and snapped a two-game losing streak.
After a scoreless first half which saw Troy Consalvo hit the crossbar with 17 minutes, 23 seconds remaining, the Westies struck early in the second half.
Perez got things going for the Westies when he drilled a shot past East Haven goalkeeper Gennaro Gagliardi for a 1-0 lead 3:26 into the second half. The goal by Perez broke the scoring seal and got the Westies headed in the right direction.
After junior goalkeeper Jose Chankuk made a save 9 minutes into the second half and East Haven shot over the goal from 15 yards out 7:25 later,West Haven finally got some breathing room.
Garcia scored off a rebound with 17:10 left, drilling a shot to the top right corner past Gagliardi for a 2-0 lead.
Just 1:40 later, Garcia was at it again. His line drive over Gagliardi from 30 yards out gave West Haven a 3-0 lead before Perez capped the scoring with 30 seconds remaining in the game. 
"He (Garcia) says he doesn't like the easy goals," Leapley said. "He scored from 30 yards out on an absolute rocket. Their goalkeeper was pretty good and he had no chance."
Consalvo’s free kick from 30 yards out went right to Perez at the goal line and Perez easily tapped in West Haven’s final goal of the game. 
"I am not happy with our record but I am happy where we are compared to last year," Leapley said. "Our record is not indicative of our team. We are in better position than last year.
"We are hoping to get a couple more wins under our belt. Getting into the first round is not good enough. We want to get more wins and get some confidence going in."
The Westies had opportunities in the first half, but could not capitalize. Garcia’s cross to Perez was headed by Perez but cleared away by the East Haven defense 8 minutes in.
Garcia shot wide from 15 yards out 9:40 later and Gagliardi made a diving save of a Perez shot from 25 yards out with 12:54 to go in the first half. George Oppong also had a scoring opportunity, but nailed a shot from 35 yards out wide to the left late in the half.
Chankuk made 4 saves in the win.

BOYS SOCCER 2012

WestieBlue

THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS

ND too much for Westies
Robinson scores 3 times in Green Knights’ win
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (October 3, 2012) -
 When the Notre Dame and West Haven boys’ soccer teams square off, the contest is usually a defensive battle. So it came as a bit of a surprise when three goals were scored in a span of 6 minutes of the opening half.
When all was said and done, Notre Dame had a little too much offense for the Westies as the Green Knights prevailed 4-1 at Veterans Stadium in West Haven Wednesday afternoon.
“Early in the season, we have been giving up goals in the first four or five minutes,” Notre Dame coach Rudy Raffone said after his team improved to 2-3-3. “When we did not do that and scored in the first fifteen minutes, I think that gave us confidence.”
Notre Dame senior Mark Robinson was the story of the game for the Green Knights as he scored three goals and assisted on another. Robinson’s efforts were too much for the Westies to overcome.
“He has trained so hard,” Raffone said of Robinson. “He has responded to what we tell him. He was a midfielder for us for three years and now we are asking him to score goals.”
The game started quickly and never slowed down. The Green Knights had the first quality scoring chance and capitalized 11 minutes, 30 seconds into the game. Robinson took a feed from freshman Alex Mathews and put Notre Dame on the board when he beat West Haven goalkeeper Danny Pendergast.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Westies fall to Xavier
Falcons drop Westies to 2-3-2
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 1, 2012) –
 The West Haven boys’ soccer team traveled toMiddletown with hopes of knocking off Xavier. In an all too familiar contest, missed opportunities and defensive lapses hurt the Westies in a 4-1 loss Monday afternoon.
“We had some defensive breakdowns,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “We are injured a little too. Alexis (Garcia) was hurt with about 20 minutes left in the second half.
“They (Xavier) are good. I thought we played really well most of the game.”
The Westies could not contain Wes Reid who scored twice in the game. A goal by Alexis Garcia early in the second half off an assist from Ricardo Oceguera got West Haven within 2-1 but the Westies never got closer.
Brett Mooney had a goal and an assist, Andrew Coburn had two assists, and Dan Higgins added an assist in the win for the Falcons.
Zac Camner made 5 saves in the win for Xavier.  Danny Pendergast made 8 saves in the loss for West Haven.

Fit to be Tied
Westies miss opportunities in tie with Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (September 29, 2012) –
 Looking at West Haven boys’ soccer coach Liam Leapley following Saturday evening’s contest against Hamden, one would have thought the Westies were defeated. While this was not the case, Leapley and his squad did not win either.
Using a second half goal by Alexis Garcia and the play of goalkeeper Danny Pendergast, the Westies and Hamden played to a 1-1 tie at Ken Strong Stadium.
With the tie, Hamden improved to 3-2-1, while West Haven fell to 2-2-2.
“It was a battle,” Hamden coach Joaquin Rodriguez said. “The teams are evenly matched. A tie is not a bad thing for us. It is a rebuilding year. We are taking it one game at a time.”
Rodriguez and his team may have been happy to leave West Haven with a tie but Leapley did not share the same sentiments. The West Haven coach was not happy with the goal his team allowed and also felt the Westies missed too many scoring opportunities.
“The first ten minutes of the game we give them a goal,” Leapley said. “We did not clear the ball and their guy takes the ball off our foot. Danny (Pendergast) had no shot. All of our goals allowed lately have been gift goals.”
The goal Leapley is referring to came in the seventh minute of the contest.Hamden’s Tristan Mahan picked up the West Haven turnover and easily beat Pendergast from in close for a 1-0 lead. 
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Westies fall to Prep
Jesuits too much in 5-0 lossBy MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 25, 2012) –
 West Haven coach Liam Leapley and his team were eagerly awaiting Tuesday afternoon’s matchup against Fairfield Prep. Considered one of the best teams in the league this year, the Jesuits would offer a measuring stick to where the Westies stood right now.
Knowing the Jesuits had not allowed a goal this season, the Westies looked to be the first to score against Fairfield Prep and the first to give the Jesuits a loss.
After a complete effort by West Haven, it is clear the Westies have some work to do to reach the next level. Behind two goals apiece from Dave Bigley and Bryce Keblish, the Jesuits defeated the Westies 5-0.
"They are really good," Leapley said. "The score does not show the game. It was very competitive. We missed a couple of chances and made some mistakes which hurt."
The Westies had early scoring opportunities but did not capitalize. Those chances could have turned the game around. 
Five minutes into the game, Fred DaSilva had a breakaway but could not get the shot past Fairfield Prep goalkeeper Will Steiner. Shortly after, Alexis Garcia missed wide of the net. 
"We had opportunities early," Leapley said. "I am happy with the effort. We played one of our better games of the season. 
"We gave up one legitimate goal. The other goals were off defensive mistakes. When they had opportunities to score, they put it in the back of the net. It was split possession wise. We were able to move the ball on them but we did not take advantage."
With the loss, West Haven fell to 2-2-1, while the Jesuits improved to 4-0-1.
Fairfield Prep set the tone of the game early, scoring four times in the first half. Just seven minutes into the game, David Bruton put the Jesuits in front and Fairfield Prep never looked back.
Grayson Barlow set up Bigley 18 minutes later and Bigley beat Danny Pendergast for a 2-0 lead. The Jesuits kept attacking and again scored nine minutes later.
Keblish scored off an assist from Blake Roberts for a 3-0 lead and added another tally 4 minutes later to end any hope of a West Haven comeback. Roberts picked up his second assist of the game on the goal.
Fairfield Prep iced the game in the second half with a goal at the 41 minute mark. Roberts’ third assist of the game set up Bigley for the 5-0 advantage.
"We gave up a goal in the first ten seconds of the second half," Leapley said. They are a good team. There is no doubt about it. When you lose 5-0, you think they killed us. But, that was not the case."
Pendergast made 4 saves in the loss for West Haven. Steiner also made 4 saves in the shutout for Fairfield Prep.

Westies slip by Law
Goals by Garcia and Perez pace Westies
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 21, 2012) –
 The West Haven boys’ soccer team can consider itself fortunate. Despite missing numerous scoring opportunities, West Haven was able to defeat Jonathan Law, 2-0, Friday afternoon in Milford.
Goals by Alexis Garcia and Pablo Perez were more than enough to help West Haven improve to 2-1-1 but head coach Liam Leapley was disappointed in how many chances went by without the Westies capitalizing.
“We had a good result, but it was more of the same,” Leapley said. “We had numerous scoring opportunities.
“We are just not capitalizing. We did what we wanted to do, but we did not finish. We moved the ball well.”
Garcia gave the Westies a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Perez gave Garcia a perfect cross and Garcia volleyed the cross into the net for a goal.
Perez had a chance to increase the lead but shot wide from in close. Less then 30 seconds later, Perez atoned when he took a corner kick from Ricardo Oceguera and headed a shot in for a 2-0 lead.
“They (Garcia and Perez) have been able to work some magic together,” Leapley said. “They have gotten each other involved. Ricardo (Oceguera) and Jesus (Morales) had good opportunities. We moved the ball around well. We had a good start but did not finish.
“I am still concerned with the defense. We use a zone defense and we are fine with the concept in practice but in the game, we drift away to a hybrid man-to-man zone which is a concern.”
The Westies had numerous scoring opportunities go to waste. Santiago Perez could not convert a penalty kick, Garcia had near misses and Pablo Perez had a pair of scoring opportunities he did not capitalize on.
Danny Pendergast was forced to make just one save in recording the shutout.
“He (Pendergast) positioned himself much better,” Leapley said. “He was not challenged. He had no problems where he needed to be. He played smart.”
With the second win of the year, West Haven is already ahead of its pace of last year.
“I am happy, but we should be better,” Leapley said. “I honestly feel we have had the two best players on the field in all four games. 
"We have played with control and poise in all four games. I wish we had better results in two of the games. We can do a lot better. There is room for improvement."

Westies fall to Amity
Spartans hand WH first loss of year
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 19, 2012) –
 With a win and a tie to start the season, the West Haven boys’ soccer team was looking to extend the quick start Wednesday evening. Playing against a tough Amity team, the Westies knew they would be in for a battle.
The Westies were correct as Amity used a goal with less than 20 minutes remaining in regulation to defeat West Haven 2-1 at Ken Strong Stadium. The loss dropped West Haven to 1-1-1 on the year.
“They are a good team,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “They played well. It is tough because each game we have played, we have had the best two players on the field in Pablo (Perez) and Alexis (Garcia).
“We had opportunities but did not finish. We were in the box but Pablo could not get a shot as we made one too many moves.”
Amity got on the board first as Joseph Guerra beat West Haven goalkeeper Danny Pendergast in the first half. That lead would remain for Amity until 2 minutes, 47 seconds remained in the first half.
Pablo Perez evened the game as he scored off a penalty kick for the Westies.
“I feel like the skill level is there,” Leapley said. “I am happy with the way we have played. We just have to play a little smarter.
“We had a couple of opportunities in the very beginning of the game. We had a direct kick that we crossed on and we had corners we did not execute. I am not questioning their heart and ability. We just are not playing very smart right now.”
With West Haven not capitalizing on its scoring chances, Amity took the lead for good with 19:55 remaining in the game. A defensive lapse led to Richard Mayer beating Pendergast for a 2-1 lead. 
"I thought he (Pendergast) played well," Leapley said. "He made a couple of big saves. The first goal was to the near post, but he stopped a breakaway. I was happy with his performance. His confidence picked up as the game went on."






































Alexis Garcia scored the only goal of the game for West Haven against East Haven, September 14, 2012. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

Fit to be Tied
Westies start season 1-0-1
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 14, 2012) –
 If there is any team which knows a thing or two about tie games over the last two seasons, it is the West Haven boys soccer team. Finishing with five ties last season, the Westies narrowly missed playing in the postseason.
With an eye on the state tournament right from the start, West Haven has started the season in fine fashion. The Westies opened the season with a home win over Foran and were looking to do the same when the team traveled to East Haven Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately for the Westies, they could not take home the victory. Using a goal by Alexis Garcia, his second of the year, West Haven played to a 1-1 tie with the Yellow Jackets. 
"We played really well," West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. "We did not convert our open opportunities. We hit the post. We had possession 70 to 80 percent of the game. You have to win that game. It is  a game we should have won.
"I think we should have four points right now, especially possessing the way we did. I hope that does not come back to haunt us."
Garcia got the Westies on the scoreboard at the nine minute mark of the second half when he scored off an assist from George Oppong. 
"The goal was amazing," Leapley said. "George gave him a nice ball and Alexis went high in the air to get it and headed it down. Not a lot of kids can do that.
"He (Garcia) has been a gift. He is a great kid. He works so hard. He has left a couple goals out there. He could have four right now. He has had some opportunities. He works hard."
The lead lasted for 23 minutes. East Haven used a late goal by Brian Lucero off a penalty kick to even the game and the game remained tied as West Haven moved to 1-0-1.
"We had an 18-2 shot advantage and their two shots were a direct kick and a penalty kick," Leapley said. "I am happy compared to last year. We have a lot of options this year. Some kids can play multiple positions. It is a matter of finding the right combination. They all hustle. They are very close and they all get along."
Daniel Pendergast did not have to make a save in the first half while Jose Chankuk made one save in the second half.

Quick Start
Westies defeat Foran 2-0 in season opener
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(WEST HAVEN) SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 –
 West Haven coach Liam Leapley knows if his team is to be successful in 2012, the Westies will need to put the ball in back of the net on a more consistent basis than last year. Averaging less than a goal a game in 2011, the Westies failed to make the state tournament.
If Tuesday night was any indication, things may be changing for the Westies. Second half goals by Alexis Garcia and Pablo Perez helped the Westies to a 2-0 victory over Foran of Milford in the season opener for both teams at Ken Strong Stadium.
“I was happy with the way we possessed the ball all game,” Leapley said. “I thought we outpossessed them.
“I think tonight can be a great building block. We could have had more. This is a new team with a new attitude.”
After failing to finish some golden opportunities in the first half, the Westies took the lead for good in the second half, scoring twice in a span of 2 minutes, 41 seconds.
After a turnover by the Lions, Ricardo Oceguera fed Garcia, who broke past the defense. Garcia broke up the middle of the field and used his right foot to beat Foran goalkeeper Adnan Redzepagic for a 1-0 lead with 9:12 gone by in the second half.
Less than three minutes later, the Westies were in control. Troy Consalvo fed Perez in front and Perez did the rest, beating Redzepagic with 28:07 remaining in regulation.
“This team gets along great,” Leapley said. “They are unselfish, sometimes too unselfish.”
The Westies also played well on defense, limiting Foran to just three shots on goal in the game. Consalvo made a great defensive play with 20:22 remaining when he cleared a loose ball from the crease.
“The defense played well,” Leapley said. “There are still some kinks to work out. The defense has been the staple the last few years. Hopefully, the offense is catching up.”
The game saw Foran control possession in the first 18 minutes of the contest but the Lions were only able to put one shot on goal in the first half.
“I thought we controlled play early in the game,” Foran coach Rick DiStefano said. “We can possess the ball really well. We did not transition that into scoring opportunities.”
The Westies had scoring opportunities in the first half as well. Frederico Dasilva shot wide from 30 yards out 15 minutes in and Garcia’s looping shot towards an open net sailed wide with 18 minutes remaining in the half.
West Haven’s best opportunity came with 6:59 remaining in the half as Garcia shot wide of an open net from an angle ten yards out.
West Haven’s Jose Chankuk made one save in the first half and Daniel Pendergast made two saves in the second half.






































West Haven tri-captain Troy Consalvo. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

High Hopes
Westies looking for more offense in 2012
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
When the West Haven boys’ soccer team stepped on the field for its first practice of the 2012 season, the task at hand was simple. Coming off a season in which the Westies finished 2-7-5, basic math dictates why the Westies were left out of the postseason.
In 14 games last season, West Haven scored just 11 goals, which amounts to less than a goal a game. With an offense like that, it is and was very tough to win games.
Coach Liam Leapley hopes this year is quite the opposite. With plenty of depth on the team, Leapley is hoping for better results throughout the lineup.
“The schedule will hopefully help us this year,” Leapley said. “There are a lot of new coaches so we will see different things. We have not played Foran before so it will be interesting to see them. East Haven has a new coach. Also, our division is so hard.
“I like the team. We are young, but we are mature for our age. All the kids get along. They all try hard. They are high effort kids. They are all good kids. All they want to do is win. They all do it the right way.”
While the Westies struggled on offense last season, defense was one of the bright spots and will need to be once again. With a new goalkeeper in place, every aspect of the game will need to be on its game.
Leading the way for West Haven will be tri-captains Abdul Zachariah, Santiago Perez and Troy Consalvo. Zachariah and Perez are seniors with Zachariah playing defense and Perez at midfield. Consalvo, a junior, will join Zachariah on defense.
“We need to have team play,” Leapley said. “We are looking at having a balanced attack. This is a good group of kids. I am lucky to have that two years in a row.
“They want to be around. Hopefully, we can turn this around, get to the state tournament and go deep into the tournament.”
Leapley also has key returning players in junior midfielder Pablo Perez and senior defender Fred Dasilva. The West Haven coach has praised Pablo Perez, stating he looks good early.
West Haven will also get a lift on the offensive side as senior Alexis Garcia will play forward in his first season with the team. According to Leapley, Garcia is a “very skilled player who always tries hard.” Along with Pablo Perez, Garcia will be counted on to put the ball in the back of the net.
West Haven will also have a new goalkeeper in 2012. With John Matrisciano gone to graduation, junior Jose Chankuk and sophomore Danny Pendergast will battle for the starting spot in goal.
“The key for us is we need to continue to work hard,” Leapley said. “We need to support each other and finish with goals. We need to find the back of the net. We need to quadruple our goal total from last year.
“If we can do that, we will be okay. We were anemic on offense last year. The defense was strong, but the offense was weak. Our play within the eighteen needs to improve.”
Along with Matrisciano, West Haven lost Marco Olmeda, Jorge Ardon, Kelvin Toledo, Jesse Suraci, Faidal Somda, Casey Lombardi and Nick Estrada to graduation. Jose Marcos would have been a senior but decided not to return to the team.