THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
All-State Players - Luigi Cappetta '88; Eric Soares '97; Dave Forero '99; Carlos Caracas '00; Matt Gilman '02; Salah Oumorou '14
3 goals in final 16 minutes lead Staples past Westies in Class LL second round
By MATT CILBRITH
(November 5, 2014) - In the second round of the CIAC boys soccer tournament, No. 19 Staples knocked off No. 3 West Haven in a stunning fashion. The Blue Devils had a 3-1 lead with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game, but the Wreckers would score three straight goals to win the game in regulation, 4-3.
“This game doesn’t do our season justice,” said West Haven head coach Pete Hamasian whose team went 13-2-1 in the regular season. “I feel bad for the kids, I feel like I let them down after we had such a great season.”
The final goal from the Wreckers came from a throw-in by Gabe Pensak, who launched the ball towards the front of the West Haven net. After a mass scramble around the net, Josh Berman was there to finish off the comeback for Staples and put them on top with only one minute, 26 seconds remaining.
“Gabe (Pensak) threw it in and he could really put the ball anywhere he wants on the field,” said Berman. “It bounced around to a couple guys, then Nate (Argosh) kind of kneed it up and flicked it, and I was right there. That was really a team goal.”
Staples had a 4-3 win against Ridgefield earlier this year where they came down to win after being down three goals. Head coach Dan Woog said that experience was good for the team because they knew they could come back, but that wasn’t what was going to win them the game.
“We told the kids that they have to believe in our system and what works,’’ said Woog. “Just do what works and don’t deviate, we pounded that into them this year, and I think that’s what this game really came down to was trust. I’m a writer and I don’t have any words to describe this game.”
The set pieces worked for Staples all night. The tying third goal, scored by Nate Argosh, came off a corner from Daniel Ried. The Wreckers created the majority of their chances off of their corners and utilized Pensak’s throwing ability, but that wasn’t something that took West Haven by surprise.
“We knew they liked to play the ball in the air, we watched how they beat East Hartford,” said Hamasian. “They like to use their corners, set pieces, and throw-ins and that is something that we practiced all week.”
The game saw a lot of different momentum swings. The first 20 minutes of the game were controlled mostly by the Wreckers creating the bulk of the chances, including scoring the first goal by Patrick Beusse.
Then, in the final 20 minutes of the first half, West Haven started to come back to even the playing field and knot the score with a goal from Ulises Hernandez.
Right out of the gate in the second half, West Haven’s Salah Oumorou scored in the first 30 seconds off of a great feed from Kevin Ruiz, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead. The Westies would add another goal more than 20 minutes later from Abdoul Aremu to make it 3-1 before the Wreckers began their comeback.
"I think the biggest momentum swing was when we were up 3-1 and we let in that first goal,” said Hamasian. “We had our heads down even though we were playing with a lead.”
West Haven did have their best run in a long time, and with this being Hamasian’s first year as head coach, there is room to improve.
“I think we have a lot to work with going forward,” said Hamasian. “We have integrated our philosophy. We have a core group of guys who know our philosophy coming back next year, we really have no limit.”
Westie senior captain Michael Smith was a leader of one of the best team’s that he has played on in his four years at West Haven.
“I really love playing with these guys,” said Smith. “I know we can be better next year and I will be here to support them the whole way."
Read article from GameTimeCt here
Read article from Norwalk Hour here
Prep knocks WH from SCC Tournament
1-0 defeat ends league title hopes
By MIKE MADERA
(October 25, 2014) - Fairfield Prep sophomore goalkeeper Daniel Szabo knew he would have to come up with some big saves if the Jesuits were to advance in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament. What Szabo did not know was the amount of pressure he would face in the final minutes of Saturday evening’s game against West Haven.
Using his height to his advantage. Szabo stopped everything West Haven had to offer, including a stellar diving save off a blast from Selim Turkmen with one minute remaining in regulation to preserve a 1-0 Fairfield Prep win over the Westies in the quarterfinals of the SCC tournament at Ken Strong Stadium.
Selim Turkmen (7) rips a shot which was turned aside in the final minute against Fairfield Prep, October 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The fifth-seeded Jesuits will play top-seeded Lyman Hall, also a 1-0 winner over Notre Dame, in the semifinals Monday evening at Lyman Hall.
“My defense helped me a lot,” Szabo said after finishing with seven saves. “We knew we had to win this game. It helps to see them twice already. It helps us adjust. I just did what I am expected to do.”
After a scoreless first half, the Jesuits got the only goal they would need 14 minutes, 16 seconds into the second half. With a loose ball in front, Biagio Paoletta fired a shot to the lower left corner past West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast for a 1-0 lead.
“We have been preaching all year, if you keep up the attack, good things will happen,” Fairfield Prep coach Ryan Lyddy said.
With the lead, the Jesuits turned to Szabo and the sophomore keeper did not disappoint. After stopping a direct kick by Turkmen with 24:40 remaining, Szabo was able to breathe a sigh of relief when Salah Oumorou beat the defense, crossed in front and watched as his shot trickled through the crease and wide with 19 minutes remaining.
Salah Oumorou (15) has his shot turned aside against Fairfield Prep, October 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kevin Ruiz had a golden opportunity for West Haven with 14:40 left, but his direct kick was punched away by Szabo. Just 2:20 later, Oumorou set up Abdoul Aremu in front, but Aremu’s shot from 18 yards out just went wide of an open goal.
“Their keeper was great,” West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said after his team fell to 13-3-1. “Sometimes you just can’t put the ball in the back of the net. I think we are in great shape going into the state tournament. We are definitely disappointed with the loss. This group has their goals set high. Our performance tonight does not reflect the score.”
Oumorou kept the pressure up, but Szabo was not to be denied. Oumorou’s rocket from 15 yards out was stopped by Szabo with 5:15 to go.
“I thought he made some nice saves tonight,” Lyddy said of Szabo. “He came up with some big stops.”
The Jesuits, who started the season at 1-4-1 and have since improved to 10-5-2, controlled play in the first half, but could not get a shot past Prendergast.
Dan Prendergast and the Westies fell against Fairfield Prep, October 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Pablo Martinez hit the crossbar for the Jesuits 1:55 into the game and a header by Paoletta was denied 5:05 in. Prendergast had to come up big once again when he stopped a blast from Martinez in close with a leg save with 19:30 left in the half.
“These guys started the season off slow,” Lyddy said. “We played a couple of games out of state at B.C.High and I think the long bus ride created a bond in the group. We started 1-4 and I don’t think we have lost since B.C. High (6-0-1).”
Prendergast finished with nine saves in the loss for West Haven.
Westies beat Law
Oumorou and Haba each score twice in 4-1 win
By MATT CILBRITH
(October 23, 2014) - The West Haven boys soccer team defeated Jonathan Law, 4-1, in Milford Thursday night in its final regular season game.
With the victory, West Haven improves to 13-2-1 and will move on to the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament as the fourth seed, where the Westies will host fifth-seeded Fairfield Prep Saturday at 5 p.m. This is the first season that West Haven has qualified for the SCC tournament since 1998.
“Like I’ve said before, I never anticipated this kind of success so early,” said West Haven coach Pete Hamasian. “But now that we are here, we aren’t going to take it for granted. We know these chances don’t come around often.”
With the SCC tournament starting on Saturday, the Westies played this game with a little different game plan than their usual face-paced attack.
“We played a more possessive style because we had two of our starters sitting out with injuries,” said Hamasian. “So we wanted to possess the ball and get out of this game with no injuries, which we did.”
The game opened up early for both teams. Blaise Haba of West Haven scored the first goal of the game just seven minutes in, capitalizing on a Law turnover and scoring from 15 yards out, putting one right over the goalkeeper Jaret Petrie’s head.
The Lawmen came right back with a goal of their own just two minutes after. Taylan Altin kicked a bomb of a free kick from midfield towards the West Haven goal. Law’s Herbie Pritchard won the ball in the air and left it right for Kevin Linn, who had a wide open net from 15 yards away and buried it to tie the game at one.
The score would only stay that way for about a minute. Good pressure from West Haven in the offensive end earned them a penalty kick, which team-leading goal scorer Salah Oumorou took and sent to the low left corner past Petrie to give West Haven a 2-1 lead.
"I think we have one of the most potent offenses in the SCC,” said Hamasian. “Everyone knows what a great finisher Salah (Oumorou) is, and Blaise (Haba) is just the perfect complement to him.”
The Westies would add another goal with 10 minutes left in the first half. Selim Turkmen sent a cross from the left off of a West Haven throw in. The ball was tipped around by a few players, but Haba was able to settle the ball down, plant his feet, and send another one top shelf to give West Haven a two-goal lead.
Haba’s goal would be enough for Westie goaltender Daniel Prendergast, who made six saves on the night.
In the second half, the Blue Devils came out with even more energy than the first half. Only a minute in, West Haven created a chance that Turkmen sent just wide right. A couple of minutes later, Oumorou blew past the defense, receiving a past from midfield, and shot across Petrie, scoring on the far left side for his second goal of the game, giving the Westies a 4-1 lead.
The Blue Devils dominated most of the chances in the second half. Law wasn’t able to get its first good scoring opportunity until about 15 minutes into the half.
“We knew they were going to kick the ball up for the forwards so we sat back and gave them a cushion so they wouldn’t get by us,” said senior captain Michael Smith.
The Westie defense and Prendergast held off the Lawmen for the remainder of the game to win their final regular season game.
“I’m just so happy that we were able to prove the naysayers wrong,” said Smith. “No one thought we would end up in the state tournament this year.”
Smith said the team was totally different last year than they are this year, and a lot of that has to do with coach Hamasian taking over the squad this year.
“Every day, coach pushes us in practice. No one pushes us harder than coach Pete and we have really been able to build together as a team,” said Smith.
Westies best Easties
Strong first half propels Westies
By ALEXANDER SAIER
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 20, 2014) - Garfield Robinson made three saves, and Blaise Haba and Salah Oumorou each scored twice as the West Haven boys soccer team moved to 12-2-1 with a 5-0 road victory over East Haven Monday evening. The win assured West Haven at least one home playoff games this postseason.
Blaise Haba (19), seen here against Notre Dame, scored twice in West Haven's 5-0 win over East Haven, October 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I was satisfied that we were able to go 18 deep and give everyone a chance to prove themselves," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "I think this win also continued to help our confidence and we are peaking at the right time of the season."
The Blue Devils got on the board early. Haba opened the scoring, thanks to some sloppy defensive play by East Haven. While trying to clear their own end, an errant pass by the Yellow Jackets ended up on the boot of Haba, and a quick strike went off the crossbar, and bounced down over the goal line, giving the Westies a 1-0 lead in the second minute.
Haba dented the net again four minutes later off a counterattack feed from Oumorou. Haba's shot beat East Haven goalie Connor Koziatek, and the Blue Devils led 2-0.
The Westies were not done in the first half. At the 19 minute mark, Ulises Hernandez fed a beautiful through ball to Oumorou, sending him in on a breakaway.
Oumorou made no mistake, beating Koziatek to the lower left side of the net, and West Haven had a commanding 3-0 lead.
East Haven tried to put pressure on the Blue Devils late in the first half, but the Westies’ defense was up to the task. This group was led by captain Mike Smith, keeping the ball away from Robinson, who only needed to make one save in the first half.
Even though the Westies led 3-0, Hamasian knew they could play better and pushed the team to stay hyped in the second half, knowing they will need to play a sharper and crisper soccer heading into the postseason.
The Blue Devil heeded the message, and four minutes into the second half, Oumorou drew a tripping foul inside the East Haven penalty area, giving the Westies a penalty kick. Given the opportunity, Westie forward Sebastian Parra was able to convert the penalty, with his shot deflecting in off of Koziatek,to give the team a 4-0 lead in the 49th minute.
The final tally of the night came in the 66th minute and was Oumorou's second goal of the night, off a pass from Selim Turkmen.
Oumorou was able to dribble around a few Yellow Jacket defenders and put his shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
With a five-goal lead, coach Hamasian emptied his bench to make sure everyone had an opportunity to play on the evening.The win moved the Westies into a tie for fourth in the Class LL rankings, and puts them in the second wild card position for the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, which begins this Saturday, October 25.
The final game of the regular season is Wednesday night at Jonathan Law. The match begins at 6 p.m.
Westies nip Titans
Oumorou scores twice in 3-2 win
By MIKE MADERA
(October 17, 2014) - The West Haven boys soccer team is looking to play at home in the postseason. The Westies took a step in the right direction Friday afternoon in Wallingford with a 3-2 victory over Sheehan.
Led by Salah Oumorou, who scored twice, the Westies improved to 11-2-1 with the road victory. With both the league and state tournaments approaching, the Westies are well aware of how important each game is for the rest of the regular season.
Salah Oumorou (15), seen here earlier in the year against Notre Dame, and the Westies defeated Sheehan, October 17, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We showed a ton of resilience after giving up the lead twice to continue to fight and battle to earn a win on the road against a quality opponent," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said.
West Haven was in for a battle throughout the contest as the Westies twice held leads and saw Sheehan come back to even the game each time.
Oumorou scored the first of his two goals 10 minutes into the game when he beat Sheehan goalkeeper John Olivera for a 1-0 lead.
Roge Avila wasted no time ending that lead for the Titans. Just five minutes after Oumorou scored, Avila took a feed from Rich Dominguez and beat West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast to even the game at one.
Neither team could score over the next 19 minutes, but 20 minutes after Sheehan got the equalizer, West Haven once again took the lead when Blaise Haba scored at the 35-minute mark.
Playing with the lead, West Haven looked as if it would work the clock and come away with the win. That all changed when Avila scored his second of the game to even the contest at two with 12 minutes remaining.
Avila and Sheehan's momentum were short-lived after Avila scored his second of the game with 12 minutes to go to force the tie.
To West Haven's credit, the Westies kept battling. Three minutes after Avila's equalizer, Ulises Hernandez set up Oumorou, who beat Olivera for a 3-2 lead with nine minutes to go.
The Westies held on in the final minutes, giving West Haven another win towards the postseason.
Prendergast finished with 15 saves in the win.
Westies tie Falcons
Haba's goal leads to draw
By ALEXANDER SAIER
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 15, 2014) - The West Haven Blue Devils boys soccer team completed the Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division portion of their scheduled on Wednesday afternoon with a 1-1 draw with the Falcons of Xavier in Middletown.
The Blue Devils, now 10-2-1 overall, finish at 5-2-1 in the Quinnipiac Division, and are currently behind divisional leader Fairfield Prep by one half game, with Prep playing this Friday afternoon, also at Xavier. A Prep loss will result in a tie atop the division, which would make the Jesuits and Westies co-champions.
"I thought we did a great job of overcoming an early deficit and several injuries to get a result against a good team on the road," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "I was very impressed with goalkeeper Danny Prendergast's performance and his ability to keep us in the game when the defense left us exposed."
The afternoon did not start well for the Westies, as Xavier, on its first shot of the game, recorded the opening tally.
Xavier forward Joe Zacchia came down the right side of the field down to the end-line, and after bringing the ball back a few yards, sent a low cross into the penalty area where midfielder Dan Higgins awaited the pass. Off the first bounce, Higgins right-footed the ball past a diving Danny Prendergast, and the Falcons had a 1-0 lead only 6 minutes into the match.
The play continued in a physical manner, back and forth, into the 25th minute, when an offensive surge by the Westies, into the Falcons penalty box, resulted in a hard tripping foul, giving the Blue Devils a golden opportunity to tie the game on a penalty kick. Given the chance, Blaise Haba did not disappoint and buried the penalty kick into the upper right side of the goal, past Falcon goalkeeper Aiden McCormack to even the game at one, 26 minutes into the contest.
The remainder of the first half continued to be physical, with both teams having a fair amount of possession time and West Haven getting off three more shots and Xavier putting two more chances toward the net. Neither team could dent the twine again, and the teams went to halftime tied at a goal apiece.
West Haven coach Pete Hamasian was able to hype the team up during the break, and the Blue Devils came out firing in the second half.
The Blue Devils were able to keep possession early in the second half, with shots by Haba, Salah Oumorou and Sebastian Parra. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they ran into a hot goaltender in McCormack, and the score remained 1-1 heading deep into the second half.
The Falcons finally mounted substantial pressure in the final 10 minutes, as it looked like the Blue Devils began to play on their heals.
In the 77th minute, Xavier defenseman Jason Hoops came down the field on a partial break, and drilled a shot on goal. Playing in the perfect position, Prendergast made the save for the Blue Devils.
Prendergast gave up a long rebound and Joe Zacchia ripped another shot on Prendergast, but again the West Haven goalkeeper was up to the task, making a fantastic sprawling save to ensure the Blue Devils would not end up on the wrong end of the decision.
Westies beat Notre Dame, 3-0
By ALEXANDER SAIER
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 13, 2014) - With revenge on its mind, the West Haven boys soccer team left no doubt which team was better on this day, as it dominated in a 3-0 victory over its crosstown rival, Notre Dame, Monday afternoon at Veterans Field.
"I was very proud of my guys," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "I knew how much this rivalry game meant to them and to see them perform so well in that moment was great."
The offense didn't come easily for the Westies, but they made sure their opportunities counted in the first half.
With the teams playing a back and forth possession game, it was Blaise Haba moving down the field and setting up the Blue Devils' leading goal scorer this year, Salah Oumorou. On the Westies' first shot of the game, Oumorou's blast dented the left side of the net past Green Knights' goaltender Tyler Brown Ortiz in the 15th minute for a 1-0 lead.
Salah Oumorou (15) scored twice against Notre Dame, October 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Oumorou's boot struck again in the 29th minute, as a feed from Ulises Hernandez landed beautifully on Oumorou's right foot, and his second shot, as well as the team's second shot of the half, found the identical spot on the left side of the net as his first shot.
The Blue Devils, on two shots, had a two- goal lead, which held into halftime. After Oumorou's goals, the play was physical and mental soccer.
Ulises Hernandez (9) creates offense for West Haven against Notre Dame, October 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Danny Prendergast made one save on one shot in the first half off of a partial breakaway. West Haven needed only six minutes into the second half to put the game out of reach. Off a corner set up, Selim Turkmen sent a high, arching ball toward the penalty area and into the six-yard box. Hernandez was waiting for the ball, and he was able to put a glancing header onto the ball, and past Brown-Ortiz to the bottom left corner of the goal (see goal here) with just a little over 34 minutes to go in the game to give the Westies had a 3-0 advantage.
West Haven celebrates a goal against Notre Dame, October 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the victory, West Haven moved to 10-3 on the season, including 5-2 in the SCC Quinnipiac Division, good for second place in the division behind Fairfield Prep.
West Haven does have an opportunity to win the Quinnipiac Division, but will need two things to happen.
The first order of business comes Wednesday afternoon when the Blue Devils visit Xavier in Middletown. A victory over the Falcons will put the pressure on Fairfield Prep, who will need a victory over the same Xavier Falcons on Friday to win the SCC Quinnipiac.
Should the Westies win at Xavier on Wednesday, and Prep loses to Xavier on Friday, the Blue Devils will capture the Quinnipiac Division title.
Westies top Hamden on Senior Night
By ALEXANDER SAIER
(October 12, 2014) - If a blowout loss against Fairfield Prep wasn't enough to get the West Haven boys soccer team to be chomping at the bit go get back onto the pitch, then the emotions of Senior Night were. Two days after suffering their worst loss of the season, the Blue Devils moved back into the win column with a 4-2 victory over the Green Dragons of Hamden Saturday evening at Ken Strong Stadium in the boys final regular season home game.
The night did not start well for the home team with the visitors getting an early goal from freshman Emmanuel Yeboah in the 8th minute. After Blue Devils senior goalkeeper Dan Prendergast made a beautiful initial save, Yeboah pounced on the rebound and was able to just get his shot through Prendergast's arm, giving Hamden a 1-0 lead.
That lead was short-lived. In the 14th minute, Sebastian Parra started a rush down to left side corner, sending the ball back to Ulises Hernandez, who quickly fed Selim Turkmen just outside the top of the penalty area. Turkmen's shot found the bottom right corner of the Hamden goal, beating Nick Cappiello to even the game at one.
The Blue Devils were able to take their first lead of the night on Blaise Haba's tenth goal of the year in the 20th minute, with a tap in of a rebound of a Turkmen shot, moving the Westies ahead 2-1.
Blaise Haba (19), seen here against Xavier, helped the Westies to a Senior Night victory over Hamden, October 11, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
To Hamden's credit, the Green Dragons were able to tie the game at two a few minutes later on Yeboah's second goal of the evening with a tap in off a corner kick.
Finally, the Blue Devils took the lead for good just before halftime on Turkmen's second goal of the night on a head-in off yet another corner kick.
Selim Turkmen (7) scored twice for the Westies in a Senior Night victory over Hamden, October 11, 2014.Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The high-scoring first half ended with West Haven up 3-2.
Coach Pete Hamasian was pleased to see the boys getting back on the scoreboard after such a difficult game on Thursday against Fairfield Prep. He told the team to continue to move well in the second half.
There was only one tally in the second half, and it came in the 67th minute when Kevin Ruiz scored from the top of the penalty area, with a shot that beat Cappiello to the left side, triggering a rowdy goal celebration between Ruiz and the West Haven bench, as well as sending the partisan Blue Devil fans into a frenzy.
With the result secure, Hamasian ensured all 11 seniors who played in this game, finished on the field together in a show of unity.
With the 4-2 victory, the Blue Devils have moved to 9-2 on the season, and continue to work to make sure that Senior Night would not be their last home game of the season, as they try to continue winning and earning home games in both the SCC and CIAC Class LL tournaments.
West Haven's next game is a Columbus Day matinee against cross town rival Notre Dame at Veterans Field at 11 a.m.
Prep crushes Westies
Jesuits romp past WH, 7-1
By ALEXANDER SAIER
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 9, 2014) - The West Haven Blue Devils were thumped today at Lessing Field at Fairfield University as Fairfield Prep took a commanding 7-1 victory. With the defeat, the Westies suffered only their second loss of the season.
"We were as well prepared as we should have been so the blame for this loss goes solely on our shoulders," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "You never want to take the field and put up such a poor performance, but hopefully we can use this as a learning experience and grow from this game."
The game's pace was dictated by Prep early on. Only nine minutes into the half, Pablo Martinez scored off of redirection of the West Haven defense.
Only four minutes later, Chris Molina struck the side of the net, giving Prep a 2-0 lead.
Play was fast-paced and physical as Salah Oumorou was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty kick.
The Westies looked to be sure to score as Blaise Haba strolled up to the ball and bombed it to the right side of the net. Jesuits goalkeeper Daniel Szabo made an outstanding save, giving a rebounded to Selim Turkmen and then making the second effort save, giving the Westies a corner.
The half time speech from coach Pete Hamasian was to build up to big plays, move the ball around and not just kick it up the field. The most important part was to play for that guy next to you. give everything you have and play smart.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils conceded another goal two minutes into the half as Jack Colihan pounded the ball to the back of the net.
The Westies did pick things up as three minutes later, sophomore Abdoul Aremu and Salah Oumorou came in on a two-on-none break . The opportunity ended up being finessed to goal by Oumorou, passed on to Aremu and chipped by the keeper making the game 3-1.
This goal gave little signs of light to the Westies, yet that light was blown out as Prep stringed together four straight goals.
Jack Oricoli scored at the 58 minute mark, Chris Montani scored four minutes later and Omar Rodrigues added a tally with nine minutes to go.
After the fifth goal, Hamasian replaced Westie goalkeeper Dan Prendergast and placed Garfield Robinson in trying to energize the team. Robinson made three magnificent saves and tried to keep the team working vocally.
The Westies finished losing 7-1 to split the series as they defeated the Jesuits 2-1 at home three weeks ago.
Blaise Haba gives West Haven a 4-0 lead over Jonathan Law, September 9, 2014.
Salah Oumorou gives West Haven a 3-0 lead over Jonathan Law with a second half goal, September 9, 2014.
West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast with a save against Xavier, October 6, 2014. Video courtesy of Matt Cilbrith. Double click to see full screen.
BOYS SOCCER 2014
West Haven's Salah Oumorou scores on a penalty kick against Jonathan Law, October 23, 2014. Video courtesy of Matt Cilbrith. Double click for full screen.
Westies beat Xavier to qualify for postseason
By MATT CILBRITH
WEST HAVEN (October 6, 2014) - The West Haven boys soccer team defeated SCC divisional rival, Xavier, 2-1, Monday night at Ken Strong Stadium. This win punched the Blue Devils’ ticket to play in the CIAC state tournament, which starts later in October.
“I knew we would be successful, maybe not just to this extent so fast,” said West Haven head coach Pete Hamasian. “The team has played great. We have a good group.”
In his first year as head coach, Hamasian has led the team to an 8-1 record to start the season.
Salah Oumorou (c.) and Blaise Haba (r.) celebrate West Haven's 2-1 win over Xavier, October 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westie goalkeeper Daniel Prendergast came up with 14 saves to keep the Falcons to just one goal. He said Hamasian has turned this team around.
“I think he (Hamasian) has really brought the team to that next level,” said Prendergast. “He has been very professional, and you can really tell that he cares about us players.”
Prendergast stopped a flurry of Xavier shots in the second half to keep his team in the contest. The Blue Devils had most of the chances in the first half, stretching the field with lots of long passes to pressure the Xavier defense. However, the Falcons were able to score the only goal of the half.
Falcons' senior Connor Hertler broke on a run straight down the middle of the field, and just as Prendergast charged out of the net to stop him, Hertler chipped the ball over the diving keeper from 15 yards out to score.
“Letting in the one goal early is hard to bounce back from in such an emotional game,” said Prendergast. “But we stayed together as a team and played well the rest of the game.”
West Haven came out with speed and pressure to start the second half. Then, after earning a free kick three minutes in the half, senior Sebastian Parra put one over the top of the Xavier keeper from 40 yards out to tie the game at 1-1.
From there, the offense for both teams opened up. Both teams exchanged tons of chances for the rest of the game.
West Haven used its speed to get down field fast on transitions, while the Falcons took advantage of a few free kicks and corner kicks, and made their chances with good crossing attempts.
“We put a big emphasis on dictating the game,” said Hamasian. “In the second half, we were able to dictate the pace with quick restarts and it created chances.”
The pressure from West Haven paid off 20 minutes into the second half. It started with Salah Oumorou using his impressive footwork to dance around three defenders in the midfield to break loose.
Oumorou dished the ball off to Parra, who lined up a blast of a shot which Xavier
goalkeeper Aidan McCormack got a piece of, but not all of. The ball trickled out of McCormack’s hands and junior Blaise Haba came in and slammed home the rebound to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.
Blaise Haba scores for the Westies against Xavier, October 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Falcons came very close to tying the game many times in the final minutes of the game. The closest of all was with just 15 seconds remaining in the game.
Xavier junior Cesar Rivera had a blocked shot bounce to him about 20 yards out and he just barely skied it over the crossbar, allowing the Blue Devils to hold on to the victory.
Westies hold off Lions
5-3 win lifts WH closer to postseason
By MIKE MADERA
(October 3, 2014) - The West Haven boys soccer team wants to make sure there is no doubt it will be playing in the postseason. After Friday afternoon's 5-3 win in Milford against Foran, the Westies have put themselves one win away from assuring a spot in the state tournament as they improved to 7-1 on the season.
Led by sophomore sensation Salah Oumorou, who scored three goals, the Westies held off a hard-charging Foran team. Blaise Haba and Sebastian Parra also scored for the Westies.
Salah Oumorou scores against Foran, October 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Not every game is going to be pretty and that was the case," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "But, based on pure effort, we were able to escape with the win."
Foran took a 1-0 lead in the game when Claudio Dos Santos scored 11 minutes in. Oumorou, who now has 14 goals on the season, evened the game at one three minutes later and Haba put the Westies on top 2-1 at the 20 minute mark.
Oumorou was not done as the sophomore increased West Haven's lead to 3-1 five minutes later.
Sebastian Parra increased the margin to 4-1 with a goal at the 33 minute mark. Parra's goal proved to be a big one as Foran scored the next two goals, including a tally by Glaymer Cardona with two minutes left in the first half.
Blaise Haba scores for West Haven against Foran, October 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Trailing 4-2, Foran got within a goal as Leonardo Jorge scored four minutes into the second half.
Oumorou iced the contest with a goal in the 69th minute, putting West Haven one win away from the state tournament.
"I was happy with how my bench was able to come into the game and contribute in a way that I had yet to see all season," Hamasian said.
Dan Prendergast made two saves in the win for West Haven. Prashant Patel made 2 saves for Foran as the Westies held a 10-9 shot advantage.
Westies rebound with victory over Sheehan
Parra provides winner in 1-0 victory
By ALEXANDER SAIER
(September 30, 2014) - Heeding coach Pete Hamasian's advice and keeping its head held high after its first loss of the season, the West Haven boys soccer team moved back into the win column Monday evening with a 1-0 victory over the Titans of Sheehan. The win and moved the Westies to 6-1 on the season.
"To bounce back after such a devastating loss was huge for our confidence and allowed us to put that loss behind us," Hamasian said.
The game began slowly, with both teams feeling each other out and the referees seemingly blowing their whistles quite often due to physical play. Because of this, the first 40 minutes did not produce a single good scoring opportunity, with play bouncing back and forth outside of each team's penalty areas.
The first half ended scoreless, and both teams huddled amongst themselves, looking to make positive adjustments.
Coach Hamasian urged his team to aggressively take the play to the Titans in the second half by increasing communication and spreading themselves and the ball across the field. Taking Hamasian's halftime speech into account, the Blue Devils came out united after halftime.
The second half saw West Haven carry the play to Sheehan, and shots began to mount.
The combination of Sebastian Parra, Blaise Haba, Kevin Ruiz, Salah Oumorou and Ulises Hernandez pushed the play hard into the offensive end, and with 22 minutes remaining, the Blue Devils were awarded a corner kick.
Parra struck the corner with authority, sending the ball deep to the far side of the goal. Haba and Oumorou scrambled to find a good shot, but continued to find Titan defenders.
Fortunately for West Haven, the last attempted shot by Oumorou was blocked, but deflected back to Parra just inside the 18-yard box. After a few deft moves avoiding Sheehan defenders, Parra hit the ball with the outside of his left foot, sending the ball past the outstretched arms of Sheehan goaltender John Oliveira and into the goal for the only scoring of the night in the 59th minute.
"Sebastian has been great for us all year, but had been struggling finding the back of the net," Hamasian said. "So for him to score his first goal in such dramatic fashion was fantastic and I couldn't be happier for him."
Sebastian Parra scored the lone West Haven goal in a 1-0 victory over Sheehan, September 30, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The last 11 minutes were not without a few attempts by the Titans to tie the game. West Haven's stout defense, led by captain Mike Smith, Will Foley and Jose Espinoza, kept Sheehan at bay. With 6:40 left on the clock, a shot from just outside the penalty area went wide of the West Haven goal and another with 3:15 to play went over the goal.
"The defense tonight didn't have a ton of action, but when they were called upon stood strong and were able to secure the shutout," Hamasian said.
As the game entered the final minute, Sheehan's desperation showed, as the Titans frantically moved the ball down the field. It looked as if Sheehan's Alex Ramirez would move in all alone on West Haven's Danny Prendergast, but Prendergast's strong, aggressive play to come off the line, resulted in his diving onto the ball before Ramirez could get off a shot, snuffing out the final Titan chance.
A bit shaken up on the save, Prendergast shook it off and made sure the ball stayed clear of the goal area. A final offensive push by the Blue Devils ran out the clock, giving West Haven its sixth win in seven outings.
After the game, Coach Hamasian let the boys know he was happy to get back on the winning side of the ledger, but to continue to stay focused as the team prepares for its next contest which is Friday afternoon in Milford against Foran at 3:45 p.m.
Westies fall to Notre Dame
Green Knights send Westies to first loss
By ALEXANDER SAIER
(September 27, 2014) - An apparent game-tying goal in the 77th minute was waived off, and a late first half goal from Alex Ossa stood up, as Notre Dame-West Haven defeated the West Haven Blue Devils 1-0 Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd at Ken Strong Stadium.
Both teams came into the contest unbeaten with the Blue Devils at 5-0 and the Green Knights at 3-0-3.
Each team came out of the gates physical and fast, with fouls being called often. The play was up and down the field, chances at a premium with Notre Dame trying to build pressure from the outside, and West Haven building its offense from one touch passing.
The first quality chance came in the 27th minute with Notre Dame's Alex Mathews feeding Alex Ossa just outside the penalty box.
With a quick move to the outside, Ossa struck the ball toward the West Haven goal. The shot just eluded goaltender Danny Prendergast's outstretched arms and knocked off the inside of the far goal post, tricking over the goal line and sending the Notre Dame supporters into a frenzy as the Green Knights took a 1-0 lead.
The intensity and emotions on both sides picked up from there, with the Blue Devils carrying more of the play. Strong goalkeeping from Notre Dame's Tyler Brown-Ortiz kept the Green Knight's on top heading into halftime.
West Haven came out fast in the second half, keeping up the momentum they took into halftime.
Shots by Sebastian Parra, Blaise Haba and Kevin Ruiz were either off target or turned away by Brown-Ortiz. With 20 minutes remaining, West Haven earned three successive corner kicks, with the second by Parra needing to be saved on a deft punch over the goal by Brown-Ortiz.
Salah Oumorou and the Westies fell to Notre Dame, September 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Another free kick from Parra again, needed to be punched over the bar by Brown-Ortiz with 15 minutes remaining, keeping the game at 1-0.
Notre Dame was able to put forth some pressure in the 69th minute as Matthews came into the left side of the penalty area. His left-footed shot seemed destined for the lower right corner of the West Haven goal, but a brilliant diving save by Prendergast kept the Blue Devils' deficit at one goal entering the final 10 minutes. It seemed as if West Haven continued to look for the equalizer by connecting on long passes, but getting sustained pressure off those passes became futile as the Green Knights continued to clear the ball from their half of the field.
Finally in the 77th minute, West Haven was awarded a free kick from about 40 yards from goal. Parra launched a high ball into the box, and Salah Oumorou settled underneath at the top of the six yard box.
Leaping into the air, the ball struck the back of his head, going by Brown-Ortiz, sending the pro-Blue Devil crowd into a frenzy. That excitement was short-lived, as the referee waived of the goal, saying Oumorou was not on side.
Notre Dame, hanging on for dear life, continued on a path of clearing every ball that came their way, but in the 80th minute, the Blue Devils mounted one last push.
Mike Smith came up from his defensive position, pushing the ball to Selim Turkmen, but Turkmen's shot was blocked out of bounds for a final corner for the Blue Devils.
Mike Smith against Notre Dame, September 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Parra's corner was punched away by Brown-Ortiz, right to the waiting right foot of Haba just outside the penalty area. Haba's final desperate shot with 10 seconds remaining just went over the top of the goal and time ran out on the Blue Devils, giving them their first loss of the season.
West Haven's 5-1-0 record remains top for the SCC Quinnipiac Division, percentage points ahead of the Green Knights with one game in hand.
The Blue Devils return to the field on Tuesday September 30 against the Titans of Sheehan in a tough SCC interdivisional matchup at Ken Strong Stadium at 7:30 p.m..
Westies improve to 5-0 with win over Hamden
By ALEXANDER SAIER
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 22, 2014) - Whoever said "All Good Things Must Come To An End", never met the 2014 West Haven boys soccer team or its first-year head coach Pete Hamasian.
The Westies continued their perfect start, and kept Hamasian undefeated with a dominating 5-1 victory over Hamden, Monday evening at Hamden High. The victory was extra special for Hamasian as he returned to the field he starred for Hamden during his high school years.
"Going back to Hamden brought back a bunch of old memories," Hamasian said. "It was definitely a bit different sitting on the away side, but we were there to get a job done and that's what we did."
The Blue Devils came out on all cylinders from the opening kickoff. Early pressure from West Haven paid dividends just seven minutes into the contest when Blaise Haba scored his sixth goal of the season, and first of two on the evening, hitting the bottom corner of the net from inside the six yard box to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
West Haven continued to pour on the pressure and one minute later, Sebastian Parra set up Salah Oumorou with a nifty through ball from midfield. Oumorou chipped the ball over the Hamden goalkeeper Nick Cappiello, giving him a simple tap into the empty goal for a 2-0 lead.
A long first half for Hamden became even longer at the 11 minute mark when Ulises Hernandez sent a perfect one-touch pass to Oumorou who found the top left corner of the net for his second goal of the night, and eleventh of the season, giving the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead.
"We got off to a tremendous start, scoring three goals in the first 15 minutes of play," Hamasian said. "From there, our level dropped off, which I was disappointed in, but we did a good job to just manage the game and get the win."
Ulises Hernandez (9), seen here against Foran earlier in the season, helped lead the Westies past Hamden, Monday evening, September 22, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hamden would not give up, however, and after some sustained pressure, the Green Dragons got on the board and cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 24th minute with a shot from the top of the penalty box that got by West Haven goaltender Danny Prendergast, giving Hamden some hope for a comeback.
That hope was short-lived, as the Blue Devils came right back off the ensuing kickoff, and in the 25th minute, successive one touch passing between Kevin Ruiz, Haba and Selim Turkmen ended up on Haba's right foot and in the back of the net, re-establishing West Haven's three-goal lead at 4-1 heading into halftime.
At halftime, Hamasian cautioned the boys to not become complacent, and continue to attack the outside of the Green Dragon defense.
The Blue Devils heeded Hamasian's advice, and five minutes into the second half, Ruiz was set up all alone in front of Cappiello by Jonas Haba, and put away his second goal of the season, giving West Haven a 5-1 lead.
"Our offensive outburst this season has surpassed my expectations," Hamasian said. "I understood we had plenty of offensive weapons, but to put up such high goal-scoring numbers has even surprised me. My goal is to make sure we don't become dependent on the offense."
It appeared as if Hamden would have an opportunity to get back into the game with a penalty kick, but Prendergast's strong play continued as he made one of his seven saves on the free kick, diving to his left to keep West Haven's advantage at four goals. The final 19 minutes went by without any scoring and the Blue Devils remain unbeaten and untied on the season.
The boys now have four days to prepare for Saturday night's contest against Notre Dame in the Battle of West Haven at Ken Strong Stadium. It is possible that both teams will be undefeated when they meet, giving the game additional meaning.
Saturday night will be a girls/boys doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m with the girls facing Sacred Heart Academy and the boys facing the Green Knight right after.
Westies top Prep
Upset victory lifts WH to 4-0
By ALEXANDER SAIER
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 19, 2014) - The West Haven boys soccer team moved to 4-0 on the young season with a spirited 2-1 victory over perennial Southern Connecticut Conference power Fairfield Prep Friday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
"Beating Prep was huge for the confidence of my players and proves we are the real deal," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "We set some high goals for ourselves this season and this 4-0 start will hopefully put us in position to achieve our goals come the end of the season.
"The key to our 4-0 start is our ability to get an early lead and never let our opponent get back into the game."
The first half was played back and forth on the pitch. Finally, 17 minutes into the match, the Blue Devils were awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out.
Sebastian Parra struck the ball toward the back post where it was tapped home by Jonas Haba, giving the Westies a 1-0 lead.
The tempo from both teams picked up from there and, 12 minutes later, Blaise Haba set up Salah Oumorou from about 25 yards out. With a neat chip over the goalkeeper, Blaise Haba dented the top corner of the net to give West Haven a 2-0 lead heading to halftime.
Head coach Pete Hamasian encouraged the team to remain positive and move the ball around quickly with one touch passing, and to keep their composure to hold on to a two-goal lead.
Five minutes into the second half, it looked as if the Blue Devils would cash in again, with Blaise Haba deking the ball around the Prep goalkeeper. Haba's shot was denied off the goal line by the Prep defense.
Given this new lease on life, the Jesuits were able to mount pressure over the next 10 minutes. With 25 minutes remaining in the match. the Jesuits' Samuel Smit was able to score off a corner kick on a scramble in front of goalkeeper Dan Prendergast.
Both teams continued their back and forth play, and it looked as if Prep had tied the score at two with about 15 minutes to go, but the apparent goal was waved off because of a pushing foul by Prep in the box.
As time wound down to under one minute remaining, again, it looked as if the Jesuits had tied the game, but they again were called for a foul.
"To secure this win, we needed everyone to be focused and play their role to the fullest," Hamasian said. "When you have one of your hardest working players like Jonas Haba score the first goal, it shows that we are more than just one or two players carrying us offensively and we are dangerous at every position."
Hamasian told the boys to enjoy the win, but to remember they will need to go back on Sunday for a practice leading up to their next game, which is Monday afternoon in Hamden.
The win was the first for this group of seniors against Fairfield Prep in their two seasons playing for the Blue Devils.
The Jesuits held an 18-9 shot advantage in the game, with Prendergast finishing with 10 saves.
Westies improve to 3-0 with win over East Haven
By MIKE MADERA
Alexander Saier contributed to this article
(September 15, 2014) - West Haven soccer coach Pete Hamasian was hoping for a quick start to the season for his boys soccer team. Hamasian could not have imagined the start his team has had.
West Haven picked up its third victory of the year Monday evening at Ken Strong Stadium with a 9-0 victory over East Haven.
Salah Oumorou continued his torrid start to the season with four more goals, giving him eights goals and two assists in the first three games of the year.
"Salah has done a great job of creating space for himself and when he does so, he does an even better job of capitalizing on the opportunity," Hamasian said of Oumorou.
Outscoring its opponents 19-2 in the first three games of the year, West Haven has set the pace and gotten off to a quick start.
"The key to our 3-0 start has been the team's work ethic in our training sessions to prepare for each game as well as their focus," Hamasian said. "They have done a great job of not looking ahead to later games on the schedule."
Sebastian Parra and Selim Turkmen distributed the ball well, combining for four assists on the night.
West Haven celebrates a goal against East Haven, September 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Alexander Saier.
West Haven opened the scoring just five minutes into the contest when Blaise Haba set up Oumorou for a 1-0 lead. Just three minutes later, Oumorou scored off an assist from Parra and Haba added an unassisted goal six minutes later for a 3-0 advantage.
The Westies never let up as Kyle Pesce set up Selim Turkmen at the 27 minute mark and Parra again assisted on Oumorou's goal two minutes later for a 5-0 lead.
Goals by Victor Yanez and Oumorou two minutes apart closed out the first half with West Haven leading 7-0.
"Any time you can get a few goals early, it allows me as a coach to try some things we wouldn't otherwise have been able to," Hamasian said. "One example was it was great that we were able to get backup goalkeeper Garfield (Robinson) some varsity experience."
West Haven took the direction of Hamasian in the second half, spreading the ball around. Kevin Ruiz, off an assist from Parra, and Haba, off an assist from Yanez, gave the Westies a 9-0 lead in the second half.
With the victory, West Haven keeps Hamasian perfect in his first season at the helm.
Next up for the Blue Devils is a tough contest against Xavier in Middletown Wednesday afternoon.
WH defeats Foran to improve to 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
(September 11, 2014) - The West Haven boys soccer team knows the importance of team play. Through two games this season, the Westies have shown they can play that type of game.
After defeating Jonathan Law to open the season, West Haven improved to 2-0 with a 4-1 victory over Foran - Milford Thursday evening at West Haven High.
"I have been very impressed with our discipline of playing within the game plan and not reverting back to old habits," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said.
Salah Oumorou, who scored three times against Law, continued to find the back of the net with another goal in the win as his first half goal gave the Westies a 1-0 lead.
Salah Oumorou scores (top) then celebrates with Selim Turkmen (7, below) in West Haven's victory over Foran, September 11, 2014. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After Foran evened the contest on a goal by Ryan Young, Blaise Haba took over. Haba, who also scored in the season opener, scored off a feed from Oumorou for a 2-1 lead, then sent the Westies to the half up two goals when he scored off an assist from Victor Yanez.
Haba was not done as he assisted on a goal by Jonathan Ortiz in the second half for a 4-1 advantage.
Dan Prendergast was again solid in goal, finishing with eight saves for the Westies.
"I have also been pleased with the play of goalkeeper (Dan) Prendergast," Hamasian said. "The way he is able to stay mentally engaged in the game when he may not be getting a ton of work, but rises to the occasion when called on."
Kevin Ruiz (8) looks to get possession against Foran with West Haven's Jose Espinoza (6) and Selim Turkmen (7) looking on. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies break Law
Oumorou's 3 goals give Hamasian first win
By MIKE MADERA
(September 9, 2014) - West Haven sophomore Salah Oumorou may not have been on the soccer radar of many entering the 2014 season. After Tuesday evening's game against Jonathan Law, Oumorou will no longer have to worry about that.
Scoring three times, including twice in the second half, and adding an assist, Oumorou helped West Haven defeat Law 6-1 in the season opener for both teams at Ken Strong Stadium.
Salah Oumorou (15) scored three goals in the season opener against Law. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"He has been a breath of fresh air for us," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said of Oumorou. "Nobody knew much about him. He surprised the coaching staff and he quickly cracked the starting lineup."
The win also helped Hamasian pick up his first career victory at the helm of the Westies.
"It is a great feeling," Hamasian said of the initial win. "It is great to get it on the first one. We don't have to worry about it any longer. It puts the focus back on the team."
Under Hamasian's direction, the Westies came out putting pressure on Law and dictating the tempo of the game in the first half.
That tempo nearly hurt the Westies early on as Law's Herbie Pritchard broke in on West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast but hit the crossbar from 12 yards out.
Pritchard lofted a free kick wide of the goal a short time later, before Craig Calderone was stopped by Prendergast from 25 yards out minutes later.
"I thought we played really well early," Law coach Donato Piselli said. "We had a breakaway which I thought we would capitalize on.
"We did not capitalize on the mistakes they made. I am surprised at how we played the first ten minutes of the second half. We made some poor decisions and just like that, it is 3-0. It is tough to get those back on the road. You have to pick up your momentum again."
Leading 1-0 on Oumorou's goal with 15 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the opening half, the Westies quickly took the game to Law in the second half, scoring three times in the first ten minutes.
Taking a feed from Sebastian Parra, Oumorou broke in on Law goalkeeper Jaret Petrie and fired a laser to the lower right corner for a 2-0 lead.
The Westies and Oumorou increased the lead to three goals a short time later when Oumoru beat Petrie to the left side off a pass from Ulises Hernandez with 6:49 gone by in the second half.
"It felt good," Oumorou said. "I felt refreshed. They got me the ball and I was open."
West Haven continued to add on and scored its third goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half when Oumorou set up Blaise Haba, who beat Petrie to the right side for a four-goal lead.
"Every time we get the ball, we want to put the ball into play," Hamasian said. "We want to dictate the pace."
The Westies, who had 22 shots in the game, increased the margin to 5-0 with 18:37 remaining in the game.
Kyle Pesce came down the right side and beat a sliding Petrie, before Hernandez closed out the scoring.
Prendergast finished with eight saves in the win, while Petrie made five saves for Law.
WH ready to go under Hamasian's lead
By MIKE MADERA
(September 7, 2014) - Much has changed since we last saw West Haven in early November. A loss in the opening round of the state tournament not only ended West Haven's season, but it also ended the storied career of star player Pablo Perez.
The loss of Perez and his 40 points (13 goals and 14 assists) are not the only things different for the Westies in 2014. With long-time head coach Liam Leapley stepping down, the Westies will now start the 2014 season with former Hamden star Pete Hamasian in control as the team's head coach.
For Hamasian and the Westies to be successful and return to the postseason, the key clearly is to replace the dynamic Perez.
Juniors Blaise Haba and Ulises Hernandez, along with senior Sebastian Parra will be counted on to propel the offense in 2014.
Ulises Hernandez, seen here celebrating a goal last season, will be counted on heavily for offense in the 2014 season. File Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Haba was second on the team last year with six goals (14 points), while Hernandez had five goals and Parra added four.
Blaise Haba, seen here scoring last season, will need to find the back of the goal often if the Westies are to advance to the state tournament in 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies will also need to be strong defensively. Leading the charges in the back are seniors Michael Smith, Selim Turkmen and junior Kevin Ruiz. Ruiz had two goals and three assists in 2013.
The defense will look to come up big, protecting goalkeepers Dan Prendergast (senior) and junior Garfield Robinson.
Last season, Prendergast stopped 89 of 107 shots for a 83% save percentage, while Robinson stopped 11 of 13 shots in limited action.
Dan Prendergast (red) will be counted on to be the backbone of the Westies in 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven opens the 2014 season Tuesday, September 9 at home against Jonathan Law at 7:30 p.m.
Salah Oumorou with a bicycle kick against Fairfield Prep, October 25, 2014. Double click to see full screen.
Salah Oumorou gives West Haven a 2-1 lead over Staples, November 5, 2014. Double click to view full screen.