THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Southern Connecticut Conference All-Quinnipiac Division Team
Back row (from l. to r.) West Haven's Blaise Haba (10), Salah Oumorou (15), Jose Espinoza (6)
Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall to top-seeded Glastonbury in 2nd round of Class LL tournament
By MIKE MADERA
(November 12, 2015) - West Haven boys soccer coach Pete Hamasian knew his team was in for a tough challenge when the Westies traveled to play top-seeded Glastonbury in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament. Hamasian was correct.
Watching as Glastonbury scored the first four goals of the game, West Haven was eliminated from the postseason with a 4-1 loss to the Tomahawks in Glastonbury Thursday afternoon. The loss ends the West Haven season at 12-5-4.
West Haven coach Pete Hamasian (r.) and the Westies fell to Glastonbury in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Today we played with everything we had," Hamasian said. "We just ran into a great team who outplayed us today."
Glastonbury wasted no time taking control of the game, scoring 6 minutes, 49 seconds in for a 1-0 lead. When the Tomahawks scored off a corner kick with 14:33 left in the half, they were in total control of the match.
Controlled by Glastonbury's defense, West Haven had one solid scoring opportunity in the opening half, but Blaise Haba was denied. West Haven had other opportunities with corner kicks in the final minutes of the half, but again was not able to convert.
Blaise Haba (10) and the Westies fell to Glastonbury in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Tomahawks took control of the match less than 10 minutes into the second half with another goal for a 3-0 lead. With West Haven looking to push the offense, Glastonbury added another tally with under 15 minutes to go for a 4-0 advantage.
Ulises Hernandez finally got the Westies on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal with 9:08 remaining, but it was not enough in the 4-1 loss.
Ulises Hernandez (7) and the Westies fell to Glastonbury in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"The season has had its fair share of ups and downs , but we showed our growth by having more postseason success than this program has had in a very long time," Hamasian said.
Garfield Robinson made seven saves in the loss for the Westies.
Oumorou leads Westies
Penalty kick goal lifts WH past Fairfield Warde in 1st round of state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
(November 10, 2015) - West Haven coach Pete Hamasian had his team practicing set pieces in the time leading up to the postseason. That practice paid handsome dividends Tuesday evening.
With a set piece leading to Fairfield Warde committing a hand ball in the box, West Haven's Salah Oumorou capitalized to lead No, 16 West Haven to a 1-0 victory over No. 17 Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament at West Haven High. West Haven advances to the second round, where it will travel to play top-seeded Glastonbury Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.
"We talked about the fact we have worked on our set pieces," Hamasian said after his team improved to 12-4-4. "We definitely got to that set piece and we were able to capitalize on it. We knew we may not get as many opportunities as we normally would, but we had to capitalize when we did. The set piece forced a hand ball and Salah (Oumorou) capitalized."
Ready to take the shot, Oumorou already had an idea of where he was going. When Fairfield Warde goalkeeper Matthew Skelton dove to his right, Oumorou had an easy shot into the lower right corner 1 minute, 59 seconds into the second half for a 1-0 advantage.
Salah Oumorou (15) scores on a penalty kick against Fairfield Warde, November 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I had a plan," Oumorou said after scoring his team-leading 31st goal of the season. "I was not going to change that. I just went there and knew I had to do what I do."
While Oumorou provided the lone goal for the Westies, it was the play of senior goalkeeper Garfield Robinson which keyed the West Haven victory. Robinson posted his sixth shutout of the season, making six saves, two in incredible fashion in the second half.
With 10:40 gone by in the second half, the Mustangs' Jason Deck ripped an angle shot from 10 yards out which Robinson denied to preserve the lead.
The Mustangs, who controlled a majority of play in the game, had a golden opportunity to even the game with 21:55 remaining. Senior John McCormick ripped a rocket from 20 yards out, which was turned away by Robinson as well.
Garfield Robinson makes one of his six saves against Fairfield Warde, November 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I just stayed focused the whole game," Robinson said. "I knew I had to be big in net. I had to be aggressive and give them only a small area to look at. I had to be big. This is a big win for us, but it is just step one of five. We have big goals ahead of us."
The Mustangs continued the pressure in the final minutes, but West Haven's defenders did a fine job blocking shots. Robinson stopped a header from Anthony Zarienga from 15 yards out with 17:10 to go, then watched as the Westies blocked a free kick from 25 yards out with 3:40 remaining.
"I thought the team played exceptionally well," Fairfield Warde coach Justin Ottavio said after his team fell to 9-5-4. "We possessed the ball well. Unfortunately for us, the ball did not bounce our way. We wish them luck."
West Haven had three chances to extend the lead in the second half, but could not do so. Blaise Haba was denied from 35 yards out by Skelton 16:50 into the second half, sophomore Ty Reeves shot wide off a volley from five yards out with 18:15 to go and Ivan Lopez saw his shot denied six minutes later.
"This is huge for us," Hamasian said. "My biggest fear was we would be hung up on the Shelton loss (SCC championship game). But, we were able to overcome that."
The Mustangs controlled play for a majority of the first half, but never took the lead. Hunter Rempe drilled a shot from 40 yards out two minutes in and Luis Cari did not find the back of the goal from in close 10 minutes later.
West Haven had its share of opportunities in the first half, but also did not capitalize.
Oumorou rocketed a shot over the goal from 15 yards out 14 minutes in, and Ulises Hernandez sent Haba in with a perfect lead, but Haba's rushed short hit the left post from inside 10 yards with 12:40 left in the opening half.
Warde's Skelton made two saves in the loss.
Title Hopes Dashed
Shelton tops Westies in SCC finals
By MIKE MADERA
(November 4, 2015) - Shelton coach Joe D'Auria says he never makes a game plan around one player. D'Auria may never have had to play a player like West Haven's Salah Oumorou in the team's biggest game of the season.
The Shelton coach was forced to change his thinking when the fifth-seeded Gaels played sixth-seeded West Haven in the Southern Connecticut Conference title game at East Haven High Thursday evening.
Altering his defense to account for the high-scoring of West Haven's spectacular junior Oumorou, the move paid off as Shelton used a second half goal by Mikey Sciortino to defeat the Westies 3-2. Shelton's first league title comes in its first ever SCC championship game appearance.
"They have a dynamic player and you have to prepare for him," D'Auria said of Oumorou. "We left our defensive center-mid in his shape, which is Jimmy Hunter. He contained him. We wanted to keep them to the outside flanks. We knew he was very tough. He is the only player we have prepared for ever. He is probably one of the better players I have seen in high school ball."
With a game plan of shutting down Oumorou, the Gaels also knew they would need a balanced attack to pick up their first win of the year against the Westies as two regular season matches produced just one goal in a 1-0 loss and a 1-1 tie.
While three combined goals were scored between the two teams in the regular season, the first half was wide open with each team producing highlight-reel goals and a 2-2 tie.
A long cross by Shelton's Jay Shea found a surging Ryan Smith 12 minutes, 46 seconds into the game for a 1-0 advantage.
"That first goal was tremendous," D'Auria said. "Right after, we flattened out and they took advantage of it."
With the defensive efforts of Justin Widomski, Jimmy Hunter and Liam Keary, Oumorou and Blaise Haba did not get a quality shot in the first 18 minutes of the game.
That would change 5:17 after Smith's goal when West Haven's Ulises Hernandez ripped a shot off the crossbar from 20 yards out and Oumorou scooped up the loose ball to even the game at one with his 30th tally of the season.
Salah Oumorou (15) scores against Shelton in the SCC finals, November 4, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"They do a great job for us," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said of Hernandez and Haba. "They play any position for us. They help the team in so many ways."
After West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson made two big saves within a minute to keep the game even, West Haven went ahead when Haba hustled past the Shelton defense, got the ball through Shelton goalkeeper Casey Cisero and scored his 13th goal of the year for a 2-1 advantage with 16:16 left in the half.
Blaise Haba (10) scores against Shelton in the SCC finals, November 4, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Gaels would not allow another shot by the Westies.
A bigger and stronger defense kept West Haven out of the middle and Connor Prindle's goal with 10:49 left in the first half felt like the go-ahead goal instead of the equalizer for the Gaels due to the defensive play.
"Their goalkeeper kept them in the game," D'Auria said of the Westies. "Their defense is not as strong as their midfield and offense. Their goalkeeper kept them in the game."
Robinson was forced to help the Westies as they had just two scoring opportunities in the second half and got to see what a game of inches really means.
"I can't say enough about the defense," D'Auria said. "They have done a tremendous job all year long."
Less than a minute into the second half, Haba and Oumorou got loose for just one of the few times in the game. Haba sent a beautiful cross through the crease which went inches past the foot of Oumorou, who had an easy tap-in attempt into an open net.
While the second half was a midfield game, Shelton squeezed out some quality chances. The best opportunity in the first twenty minutes of the second half came off a scramble in front, but Robinson punched the shot away.
Sciortino's shot from long range through a crowd of players would be the only shot to dent the back of the net and ruined a stellar effort by Robinson.
"To ask a kid in his senior year to step in and be a varsity goalkeeper is asking a lot," Hamasian said. "He is being asked to not make a mistake.That is a tall task. He kept us in the game."
For as good as the Shelton defense was all night, the Gaels ride to their first league title needed the help of the crossbar with 7:15 remaining. While Oumorou used the help of the crossbar in the first half to score West Haven's first goal, the crossbar was the enemy this time.
Faced with a free kick, Oumorou lifted a rocket over the wall and Cisero, but his shot hit the crossbar and went out of play.
"The guys on this team have never been in this position before," Hamasian said of his team which fell to 11-4-4. "I think the moment got to them. We responded with two goals in the first half, but the second half was more of the same."
Robinson made seven saves in the game for West Haven, including three in the pivotal second half. With the solid play of the Shelton defense, Cisero was not credited with a save in the contest.
"We made mistakes and they capitalized," Hamasian said. "The kid (Sciortino) hit a great shot. Unfortunately, we made more mistakes than we finished today."
Read Doug Bonjour's article in the Connecticut Post here.
Read Joe Morelli's article at GameTimeCT here.
On to the Finals
Haba, Oumorou score to lead WH past Prep in SCC semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
(November , 2015) - West Haven's Blaise Haba and Salah Oumorou had plenty of motivation playing Fairfield Prep Monday afternoon. Having a loss and a tie with the Jesuits this season and falling early to the Jesuits last season in the league tournament, redemption was clearly on the minds of the Westies.
Haba and Oumorou got their wish as each scored in a 2-0 West Haven victory over the Jesuits in the Southern Connecticut Conference semifinals Monday afternoon at Rafferty Stadium in Fairfield.
With the win, No. 6 West Haven will play fifth-seeded Shelton in the SCC final Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. at East Haven High. The Westies advance to the finals for the first time since 1998 when the league began tournament play.
West Haven coach Pete Hamasian talks to his team at halftime against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"They have everything we wanted," Haba said after scoring his 12th goal. "SCC title, Quinnipiac, everything. They've taken us out of the last two SCC games, so we were ready today, It was revenge. That's what we got. We were so aggressive. That's what coach said on the bus, give everything we got and that's what we did."
The Westies came out a charged up team, taking the play to the Jesuits in the first half. Crisp passing by the Westies produced solid scoring chances, including a shot by Ulises Hernandez from 20 yards out and another from Haba from ten yards out less than two minutes apart. Each shot was denied by Fairfield Prep goalkeeper Daniel Szabo less than 15 minutes into the game.
The Westies finally converted with 16:15 remaining in the half when Kevin Ruiz fed Haba who fought through the Prep defense and ripped a rocket past Szabo for a 1-0 lead.
Blaise Haba (10) fights through the defense, scores......
....and celebrates against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We just kept preaching 'You can't play scared.'," Hamasian said after his team improved to 11-3-4. "The last time we played them we'd get a lead and then we'd just sit back and try to defend it., playing not to lose. Today, I think we played to win."
With the lead, the Westies turned to goalkeeper Garfield Robinson. The senior goalkeeper came up big, stopping 11 shots and posting his fifth shutout of the year.
The Jesuits looked to get the equalizer in the latter part of the first half, but could not get a shot past Robinson. Connor Fitzgerald watched as his header was stopped in front with 9:20 left in the half and Julio Ojea Quintana was stopped from 20 yards out on a free kick with a diving save by Robinson.
Garfield Robinson makes a diving save against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I thought we totally outplayed them," Fairfield Prep coach Ryan Lyddy said after his team fell to 14-3-1. "They had two chances and they capitalized on them. I think we possessed the ball well. We played hard and the kids didn't give up. That's all we can ask."
The Westies built on their lead early in the second half. After the Jesuits sailed two shots over the goal in the first nine minutes of the second half, Ivan Lopez sent a perfect pass down the field to Oumorou.
Oumorou settled the ball, made a quick move, then fired inside the far post for a 2-0 advantage with 26:34 remaining in the game.
Salah Oumorou (15) scores against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We really executed well," Hamasian said. "Prep has a great defense so we weren't able to have as much success as we've had in the past, but we got an opportunity. We capitalized and that's what good teams do and that's what we needed to get the job done today."
Back on Track
Westies shut out Cheshire and will face Fairfield Prep in SCC semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
(October 31, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team could not have been happy with the way the regular season ended, a shutout loss at Lyman Hall. Salah Oumorou and his teammates did something about it.
Scoring four times, Oumorou led the Westies to a 5-0 victory over Cheshire in the quarterfinals of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament at Cheshire Saturday afternoon. With the win, West Haven advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament at Fairfield Prep Monday afternoon.
Salah Oumorou (15) scored four times against Cheshire, October 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I couldn't have asked for my team to play any better," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said after his team improved to 10-3-4. "We controlled the game throughout."
Oumorou gave the Westies a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the first half. Off an assist from Blaise Haba, Oumorou scored with 7 minutes, 36 seconds left in the half.
The Westies, who held a 16-5 shot advantage n the game, took control of the game within the first 11 minutes of the second half, scoring three times for a 4-0 advantage.
Haba set up Oumorou 4:45 into the half, before Ulises Hernandez scored off an assist from Jonathan Ortiz 2:43 later.
Blaise Haba (10) against Cheshire, October 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Haba and Oumorou hooked up again as Oumorou scored 11:45 into the second half for a 4-0 advantage. When Oumorou scored an unassisted goal with 14:35 remaining, West Haven punched its ticket to the semifinals.
Abdoul Aremu (11) and the Westies celebrate a goal against Cheshire, October 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Garfield Robinson made five saves in the shutout for the Westies.
Trojans sweep Westies
WH ends season with 2-0 loss to Lyman Hall
By MIKE MADERA
(October 29, 2015) - The last time West Haven and Lyman Hall met on a soccer field three weeks ago, there was a nice competitive battle between the teams’ top players in Lyman Hall’s Bairon Chavez and West Haven’s Salah Oumorou. The two kept going at it in a competition which displayed both players’ talents.
While Chavez and his teammates got the best of the Westies that night, there would be no such battle when Lyman Hall completed the season sweep with a 2-0 victory Thursday afternoon in Wallingford.
In a postseason tune up for both teams, West Haven, playing without top scorers Oumorou and Blaise Haba, saw its four game winning streak snapped and fell to 9-3-4 to end the regular season.
Oumorou missed the regular season finale with an undisclosed injury, while Haba was forced to sit out after receiving his third yellow card of the season when taking his shirt off in celebration of a goal against Hamden in West Haven’s last contest.
“It was difficult to play without such key players, but I was pleased with how other people filled in and gave their best effort.” West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said of the absence of Oumorou and Haba.
West Haven's Kevin Ruiz (12) and Ivan Lopez (8), seen here earlier in the season, could not pull out the victory against Lyman Hall, October 29, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lyman Hall won the game in the first half when the Trojans took the play to the Westies. Lyman Hall needed just three minutes to find the back of the net and never let the Westies in the contest in the first 40 minutes.
The Trojans, who shut out West Haven in both contests, opened the scoring three minutes in when junior Jonathan Beaucejour beat West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson.
“We have been playing really good,” Lyman Hall coach Arnie Jandreau said after his team improved to 6-7-3. “We have a lot of confidence out there. The young kids and the older kids have stepped up.”
Lyman Hall had plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half, but did not take a 2-0 lead until six minutes remained in the opening half. Senior Angel Dominguez ripped a rocket past Robinson, giving the Trojans enough for the win.
The Trojans, which have defeated Amity, North Haven and West Haven twice for its six wins, owned the first half, but West Haven flipped the script in the second half.
Only Lyman Hall goalkeeper Brendan O’Connell stood in the way of a West Haven comeback as he denied a rocket from Ivan Lopez four minutes in and another from Lopez four minutes later. West Haven’s best opportunity in the second half came when Ulises Hernandez sent a perfect cross in front, but Abdoul Aremu could not convert.
“I thought we did a great job in the second half to try and battle back,” Hamasian said. “We created a ton of opportunities. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
While the regular season was a success for Hamasian and the Westies, the only focus now is getting the bad taste of two stunning postseason losses from a year ago wiped away. With deep runs envisioned in both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments a year ago, a disappointing loss to Fairfield Prep in the SCC tournament and a sudden crushing loss to Staples in the state tournament ended a banner year too early.
“We tried to wipe those losses from our minds this year,” Hamasian said of the postseason losses. “But, I am sure there are guys who used those losses as motivation for postseason success this year.”
One year removed, the Westies fell they have the weapons and the right people in place to advance deep in both tournaments. While West Haven has played well on defense and has a solid goalkeeper in Robinson, who has made 101 saves and posted four shutouts, ultimately the high-octane offense will be the key.
“This year, more than anything, we have played as a unit defensively,” Hamasian said. “Last year, we had good defense, but too many times we left people open in bad areas. We have definitely played well as a unit this year. Garfield has played well. He has done an excellent job.”
That offense is led by Oumorou, who has a team-leading 24 goals and 53 points in the regular season. Haba, another goal-scoring threat has 11 goals, six assists and 28 points, while Kevin Ruiz and Lopez each have three goals. Haba and Hernandez have done a nice job distributing the ball with six assists apiece.
“Obviously, in the postseason, we know we are going to see the best of every team,” Hamasian said. “We may not score three or four goals a game. We have to stick to what we have been doing. We certainly have the firepower. We need to close games better. We have had issues of getting the lead, and giving it up. We have to finish better.”
Chavez and the Trojans snapped a three-game winless skid with the victory at Lyman Hall. Lyman Hall enters the postseason with the final seed in the Class L state tournament awaiting.
For Jandreau and the Trojans, the season has been all about gaining experience. With a youthful team following a first round exit last season and a Class M semifinal departure two years past, the Lyman Hall coach is building the team up once again.
“We are not supposed to be here this year,” Jandreau said about the postseason. “We had a great year last year and we lost a lot of players. But, we have fought every single game. We have a lot of different players scoring. We have Bairon Chavez and Angel Dominguez as our top two. Everybody is switching positions. We might have switched everyone four times. Everybody plays a different position depending on the team we are playing. Bairon (Chavez) has played sweeper, stopper, center/midfield, forward. Angel (Dominguez) has been at forward and midfield. Jose Dominguez has done the same thing.”
For the Trojans, success has been achieved as this team may have exceeded expectations, advancing to the tournament. The key has been teamwork, which will need to stay intact if Lyman Hall is to advance.
“We have played as a team,” Jandreau said. “We have seen a couple of games where we have been pummeled really bad and come back the next time we played the same team. Shelton took us out pretty bad the first time (9-0) and we put our younger kids in to get experience. The second game was a perfect example as they only beat us 2-0. As a whole, we have fought to get where we are.”
While Lyman Hall has gotten scoring from different players, the key will be keeping the ball out of the goal defensively. The Trojans have allowed almost twice as many goals as they have scored, having been outscored 38-21.
A late-season switch may be the key. Since putting senior O’Connell in goal five games ago, Lyman Hall has allowed just six goals, going 2-2-1.
“Brendan O’Connell has done well since he has been in goal the last four games,” Jandreau said. “He has two shutouts and a tie. We lost a 2-0 game (Shelton). As a whole, we are definitely very organized right now. We have multiple people chipping in doing well.
“I really am proud. We have fought to get where we are. We look at eight of our games and they are against the five best teams in the state. Twelve games are against the top fifteen teams in the state. Cheshire is number three and we tied them and lost 4-3. I think we scored the most goals in a game against them this year.”
While each team plans to stay in the postseason as long as possible, Jandreau can take solace in knowing the lower seed will be a distant memory over the next two years when the younger players become upperclassmen.
“The younger kids have learned a lot,” Jandreau said. “The whole team as a whole has learned a lot. I can’t even say next year is the year. But, in two years, this is going to be a great team. A lot of younger kids are getting great experience. Our subs are freshmen and sophomores. We are having a lot of fun. I am enjoying it a lot. I can’t say enough about this team. The depth is shallow, but this team goes hard. "
Westies nip Green Dragons
Haba and Oumorou spark 2-1 win
By MIKE MADERA AND GUILHERME BERTHI
(October 26, 2015) - West Haven coach Pete Hamasian wants his boys soccer team peaking at the right time of the year. With the postseason days away, Hamasian may be getting his wish.
Paced by a goal and an assist apiece from Salah Oumorou and Balise Haba, West Haven won its fourth straight game and improved to 5-0-1 in its last six games with a 2-1 victory over Hamden at Hamden High Monday evening.
The win allows the Westies to improve to 9-2-4 with one more regular season contest remaining Thursday afternoon at Lyman Hall.
"We knew Hamden was a solid team, but we discussed if we could get a first half lead that we would then be able to dictate the game which proved true," Hamasian said.
The West Haven boys soccer team, seen here prior to Senior Night against Notre Dame, is poised for a postseason run. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the contest when Salah Oumorou scored his team-leading 24th goal of the season off an assist from Blaise Haba. Haba's assist put him in a tie for the team lead in assists with Ulises Hernandez as each have six.
Oumorou and Haba were at it again when Oumorou set up Haba for a 2-0 lead. Walter Fontes scored late in the game for the Green Dragons, but it was not enough as the Westies posted their ninth win of the season.
The game began with Hamden retaining most of the possession of the ball, but all of its efforts to score did not produce a goal. In the first half, Hamden was unable to produce more than one shot on target thanks to the West Haven defense and goalkeeper Garfield Robinson getting in the way of multiple crosses before they could be completed.
West Haven felt the pressure of not being able to get a hold of the ball for long and knew it needed to do something to change the outcome of the game.
That something came within 14:38 of the game from the goal-hungry duo of Haba and Oumorou. Habba dribbled past three Hamden players and sent Oumorou through on goal with a defense-splitting pass. Oumorou did what he does best and got past the last defender, deked the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the back of the net right down the middle.
After the first goal, West Haven managed to retain more possession of the ball and Hamden barely managed to hold on without conceding for the rest of the first half.
The Blue Devils almost scored another goal after Jonathan Ortiz dribbled past his mark and played in a perfectly executed cross with his weak foot toward the box. The cross by Ortiz found Oumorou, whose header sent the crowd into a frenzy but hit the post.
In the second half, Hamden played more aggressively as the Green Dragons chased the equalizer and both teams battled to find the decisive goal.
Haba once again had the answer as he set up a quick give-and-go between him and Oumorou, then attacked the end line with a burst of speed. Haba fainted to the right to leave space between him and his defender and rocketed a shot into the top right corner of the goal to put West Haven up 2-0 at 68:11.
The West Haven goal seemed to fire up the Green Dragons as they put the Westies and Robinson under pressure. The Green Dragons almost got one on a corner kick, but defender Luis Alvarez made a tremendous goal line save.
West Haven played the rest of the game by making smart defensive decisions and forcing Hamden into bad positions. Just when Robinson thought he would receive another clean sheet, the Green Dragons were awarded a penalty with nine seconds remaining and Fontes converted.
Robinson, who was solid in goal for West Haven, made plenty of outstanding saves to keep Hamden scoreless. Robinson finished with nine saves.
Westies top Notre Dame 3-1
By MIKE MADERA
(October 23, 2015) - West Haven coach Pete Hamasian and the boys soccer team honored its seniors prior to Friday evening's game against Notre Dame. When the festivities were over, it was business as usual for the Westies.
After a slow start, West Haven rallied to defeat the Green Knights 3-1 at Ken Strong Stadium. With the win, West Haven improved to 8-2-4 with its third straight victory.
"Notre Dame was lucky enough to get an early goal and then decided to just defend the rest of the game," Hamasian said. "But, we continued to fight back to erase the lead and get a big rivalry win."
Jonathan Ortiz (20) against Notre Dame, October 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The win for the Westies allowed them to sweep the season series against the Green Knights. West Haven defeated Notre Dame 3-0 in late September.
The Green Knights scored the only goal of the first half when Americo Mendes scored an unassisted goal at the ten minute mark. The goal by Mendes was the only shot the Green Knights could muster past West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson, who finished the contest with six saves.
Luis Alvarez against Notre Dame, October 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven took control of the game with three second half goals. Salah Oumorou opened the scoring with a penalty kick goal 19 minutes in, then scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season off an assist from Abdoul Aremu 11 minutes later for a 2-1 advantage.
When Blaise Haba set up Kevin Ruiz four minutes later, the Westies were in control with a 3-1 lead.
Tyler Brown-Ortiz made eight saves in the loss for Notre Dame.
Oumorou lifts Westies
Junior scores 4 goals in 9-1 win over Cross
By MIKE MADERA
(October 21, 2015) - West Haven soccer coach Pete Hamasian called a team meeting for his squad yesterday. The purpose of the conference was to remind his team of last year's early departures from both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments.
The meeting focused on what the Westies needed to do this season to avoid the sadness felt at the end of last season. Pushing the play and playing solid team defense were at the top of the list.
If one game is any indication, Hamasian and his coaching staff got through to the Westies.
Behind four goals and two assists from junior Salah Oumorou, and two goals and an assist from Ivan Lopez, the Westies pounded Wilbur Cross 9-1 in a SCC contest at Ken Strong Stadium Wednesday evening.
Salah Oumorou (15) scores against Wilbur Cross, October 21, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We had a team meeting yesterday," Hamasian said. "We just reminded them we wanted to be playing our best soccer at the end of the season. We peaked too early last year. We can't look past any opponent and we need to play our game. The point of emphasis was putting the pressure on and working hard."
Oumorou and company were ready to show Hamasian they received the message as the Westies scored four times in the first half and cruised from there.
Oumorou wasted no time getting the Westies on the scoreboard as he scored the first goal of the contest off a penalty kick at the 12 minute mark. Oumorou was far from done as his four goals give him a team-leading 21 on the season.
Using a defense which was relentless and forcing the issue back up the field, West Haven used its defense to start offensive opportunities. That plan worked to perfection when Ulises Hernandez came up the field, sent a perfect ball to Lopez, and Lopez scored from in front 16 minutes, 19 seconds into the contest for a 2-0 advantage.
Ivan Lopez (8) scores against Wilbur Cross, October 21, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This team we played tonight was fast, big and more physical than us tonight," Cross coach Edgar Miller said after his team fell to 5-6-2. "They were more physical than us tonight. We did not stand up to their play."
Oumorou helped increase the lead to 3-0 with 16:55 remaining in the opening half as he sent a perfect lead to Abdoul Aremu, who made a quick move, then shot into an empty net.
"We have seen it the last five games," Hamasian said of his team's offense. "This offense can be dynamic."
Oumorou closed the scoring in the opening half when Oumorou took a feed from Marcus Anyafulu, broke in to the Cross end and chipped in a shot for a 4-0 advantage.
After Lopez scored his second of the game off a free kick 10:32 into the second half, West Haven put the game away with an offensive barrage in the final 17 minutes.
Hernandez increased the lead to 6-0 when he took a perfect cross from Oumorou and tapped in a quick shot. Just 33 seconds later, Oumorou stole the ball from 15 yards out, dribbled in and snuck a low shot in for a 7-0 advantage.
"This is what the postseason is like," Miller said. "These are the teams you are going to face. You have to deal with games like this. We have to learn and grow from this."
Cross finally got on the scoreboard with 15:05 remaining when Mohamed Kourouma worked hard down the left sideline and ripped a hard shot by West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson to the top corner.
West Haven needed less than a minute to answer as Blaise Haba scored off an assist from Mo Togbah with 14:09 to go. Oumorou capped the scoring with his fourth goal of the game off an assist from Lopez with under 13 minutes remaining.
Robinson made three saves in the win for West Haven.
Westies top Falcons
Oumorou scores twice in 4-1 win
By MIKE MADERA
(October 19, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team is looking to get on a roll for the postseason. Fresh off a tie against Fairfield Prep, the Westies paid a visit to Middletown, where they defeated Xavier 4-1 Monday evening.
"It was a great team win," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said after his team improved to 6-2-4. "We were missing several key guys for various reasons and it was good to see some of our younger guys step up when they were called upon."
2015 West Haven team photo. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Salah Oumorou scored twice, while Blaise Haba and Kevin Ruiz each scored once. Ulises Hernandez and Jonathan Ortiz picked up assists in the win. Garfield Robinson made five saves for the Westies.
West Haven, which had 10 shots in the game, led throughout, taking a 2-0 lead in the first half and increasing the margin to 4-0 in the second half, before Xavier scored with 25 minutes to go in the game.
The Westies took a 1-0 lead at the 17 minute mark when Hernandez set up Haba for the opening goal. Ortiz then set up Oumorou for a 2-0 lead 11 minutes later.
Leading 2-0 at the half, West Haven increased the lead to three goals 10 minutes into the second half. Oumorou scored off an assist from Ruiz, before Ruiz scored on a penalty kick four minutes later.
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All-State Players - Luigi Cappetta '88; Eric Soares '97; Dave Forero '99; Carlos Caracas '00; Matt Gilman '02; Salah Oumorou '14
Salah Oumorou (15) scores on a penalty kick against Fairfield Warde, November 10, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Salah Oumorou scores against Shelton in the SCC finals, November 4, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Blaise Haba scores against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Abdoul Aremu (11) scores against Wilbur Cross, October 21, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Ivan Lopez (8) scores against Wilbur Cross, October 21, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Salah Oumorou scores against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Blaise Haba scores to even the game at two against Sheehan, October 10, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
Garfield Robinson makes a diving save against Fairfield Prep in the SCC semifinals, November 2, 2015. Double click to view full screen.
BOYS SOCCER 2015
Oumorou and Westies tie Prep
Second straight 3-goal game helps WH earn tie
By MIKE MADERA AND GUILHERME BERTHI
(October 13, 2015) - With a high-tempo offense, the West Haven boys soccer team has produced its share of offense this season. The trio of Salah Oumorou, Ulises Hernandez and Blaise Haba has proved tough for opposing teams.
Tuesday evening was no different as Oumorou scored three times, while Haba and Hernandez each picked up assists, in a 3-3 tie against Fairfield Prep at Ken Strong Stadium.
The draw was bittersweet for the Westies as they had the lead three separate times, but could not hold on for the victory. The tie was also a step in the right direction against a team which has proved to be tough on West Haven the past couple of years, including last season's Southern Connecticut Conference tournament.
"It was a game of ups and downs," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said after his team moved to 5-2-4. "We had the lead three separate times and would have loved to come away with the win, but was definitely pleased with how we played and are progressing."
Oumorou produced his second consecutive three-goal game and leads the Westies with 15 goals and 32 points. Haba and Hernandez each have four assists on the season.
Salah Oumorou (15) scores one of his three goals (above)....
then celebrates against Fairfield Prep, October 13, 2015. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Blue Devils started off strong, putting Fairfield Prep under pressure. The Jesuits had their chances, but the Westies kept Prep on its own half.
Oumorou gave the Westies a 1-0 lead in the first half when he scored off an assist from Haba in the 24th minute.
A Fairfield Prep defender attempted to keep the ball in play, leaving Haba wide open. Haba played the ball into Oumorou, who drove the ball into the bottom left corner.
The first half ended with West Haven putting six shots on target and Fairfield Prep only one.
In the second half, West Haven continued to press forward, looking to increase its lead. The one-goal lead remained until the second half as Prep's Jack Oricoli scored the first of his two goals 23 minutes in.
The Jesuits managed to get a breakaway from a clearance on a free kick. Prep took advantage of the empty space and Oricoli evened the contest.
West Haven answered by scoring another goal less than a minute later. Oumorou received the ball from Ivan Lopez, cut back, dribbled across the 18 looking for space, then drilled another shot into the left corner of the goal.
After Prep evened the game within two minutes, Oumorou again had the Westies on top when he scored off an assist from Hernandez with seven minutes to go.
West Haven's Ivan Lopez (8), Jose Cruz (5) and goalkeeper Garfield Robinson defend against Fairfield Prep, October 13, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Oumorou received the pass from Hernandez, turned towards the goal, dribbled past the defense, and finished with finesse into the left corner for his third goal.
West Haven could not hold on to the lead for the third time as the Jesuits once again rallied. Oricoli's second goal of the game in the 76th minute evened the game for the final time.
Garfield Robinson made two saves in the draw for West Haven.
Junior scores three times in comeback victory
By MIKE MADERA
(October 10, 2015) - Trailing 2-0 at the half against Sheehan Saturday evening, the West Haven boys soccer team needed a spark. That spark came in the form of junior Salah Oumorou.
Oumorou scored three times and assisted on another as West Haven scored three times in less than three minutes to defeat Sheehan 4-2 at Ken Strong Stadium.
The win was West Haven's fifth of the season and allowed the Westies to improve to 5-2-3.
"We knew this was a turning point in the season and we play with too much heart and passion to just give up at halftime," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "I knew the boys would battle back and they proved me correct."
Trailing by a pair of goals, the Westies immediately put the pressure on to start the second half. The trio of Blaise Haba, Oumorou and Ulises Hernandez guided a West Haven team which carried play in the second half.
After failing to score early, Oumorou got West Haven on the scoreboard in the 14th minute of the second half with a tap in front.
A short time later, with 24:56 left in the second half, Haba continued the pressure and took a feed from Oumorou and found the back of the net to even the game at two.
With the crowd still on its feet, the Westies took the lead. Just 20 seconds after Haba got the equalizer, Oumorou scored his second of the game to give the Westies a 3-2 advantage.
"We changed our game plan at halftime and we knew if we got one goal, the momentum would switch," Hamasian said. "Once it did, we just kept our foot on the gas pedal."
Haba and Oumorou were at it again to close out the scoring as Haba set up Oumorou's hat trick goal for a 4-2 advantage.
Westies fall to Trojans
Lyman Hall posts 1-0 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(October 6, 2015) - Pete Hamasian and his West Haven boys soccer team were starting to get used to a high-octane offense in a four-game winning streak. Two games later and Hamasian has to be wondering where that offense went.
Following a scoreless tie with Hamden Monday evening, the Westies were again shut down, falling to Lyman Hall 1-0 at Ken Strong Stadium Tuesday evening.
Ulises Hernandez (7) and the Westies fell to Lyman Hall, October 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We are playing selfish soccer and something needs to change," Hamasian said after his team fell to 4-2-3. "We are looking for someone to step up and be a leader of this group because the potential is there."
Lyman Hall scored the only goal of the game at the 6:46 mark of the second half, getting a tally from Brendan O'Connell for a 1-0 lead.
Marcus Anyafulu (9) and the Westies fell to Lyman Hall, October 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies could not get the equalizer and for the second straight game were held without a goal. The Westies had nine shots in the game with Lyman Hall goalkeeper Alberto Maio needing to make just six saves in the win.
West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson made four saves in the loss.
WH and Hamden play scoreless contest
By MIKE MADERA
(October 5, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team allowed just one goal in its recent four-game winning streak. Along with the solid defensive play and the goalkeeping of Garfield Robinson, the Westies have received plenty of scoring.
While the defense and goalkeeping of Robinson continued Monday evening, the Westies were unable to produce a goal, playing to a 0-0 draw with Hamden at Ken Strong Stadium.
Blaise Haba (10) looks to pass against Hamden, October 5, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Hamden played a very defensive system and they were satisfied with coming away with a tie," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said after his team moved to 4-1-3. "We had our opportunities to get the win, but it just didn't happen for us today."
Jonathan Ortiz (20) puts the ball in play against Hamden, October 5, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies blank Gaels
Goal by Lopez and Robinson's goalkeeping key 1-0 victory
By GUILHERME BERTHI
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 30, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team has been scoring plenty of goal lately, including 15 in its last three wins. Wednesday night, it was the defense and goalkeeping of Garfield Robinson which stole the show.
Stopping everything which came his way, Robinson recorded saves and helped West Haven post a 1-0 victory over Shelton at Ken Strong Stadium.
The Westies, who improved to 4-1-2 with the win, used a goal by Ivan Lopez ten minutes into the second half to secure the victory.
Ivan Lopez, seen here against Notre Dame, scored West Haven's lone goal in a win over Shelton, September 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We are known for being an offensive team, but the hero was Garfield Robinson," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "He made amazing saves throughout the night that allowed us a chance to steal the win."
Garfield Robinson, seen here against Notre Dame, was stellar in goal in a win over Shelton, September 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The home game against Shelton was a strange one for the Blue Devils. The Gaels did what West Haven is accustomed to doing to the opposition.
From the beginning, the Gaels kept the Blue Devils in their own defensive half of the field. Shelton seemed to be relaxed, while the Blue Devils were on their toes, attempting to win the ball back.
West Haven did not see the ball for the most part of the first half, and few passes were completed. It seemed as West Haven could not win a ball in the air. West Haven would repeatedly receive a goal kick, and immediately lose possession of the ball. The Gaels took advantage of this and bombarded the defense with shots. Shelton's attempts were just not enough to get past West Haven's captain and goalkeeper, Garfield Robinson.
After an outstanding defensive effort from Jose Espinoza, William Foley, Jose Cruz, Jonathan Ortiz and Robinson, there is not doubt the Westies are not just an attacking juggernaut. Robinson saved his team from conceding multiple times as the first half ended scoreless.
West Haven did not have a single shot on goal, while Shelton had five shots and countless goal-scoring opportunities. After some inspiring words from the coaches, the Westies started the second half with a different energy. West Haven retained much more possession of the ball and was determined to switch the game to be in its favor.
Ty Reeves, Ian Cooke and midfielder Ivan Lopez helped the team win more 50/50 balls. The Westies still felt like they needed a miracle if they were to win this game, and Lopez delivered.
West Haven was awarded its second corner kick of the game after a shot was deflected by a Gael defender. In the 46th minute, Lopez stepped up to take it and perfectly drove the ball in from the left corner flag into the top right corner of the net.
The goal from the corner kick was West Haven's first and only shot on target. After the goal, West Haven had more control of the game.
The second half was much less one-sided, but the Gaels still had an endless amount of chances to score. There were plenty of moments where the entire stadium believed Shelton would surely score, only to be denied by remarkable saves from Robinson.
Robinson fought to keep his streak of shutouts going, after another game where he recorded a 100 percent save accuracy.
This is West Haven's third shutout and fourth win in a row.
Best of the West
Westies blank Notre Dame 3-0
By MIKE MADERA
(September 28, 2015) - West Haven coach Pete Hamasian envisioned his team being a fast-paced squad, taking the play to opponents with its skilled players. After a slow start to the season, Hamasian and the Westies may finally be on track.
Scoring twelve times in picking up its first two wins of the season, West Haven rode the offensive outburst by scoring three more times in a 3-0 victory over cross-town rival Notre Dame Monday afternoon at Veterans Field.
Blaise Haba (10) celebrates a goal against Notre Dame, September 28, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"The last three games, we finally found our rhythm," Hamasian said after his team's third straight win. "I thought today was the most possession we have had in any game. I thought it was a balanced team effort. We have been preaching an up tempo style. We want to dictate the style of play. This is exactly what we envisioned. Our first three games we were not where we wanted to be. I think it was an eye opener."
The Westies have scored 15 goals in their last three games, all victories. Monday afternoon was no different as the Westies scored twice in the first half and added another by Salah Oumorou in the second half to post the victory.
Oumorou scored his team-leading eighth and ninth goals of the season and Blaise Haba added another. The combination would prove to be too tough for the Green Knights.
Kevin Ruiz (12) against Notre Dame, September 28, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"They are a good team," Notre Dame coach Rudy Raffone said after his team fell to 2-2-3. "They are more skilled. We have seven freshmen and sophomores out there. They are bigger, faster and stronger. He (Hamasian) has to be happy with the way they are playing."
West Haven wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring just 5 minutes, 55 seconds into the contest for a 1-0 lead. Marcus Anyafulu found Oumorou in front and Oumorou drilled a shot past Notre Dame goalkeeper Tyler Brown-Ortiz,
Haba, who switched positions with Oumorou in the game, gave West Haven a 2-0 lead when he took a feed from Ulises Hernandez 30 yards out and drove in before scoring from 10 yards out with 21:54 left in the opening half.
"We find a lot of teams are game-planning for Salah (Oumorou) so we want to move him around and give them a different look," Hamasian said after his team improved to 3-1-2. "Blaise Haba is another threat for us."
Jose Cruz (5) and the Westies defeated Notre Dame, September 28, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Notre Dame's best scoring opportunity in the first half came with six minutes left in the half, but a free kick by Americo Mendes sailed over the goal from 35 yards out.
The Westies dominated play in the second half, putting pressure on the Green Knights throughout. Oumorou capitalized once again when he took a feed from Jonathan Ortiz down the left side, broke to the middle and fired a shot to the lower right corner for a 3-0 lead.
"Coach told us to focus on playing as a team," Oumorou said. "We are a family. We play like a family. That is why we win. We know we have each other. We work hard and we just wanted to put pressure on them. We wanted to be non-stop pressure on them."
West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson made three saves in the shutout. Brown-Ortiz made 13 saves in the loss for the Green Knights.
Westies top Cross
Scoring outburst continues
By GUILHERME BERTHI
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 25, 2015) - West Haven showed once more just how dangerous it is to its opposition, scoring early and often in a 5-0 win over Wilbur Cross. West Haven dominated the game from start to finish once more.
West Haven spent very little time without possession of the ball. When the Westies lost possession, it was quickly retained. Cross goalkeeper Tyler Fernandez made a couple of big saves to stop West Haven forward Salah Oumorou, but his efforts just were not enough.
Blaise Haba (10), Salah Oumorou (15) and Ulises Hernandez (7) celebrate a West Haven goal against Wilbur Cross, September 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The first goal came in the eighth minute of the first half, after a save from Fernandez was rebounded to Abdoul Aremu. Aremu baited the Cross defenders and goalkeeper, and lobbed a pass right to Blaise Haba, who headed the ball into an empty net.
West Haven had plenty more goal-scoring opportunities in the first half, and they were just unlucky to not convert. The second and last goal of the first half came from Kevin Ruiz in the 37th minute.
Oumorou played a ball into space out wide to Ruiz who dribbled the ball up to the center of the box. Ruiz took on two Cross defenders, got past them with ease after some flashy dribbling, and finessed the ball past the reach of the keeper.
At halftime, head coach Pete Hamasian mentioned that a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous score in sports, and to keep the momentum, the Blue Devils would need to score an early goal.
"Our defense was very impressive, especially early which allowed us to get a first half lead and we never looked back," Hamasian said.
The boys seemed to listen as Oumorou scored a goal less than two minutes into the second half. Haba caused the Cross defenders to panic after some smart movements, which led to the Cross keeper to come off his line. All captain Haba had to do was lay the ball off to Salah who scored his first goal of the game.
Salah Oumorou scores against Wilbur Cross, September 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Haba scored once more in the 56th minute of the game. He received the ball after a deflection off a Cross defender, and made them pay for it.
Oumorou scored the last goal of the game in the 58th minute to make it 5-0. He intercepted a pass between two Cross defenders and bolted down the sideline from midfield.
Salah was once again alone with only the keeper between him and the net. He placed the ball to the bottom right corner of the net for his second goal of the game.
Haba and Oumorou finished the game identical in stats. Both players each scored twice and assisted once. They were not the sole reason for West Haven's success. Wilbur Cross had its own share of opportunities but they were easily countered by a strong back-four and an in-form keeper.
Goalkeeper Garfield Robinson had a flawless game, matching all 10 of Cross's shots on goal with 10 saves.
This is the Blue Devil's first shutout of the season.
Blaise Haba (10) scores against Wilbur Cross, September 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
First of the Season
Westies thump Xavier for first win of year
By GUILHERME BERTHI
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 22, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team started the season slower than it would have liked. The Westies are hoping a 7-1 victory over Xavier Tuesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium is the spark they are looking for.
Salah Oumorou led the offense with three goals and Blaise Haba added two more in the convincing win for the Westies.
Salah Oumorou (15) and Ulises Hernandez (7) celebrate a West Haven goal against Xavier, September 22, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Blaise Haba celebrates a West Haven goal against Xavier, September 22, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Blaise (Haba) and Salah (Oumorou) legitimately set the tone early for us," West Haven head coach Pete Hamasian said after his team improved to 1-1-2. "It was the manner in which they did it. Salah's goal might be the best high school goal I have ever seen. I think that goal demoralized them and energized us."
After a disheartening campaign on the road, it was back to the drawing board for the West Haven soccer team as West Haven tied twice and lost once in its previous three games. Head coach Pete Hamasian rallied the boys to play as a unit, not individually, turning West Haven into a well-oiled machine.
It was apparent Tuesday night as the Blue Devils beat Xavier 7-1. Haba commenced the scoring with less than two minutes having gone by on the clock.
Oumorou contributed with a goal in the 13th minute that quite easily could be a contender for the goal of the season. Ivan Lopez played a lobbed through ball to Oumorou, who then attempted an overhead kick outside of the box. After what felt like an eternity, the ball perfectly found its way to the top right corner of the goal to put the Westies up 2-0.
West Haven dominated the rest of the first half, punishing Xavier for every mistake. In the 29th minute, Haba dribbled the ball up to the top of the box, took advantage of the Xavier defenders huddling up around Oumorou and slotted the ball into the back of the net. The Westies ended the first half with five shots and three goals.
"The early lead was huge for us," Hamasian said. "In the beginning of the year, we knew what type of offense we were going to have. We just had not seen it yet. Before the game, we said we wanted three goals in the first half. We want to get back to the high-powered offense we know we can be. That first half really helped. You could see the confidence of that is how it is supposed to be at the half."
The second half started the same way with Oumorou scoring off a breakaway after a defense-splitting pass from Haba in the 42nd minute. Xavier’s Joe Zacchia scored to make the game 5-1 in the 45th minute.
West Haven answered with another goal in the 48th minute after Ulises Hernandez sent Oumorou on a breakaway, finishing the prominent goal scorer's hat trick.
In the 74th minute, West Haven was awarded a penalty after Marcus Anyafulu was fouled inside the Xavier box. Center-defender Jose Espinoza stepped up to take the penalty and converted to score the first goal of his high school career.
The Blue Devils were not done just yet. Abdoul Aremu dribbled up the left side from midfield and finessed it past the Xavier goalkeeper in the 79th minute to finish the scoring in the game.
Westies fall to Prep
WH loses 4-2 to drop to 0-1-2
By MIKE MADERA
(September 16, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team was looking forward to an early-season test against Fairfield Prep. The last time these two teams met, the Jesuits eliminated the Westies from the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament one season ago.
After starting the season with a pair of ties, the Westies were eager to pick up that first win of the season. West Haven will have to wait as the Jesuits scored the first three goals of the game and cruised to a 4-2 victory over the Westies in Fairfield Wednesday afternoon.
West Haven fell to Fairfield Prep, 4-2, September 16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Trailing 3-0, Blaise Haba scored with 11 minutes, 35 seconds to go in the first half to get within a pair of goals.
Prep's Connor Fitzgerald answered with 2:07 remaining in the half to give the Jesuits a 4-1 lead, which West Haven never threatened.
Salah Oumorou scored 4:09 into the second half, but it was not enough for West Haven in the loss.
Salah Oumorou (15) against Fairfield Prep, September 16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Garfield Robinson made seven saves in the loss for West Haven.
Read about the contest at GameTimeCt here.
Westies tie Shelton
Oumorou scores equalizer
By GUILHERME BERTHI
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 14, 2015) - In tonight's action, West Haven played Shelton for its second away game of the season. West Haven used a goal by Salah Oumorou to gain its second tie of the season in a 1-1 contest.
"It was a tough fought battle, but we continued to show great heart by battling back from a first half deficit," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said.
From the first minute to the last, both teams battled hard. Shelton started off strong and West Haven matched its energy.
However, the Shelton boys capitalized on their opportunities and scored the first goal of the night in the 20th minute. Michael Sciortino received the ball from Connor Prindle at the top of the box, quickly turned, and crashed the ball past West Haven goalkeeper Garfield Robinson.
Robinson, one of three West Haven captains, played a vital role in the game. He ended the night with thirteen saves.
Garfield Robinson made 13 saves in a tie with Shelton, September 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The ball hardly saw any action in midfield during the first half. Most of the game was played on both ends.
In the second half, West Haven's attempts to score finally paid off when the Blue Devils were awarded a penalty in the second minute. Blaise Haba was fouled at the top left corner of the box by a flustered Shelton defender and Oumorou easily converted.
Both teams played extremely physical, and the whistle was blown several times. The night ended with 30 fouls, 17 from Shelton and 13 from West Haven.
West Haven was much more active in the final third in the second half. However, impressive plays from the likes of Ulises Hernandez, Ivan Lopez, and Jonathan Ortiz were not enough to clinch the win in the second half.
Ulises Hernandez, seen here against Sheehan, and the Westies played to a 1-1 tie against Shelton, September 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven had a total of nine shots, but only forced Shelton goalkeeper Casey Cisero to make 3 saves.
West Haven looks to improve its record and get a win on the road against Fairfield Prep on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
Fit to be Tied
Season opens with 2-2 tie with Sheehan
By MIKE MADERA
(September 12, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team opened the season with a 2-2 tie with Sheehan in the season opener in Wallingord Saturday evening.
Not having trailed all preseason, the Westies found themselves down a goal in the second half, but rallied for the tie.
Pete Hamasian and the Westies tied Sheehan, September 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I was very happy," West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. "We were playing without one of our best players, so it was good to see others step up. It was good to see the guys play together as a group and not rely on one guy."
The player Hamasian is talking about is Salah Oumorou,who missed the game for breaking team rules.
"I was very happy to see, after we were down one goal, we did not hang our heads," Hamasian said." I was happy to see us play as a unit."
West Haven took a 1-0 lead just six minutes into the game when Ulises Hernandez set up Blaise Haba for a 1-0 advantage. Behind the goalkeeping of Garfield Robinson, the lead held up for 22 minutes.
Blaise Haba (10) and the Westies tied Sheehan, September 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Garfield Robinson impressed me,"Hamasian said. "This is his first season as the keeper. He did a great job and organized the defense.."
Sheehan evened the game with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. After Hernandez committed a foul, Sheehan was awarded a penalty kick and capitalized when Michael Beale scored.
The Titans took a 2-1 lead five minutes into the second half when Alex Ramirez scored an unassisted goal.
The Westies kept pushing the play and were rewarded with 17 minutes remaining in regulation as Luis Alvarez set up Hernandez for the equalizer.
West Haven celebrates a goal in a 2-2 tie against Sheehan, September 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Blaise is the catalyst for the team," Hamasian said. "He stepped up and used his speed to contribute. He helps build the confidence of the team. He gave us the first goal and we were able to build on it. Ulises Hernandez made the mistake of committing the foul to give them the penalty kick, but he didn't hang his head. He picked up his level of play and got the tying goal.That is all I can ask for."
Robinson finished with eight saves in the tie for West Haven.
Ready to Roll
Westies eager to build off 2014
By MIKE MADERA
(September 6, 2015) - The West Haven boys soccer team had everything going its way in 2014, posting a 13-2-1 record during the regular season. With the play of Salah Oumorou and Blaise Haba, the Westies looked as if they would be a major threat in the postseason.
Salah Oumorou and the Westies are looking to qualify and make a deep run in the 2015 postseason. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
That threat never materialized. Upset in both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments by Fairfield Prep and Staples, respectively, the Westies never got a chance to show the rest of the state what they were made of.
2015 promises to be a different campaign. With Oumorou returning for a junior year following a sophomore campaign which saw him produce 23 goals and 50 points, Oumorou and Haba promise to lead an exciting offense.
Blaise Haba and the Westies are looking to qualify and make a deep run in the 2015 postseason. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read the New Haven Register/GameTimeCt preview by Joe Morelli here.