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Pablo Perez (l.) and George Oppong (11) did not have much to celebrate as West Haven fell in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament to Guilford, 1-0, Tuesday, November 5, 2013. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
End of the Road
Westies fall to Guilford in state opener
By MIKE MADERA
GUILFORD (November 5, 2013) – Guilford coach Joe Maher considers his team fortunate to be advancing in the CIAC Class LL state tournament. The coach and the team have Nate Wilson and Sal Nasr to thank for that.
Behind 10 saves from Wilson and Nasr’s first half goal, No. 14 Guilford defeated No. 19 West Haven in the first round of the state tournament Tuesday evening at BittnerPark in Guilford.
With the win, Guilford improves to 12-6-2 and advances to second round action at No. 3 Ridgefield Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.. West Haven finishes its season 7-6-4.
“They made a great push in the second half,” Maher said of West Haven. “They had two chances which we were able to stop and we scored early when they could not hold on to the ball. We have had trouble scoring all year. West Haven put on a clinic in the second half.”
Trailing 1-0, the Westies were all over the Indians in the second half, which was a vast contrast from the fist half where Guilford controlled play.
Read the rest of this article at GameTimeCt.com here
George Oppong (11) and the Westies had their opportunities but could not convert in a 1-0 loss to Guilford in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 5, 2013. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Two late goals rally Westies past Foran
By MIKE MADERA
(October 23, 2013) – Having lost to Sheehan two days earlier, the West Haven boys’ soccer team did not want to enter the postseason with a two-game losing streak. Thanks to a pair of late goals, the Westies will not have to do so.
Goals by Pablo Perez and Ulises Hernandez 4 minutes apart, the latter with three minutes remaining in the game, gave the Westies a 4-3 win over the Lions. The win allows West Haven to improve to 7-5-4 and rest for the state tournament.
“It was a good win for us,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “It was a good way to end the season. The game was eerily similar to the first time we played them. We gave them a big lead and came back.
“This is a huge win. Every game we have played in, we feel we could have won. The Sheehan loss was tough. Sheehan played well, but we had opportunities and we did not do it. They played really good soccer.”
West Haven’s Pablo Perez was involved in all four West Haven goals with one goal and three assists in what could be his final game at Ken Strong Stadium.
“Pablo had a huge game,” Leapley said of the senior. “He was beating five players at a time. He literally beat half the team on a cross to George (Oppong).”
Perez helped West Haven strike first in the game when he sent a perfect cross to George Oppong, who used a bicycle kick to score the first goal.
Julian Yuliawan, who had three goals for the Lions, scored the next two goals to give Foran a 2-1 lead. Perez set up Oppong again for the equalizer, but Yuliawan’s third of the game gave Foran a 3-2 lead at the half.
The Lions made the lead hold up until the final 7 minutes of the game. Oppong set up Perez with the equalizer, before Perez fed Ulises Hernandez with the eventual winner four minutes later.
Tim Orozco made 7 saves in the loss for Foran, while Jose Chankuk (3 saves) and Dan Prendergast (3 saves) combined in the win.
WH falls to Sheehan
Late goal propels Titans
By MIKE MADERA
(October 21, 2013) – With one game remaining in the regular season, West Havenboys’ soccer coach Liam Leapley is a bit disappointed. The reason is Leapley and his team had a goal of running the table without a loss for a better seed in the state tournament. .
The goal never came to fruition as the Westies missed several quality scor9ing opportunities and fell to the Titans, 1-0, at Ken Strong Stadium Monday evening.
“They (Sheehan) have gotten a lot better,” Leapley said. “But, it was the story of the season for us. The only team which can beat us we feel is us.
“We leave way too many goals on the field and not in back of the net. We do not have that killer instinct.”
The Westies certainly had their chances, but never capitalized. Blaise Haba was denied on a pair of breakaways and George Oppong hit the post early.
“George nearly scored in the first five minutes of the game,” Leapley said. “We had our chances. We just didn’t score.
“I am very disappointed. We got off to such a great start. We want to go into the tournament with some momentum. Hopefully with Senior Night (Wednesday) we get the win and send the seniors off in style. The game is very important seeding wise. We feel we are one of the better teams in LL. You would not know it with our inconsistent play.”
Andrew Kaplan scored the lone goal of the game for the Titans as he beat West Havengoalkeeper Dan Prendergast in the 66th minute for a 1-0 lead.
Prendergast finished with 11 saves in the loss.
Pablo Perez (10) makes a double move before scoring against Jonathan Law, October 19, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Back on Track
WH improves to 6-4-4 with win over Law
By MIKE MADERA
(October 19, 2013) – After losing two straight games, including one to cross-town rival Notre Dame, the West Haven boys’ soccer team was looking to get on the right track.
More important for the Westies, they wanted to win out in the final three games to possibly get a home game. Step one was completed Saturday afternoon.
Led by two goals and one assist from Pablo Perez, West Haven defeated Jonathan Law 4-0 at Ken Strong Stadium. With the win, West Haven improved to 6-4-4 on the year.
“It is nice to get a win after last week,” West Haven assistant coach Ray Guarino said as he took the place of head coach Liam Leapley who missed the contest. “It was a nice win.”
The Westies set the tone of the game early as they scored twice in the game’s first five minutes and never looked back.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead just 1 minute, 49 seconds into the game when Perez rang a shot off the crossbar. The rebound went to Ulises Hernadez who found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Ulises Hernandez scores against Jonathan Law, October 19, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Just 2:35 later, West Haven led 2-0. Austin Kozak set up Perez for the second goal of the game 4:24 in.
Perez put the game away with 25:37 left in the first half. The Westie sniper snuck by the Law defense, made a deke one way and shot the other for a 3-0 lead.
Pablo Perez makes a move before scoring his first goal of the game against Jonathan Law, October 19, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We started off the game well,” Guarino said. “Ulises had a great goal off a rebound off the crossbar and Pablo made a great move to score.”
The Westies closed the scoring with 18:20 remaining in the game. Set up by Jonathan Ortiz, the ball found its way to Blaise Haba out front and Haba easily scored for the fourth goal of the game.
Blaise Haba celebrates his goal against Jonathan Law, October 19, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We want to get to 8-4-4,” Guarino said. “That gives us 20 points and possibly a home game. That’s what we are looking to do.”All three West Haven goaltenders saw game action as Dan Prendergast and Jose Chankuk each made two saves and Garfield Robinson made three saves.
Dan Prendergast makes the save as Ray Mayberry (23) and Jovanni Ramirez (24) look on, October 17, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall to ND
Green Knights win 2-1 to inch closer to postseason
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 17, 2013) - Notre Dame coach Rudy Raffone Jr. did not feel safe with a one-goal lead to start the second half against cross-town rival West Haven. Needing three points to qualify for the state tournament, Notre Dame responded.
Just 11 seconds into the second half, Ryan Gannon beat West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast and the Green Knights defeated West Haven 2-1 at Veterans Field on Senior Day Thursday afternoon.
Kevin Ruiz with a header against Notre Dame, October 17, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the victory, Notre Dame improved to 4-6-4 and needs just a tie in either of its final two road contests against Amity and Guilford. West Haven, who already qualified for the postseason, fell to 5-4-4.
“That was a great goal,” Raffone said. “We finally put one in. Give credit to West Haven. They kept on coming.
“We need one point against two good LL teams in Amity and Guilford. We will not play for a tie, but we will take one.”The second half goal by Gannon was one of beauty as it came off the opening tap. Alexander Ossa sent a perfect lead to Gannon, who tapped the ball across his body past Prendergast to the left corner of the goal.
Pablo Perez was held scoreless against Notre Dame, October 17, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read the rest of this article at GameTimeCT.com here
Falcons tip Westies
West Haven falls 2-1 to Xavier
By MIKE MADERA
(October 15, 2013) – After qualifying for the postseason this past weekend, West Haven coach Liam Leapley and his team had other goals on their minds. For the West Haven leader and his squad, the top priority was getting as many points as possible to get a higher seeding in the state tournament.
The Westies were presented with a tough challenge Tuesday evening when they hosted Xavier. While the Westies played well, the Falcons clinched the Quinnipiac Division title with a 2-1 victory at Ken Strong Stadium.
"We played very well," West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. "Xavier is a very good team and we played well. It was nice to watch."
Joe Zacchia proved to be the difference in the game for Xavier as he scored twice in the first half, including once with a penalty kick.
Zacchia sandwiched his goals around a tally from George Oppong, who scored off an assist from Ulises Hernandez.
West Haven trailed 2-1 at the half and that was the way the game ended, despite the Westies having 10 shots on goal.Xavier improved to 10-0-3 with the win, while West Haven dropped to 5-3-4.
Blaise Haba scores against East Haven, October 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies pound East Haven
Perez, Haba, Hernandez key to WH victory
By MIKE MADERA
(October 12, 2013) – The West Haven boys’ soccer team is going to the postseason. With a 7-0 victory over East Haven Saturday afternoon at Ken Strong Stadium, the Westies improved to 5-2-4 and qualified for a postseason berth.
West Haven got goals from six different players, scored four times in the first half and never looked back in the easy win.
Selim Turkmen with a header against East Haven, October 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It is great," West Haven coach Liam Leapley said of qualifying for the postseason. "Hopefully, it is just the start. We want to solidify our spot. We want to be in the top ten in the sttae. Other than Xavier who took it to us, we have been in every game so far."
The Westies, who took 23 shots in the game, started scoring early and never looked back.
George Oppong scores against East Haven, October 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kevin Ruiz set up George Oppong 7 minutes in for a 1-0 lead and Hicham Lkhal fed Austin Kozak for Kozak’s first career varsity goal 10 minutes later for a 2-0 lead.
West Haven extended the lead to 4-0 with a pair of goals in the final seven minutes of the opening half. Ulises Hernandez scored off an assist from Pablo Perez with 8 minutes to go in the half and Haba set up Ruiz in the final minute to send the Westies to the break up four goals.
Austin Kozak (center) celebrates his first career varsity goal against East Haven, October 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It was great to score early," Leapley said. "It took the pressure off. We moved the ball around. We let the ball do the work."
The second half was more of the same for the Westies as Perez was at the center of all three goals.
West Haven scored three times in five minutes to put the contest away as Haba scored 13 minutes in off an assist from Perez. Perez scored unassisted three minutes later, before Hernandez scored off an assist from Perez with 22 minutes remaining.
Kevin Ruiz scores against East Haven, October 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It was a complete effort," Leapley said. "We were not tired after the game. It was a total team effort. We did on offense what we practiced."
Jose Chankuk made three saves in the shutout for West Haven.
Hamden ties Westies
WH can not hold two-goal lead
By MIKE MADERA
(October 11, 2013) – The West Haven boys’ soccer team had everything going for it Friday afternoon. With 15 minutes remaining in the contest, the Westies led by two goals against Hamden.
Sparked by an Alejandro Perez goal, Hamden scored twice in the final 15 minutes and tied West Haven at 2.
"I am disappointed," West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. "We had quite a few opportunities and we shot right at the goalkeeper.
"We played well. We were down four starters as we were a little beat up in the Fairfield Prep game. I was very happy with most of the game, but we fell apart in the final 15 minutes."
West Haven (4-2-4) took a 1-0 lead in the first half as Pablo Perez set up Ulises Hernandez for the initial goal. The Westies increased the lead to 2-0 in the second half when Pablo Perez scored in the second half.
Garfield Robinson, playing for an injured Dan Prendergast, made 8 saves in the draw.
"I thought Garfield played great in the first half," Leapley said of Robinson. "He came out too far twice in the second half."
Congratulations to Pablo Perez on being named the 2013 Southern Connecticut Conference Player of the Year. Perez and George Oppong were also named to the SCC All-Quinnipiac Division team.
Jesuits shut out Westies, 1-0
By MIKE MADERA
(October 9, 2013) – The last time West Haven and Fairfield Prep met, the two teams played a highly entertaining game in a draw. Wednesday afternoon was much of the same, but this time there was a winner.
Using a goal by Jack Oricolli off an assist from Mike Infante late in the second half, the Jesuits defeated the Westies 1-0.
"We played well," West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. "The game went back and forth. They scored with 7 minutes left."
The loss snapped a two-game stretch with a win and a tie as the Westies worked hard throughout but fell short.
"I thought we played with a lot of heart," Leapley said. "We lost Serrgio (Gomez) earlier in the game with an injury.
"Albert (Afful) had a good chance that went wide in the first half. In the second half, we had a corner kick. Selim (Turkmen) shot it at him. They were able to keep us out of the goal."
Fairfield Prep held a 12-1 shot advantage in the win, with Dan Prendergast making 11 saves for the Westies in the loss.
"I thought we played very well," Leapley said. "We had a game plan going in and we executed it well.
"We want to get a couple of more wins and get going again. We need one more win to qualify."
WH improves to 4-1-3 with 6-2 win over Law
By MIKE MADERA
(October 4, 2013) - Just one season ago, the West Haven boys' soccer team struggled to finish plays. While the team has left some goals on the field in 2013, the final results have been much different.
With a convincing 6-2 victory over Jonathan Law in Milford Friday afternoon, West Haven improved to 4-1-3 on the season, inching closer to its goal of playing in the postseason.
"We played pretty good," Leapley said. "We were down a couple of starters with injuries. We had some people step up. We moved the ball well. I was happy with that.
"I thought we should have been up more than 2-1 at the half. I told them I wanted them to put in more goals in the second half and they did."
The Westies had contributions from different players as Pablo Perez scored twice and added an assist, Sebastian Parra had two goals, George Oppong added two assists and Jesus Morales had a goal and an assist.
The Westies started the scoring in the game off a corner kick four minutes in as Perez scored off an assist from Blaise Haba.
After Law's Herbie Pritchard evened the game eight minutes later, West Haven took a 2-1 lead with 16 minutes to go in the half as Parra scored off an assist from Perez.
The Westies scored three goals in nine minutes of the second half to put the game away. Oppong set up Parra eight minutes in, then set up Morales six minutes later. When Morales set up Perez three minutes after his goal, the Westies had their fifth goal of the game.
Selim Turkmen scored West Haven's final goal.
"We mixed and matched defensively," Leapley said. "Mike Smith stepped up and played a really good game. He is playing really well."
Dan Prendergast played the first half and made one save, while also allowing a goal. Jose Chankuk played the second half, making one save and alllowing a goal.
All Tied Up
Haba nets equalizer late in 1-1 draw with ND
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 1, 2013) – Both the West Haven and Notre Dame soccer teams will replay numerous squandered opportunities in their heads. With both squads failing to capitalize throughout the night, the Green Knights and Westies played to a 1-1 draw at Ken Strong Stadium Tuesday evening.
For the Green Knights (1-3-3), it was a case of a missed defensive assignment on a corner kick, which allowed the Westies to even the game late in the second half, and three scoring chances which went wide in the latter part of the game.
For the Westies (3-1-3), it was a rebound goal for the Green Knights and an abundance of shots which either sailed high or wide which will be thought about all night long.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Pablo Perez and the Westies fell to Xavier, 4-0, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
WH falls to Xavier
Westies suffer first loss of season
By MIKE MADERA
(September 27, 2013) – After opening the season with three wins and a two ties, the West Haven boys' soccer team suffered its first setback of the season Friday afternoon. Traveling to play Xavier, the Westies fell to the Falcons, 4-0, to drop to 3-1-2 on the year.
Just five minutes into the game, the Westies were in trouble as the Falcons led 1-0 after three minutes and 2-0 after five minutes. Xavier scored on its first three shots of the contest.
"They outplayed us in every aspect of the game," West Haven assistant coach Ray Guarino said. "It was an hour and 15 minute bus ride. The game started 15 minutes later. We were not ready to play.
"After they scored twice early, it was pretty tough. It made for a long Friday afternoon in Portland, Connecticut."
Dan Prendergast finished with 5 saves, while Jose Chankuk made 2 saves in the loss for West Haven.
Hicham Lkhal (6), goalkeeper Dan Prendergast (c.) and Albert Afful (28) work to keep Xavier from scoring, September 27, 2013. Photo courtest of Todd Dandelske.
Daniel Acosta moves the ball against Xavier, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Second half goal by Perez leads WH to 3-1 win over Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 25, 2013) – Hamden coach Joaquin Rodriguez wanted to keep West Haven sniper Pablo Perez from getting any shots in the second half of a tie game. For the most part, Hamden did a good job as Perez had only two quality shots in the final 40 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Green Dragons, one of those shots by Perez proved to be the game-winner as West Haven defeated Hamden 3-1 Wednesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
Perez took a perfect feed from Kevin Ruiz and drilled a shot past Hamden goalkeeper Matt Wilson to the top shelf with 17 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the game to give West Haven a 2-1 lead.
“We played smarter in the second half,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said after his team improved to 3-0-2. “We did not move the ball in the first half. That was our biggest problem.
“Pablo did a nice job. We got him the ball and he took a nice shot. That was big for us."
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Prep knots Westies
Late goal earns tie for Jesuits
By MIKE MADERA
(September 23, 2013) – West Haven boys’ soccer coach Liam Leapley was well aware the next handful of games would prove to be a test for his soccer team. If Monday evening’s game was any indication, the Westies are up to the challenge.
Behind two goals from Pablo Perez, the Westies played to a 2-2 tie with Fairfield Prep. The tie allowed West Haven to improve to 2-0-2 early in the season.
Fairfield Prep had the advantage in shots, 12-8, but the game was in West Haven’s hands early in the second half.
Tied at one, West Haven’s Perez gave the team a 2-1 lead just 10 minutes into the second half. The goal by Perez was his second of the game and had West Haven in position to pull the upset.
That upset never came about as Prep’s Mike Infante scored 10 minutes later to even the game at two, where it remained through 80 minutes of play.
The Jesuits scored first in the contest when Aidan Bracken assisted on Chris Montani’s goal for a 1-0 lead 17 minutes into the game.
Montani’s goal held up until the final 13 minutes of the first half as George Oppong set up Perez with the equalizer.Dan Prendergast made five saves in the tie for West Haven.
Westies roll over Easties
Perez scores twice in 5-0 win
By MIKE MADERA
(September 20, 2013) – West Haven coach Liam Leapley did not feel his team played its best soccer Friday evening. While defeating East Haven 5-0, Leapley is still looking for improvements from his team.
“I like the result, but it was not our best play,” Leapley said after his team improved to 2-0-1. “It was the opposite of usual. We finished, but our combo play was not as good as usual.”
Pablo Perez continued his stellar season with five more points as he scored twice an added an assist. Hicham Lkhal, Blaise Haba and Jesus Morales also scored in the win.
The West Haven defense did its part as well in allowing just six shots. Dan Prendergast and Garfield Robinson combined on the shutout as Prendergast made six saves and Robinson did not have to make any in the win.
“We have started off fast before then faded,” Leapley said. “I would like to finish strong. We have a lot of work to do before that.”
The Westies took control of the game, scoring twice in the first half for a 2-0 lead. Perez drilled home a perfect shot off a direct kick for the first tally before he sent a perfect pass to Lkhal for a 2-0 lead.
“Pablo played really well,” Leapley said. “I thought he was a little out of sorts against Sheehan. The kids like watching him.
"His free kick was perfect and his pass to Hicham was great. It was a perfect ball on the far post 35 yards out. It was pin point accuracy.”
West Haven iced the game with three goals in the second half. Sebastian Parra set up Haba for a 3-0 lead and Perez followed by going the distance before scoring for a 4-0 lead.
West Haven scored its final goal later in the half when Selim Turkmen set up Jesus Morales for the 5-0 advantage.
“It was not out best soccer, but it was nice to see us finish,” Leapley said. “I was a little concerned at the half because I thought the guys were holding on to the ball a little too long.”
Fit to be Tied
Sheehan PK in final minutes earns 2-2 tie with Westies
By MIKE MADERA
(September 17, 2013) – The West Haven boys’ soccer team was inching closer to its second straight win to start the season. For the Westies, the final three minutes would spoil that bid.
Sheehan’s Dan Taglianetti scored off a penalty kick with three minutes remaining in regulation to bring the Titans to a 2-2 tie with visiting West Haven.
“I thought we played very well,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said after his team moved to 1-0-1. “We moved the ball around very well. Towards the end of the game, I think we had some break downs where we had too much kicking and running.
“We played really well. I thought we were definitely going to win the game. We moved the ball very well, but they got a penalty kick and converted.”
The two teams battled throughout as each came back from a one goal deficit. Sheehan’s equalizer was gut wrenching for the Westies as it came in the final minutes of the contest.
Taglianetti’s shot just got by West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast to force the tie. Prendergast, who got a piece of the penalty kick, also did the same when he got a piece of Drin Pacuku’s goal off a direct kick 12 minutes into the game.
“I thought Dan played really well,” Leapley said of Prendergast. “He almost saved the penalty kick and did the same on the direct kick where he got a hand on both of them. They would have been amazing saves.”
West Haven needed just 16 minutes in the second half to tie the game. With the ball bouncing around and several players having a chance at it in front, Albert Afful got the shot past Sheehan goalkeeper John Oliveira to even the game at one at the half.
West Haven’s Pablo Perez was double and triple-teamed all game, but Perez still did a nice job distributing the ball. Perez helped send Sebastian Parra in on Oliveira and Parra beat the Sheehan goalkeeper 11 minutes into the second half for a 2-1 lead.
“We have only ourselves to blame,” Leapley said. “We had about ten quality shots on goal. We just did not put them away.
“Pablo (Perez) did a nice job setting people up. They were all over him. We had a couple of really good chances, including direct kicks, but we did not convert. We had some chances in close, but either put them over the net or shot wide.”
Prendergast made six saves in the tie for West Haven, while Oliveira finished with nine saves for the Titans.
Despite a slow start, West Haven rallies to defeat Foran in season opener. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies scored 3 goals in second half for 3-2 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(September 10, 2013) – West Haven coach Liam Leapley was hoping for a quick start to the 2013 season. The first half was not exactly what the coach had in mind.
Trailing 2-0 after 40 minutes of play, Leapley had a little heart to heart with his team at the break. The talk seemed to work as the Westies responded by scoring three times in the second half to defeat Foran 3-2 at Foran High in the season opener for both teams Tuesday afternoon.
“We were very out of sync in the first half,” Leapley said. “It was definitely a concern. Our shape was terrible and we had poor communication. We seem to like to watch Pablo (Perez).
“It was a tale of two halves. We were absolutely horrible in the first half. We played our soccer in the second half. We played much better.”
Foran took the play to West Haven in the first half and capitalized with two goals. Jimmy Berkovich scored off an assist from Tyler Kasuba 15 minutes in and Justin Kassouf set up Julian Yuliawan 12 minutes later for the two-goal lead.
“I was worried at halftime,” Leapley said. “I did not recognize the team I saw in the first half. It was not the team that played in scrimmages.
“We have depth. We can rotate in and out to keep guys fresh. There was no quit in the team. We played very well in the second half. I was very happy with the results.”
West Haven scores against Foran, September 10, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies were a different team in the second half, scoring three times in 18 minutes. Pablo Perez was at the center of all the scoring with one goal and two assists.
“Pablo played a good game,” Leapley said of Perez. “They double and triple-teamed him in the first half. He was a man amongst boys in the second half. He played so well. He was fantastic in the second half.”
West Haven cut into the deficit 12 minutes into the second half as Perez set up Sebastian Parra for the first goal. Just 13 minutes later, the Westies evened the game when Perez set up Kevin Ruiz.
Sebastian Parra (17) gets West Haven on the board against Foran, September 10, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The tie would not last long. Perez completed his dominant second half when he beat Foran goalkeeper Tim Orozco with 10 minutes left in regulation for the 3-2 victory.
Dan Prendergast finished the game with four saves for the Westies. Orozco made five saves in the loss for the Lions.
Pablo Perez looks to lead the Westies back to the postseason in 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Perez and company looking for return to state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
The West Haven boys’ soccer team enters the 2013 campaign looking for more balance. With a handful of key players returning from last year’s squad which lost toHamden in the play-in portion of the state tournament, the Westies are ready to make some noise this season.
Led by All-Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division first team selection and captain Pablo Perez, the Westies have a player which will draw the attention of opponents on a daily basis. Perez finished with eight goals and a team-leading five assists last year.
“He is the best player in the district as far as I am concerned,” West Haven head coach Liam Leapley said of the center midfielder. “He has looked real good so far. We have had one scrimmage so far and he was a man amongst boys.
“He is a phenomenal player. He is playing with a lot of confidence right now. He moved the ball at will. He did a great job distributing the ball. I can’t say enough about him. He is going to have a big year.”
While Perez will be a force, the Westies will need to replace the 30 points (14 goals, 2 assists) from the graduated Alexis Garcia, who was also an All-SCC Quinnipiac first team selection.
Leapley has also lost one of last year’s captains and key defenders as senior Troy Consalvo is likely lost for the season.
“I think the key for us is putting the defense together,” Leapley said. “We have some really good skilled players. We have to replace the losses with new people in new places.”
Joining Perez back on the field are several other key components to a successful campaign. Senior George Oppong will play center midfield, sophomore Sebastian Parra is a forward and senior Ray Mayberry will lead the defense. Junior Dan Prendergast (69% save percentage last season) will be the last line of defense in goal for the Westies.
George Oppong will look to create offense for the Westies in 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We want to advance in the (state) tournament this year,” Leapley said. “I feel like we compete in the division every year. We would like to put it together and advance.
“I like our offensive potential. A lot of our scoring will come from Pablo (Perez) and Sebastian (Parra). We have good depth this year. It will be a team effort. A couple of guys may have more goals, but it will be spread out. We have a lot of work to do on the defensive end as we return only one defender.”
West Haven opens the season Tuesday, September 10 at Foran at 3:45 p.m.
BOYS SOCCER 2013