All-State players - Kelly Stratton '00; Shannon Stratton '03; Joane Amato '03; Melanie Raubeson '03; Alix Sutcliffe '09
Mercy ends postseason hopes with 10-8 win over WH
By MIKE MADERA
(May 19, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team had one final opportunity to qualify for the postseason. Needing a win over Mercy to get in, the Westies were denied as they dropped a 10-8 decision in Middletown Thursday afternoon.
The loss capped a stretch which saw the Westies drop seven of its last eight games to end the season at 6-10.
West Haven coaches Chrystal Fanelli (l.) and Joanie Amato (r.) watch as the season ends against Mercy, May 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mercy, who received four goals from Kylie McCarthy, scored the first four goals of the game and West Haven never recovered in the season-ending defeat. Amanda DiLeonardo, who scored three goals and finished with a team-leading 55 tallies, got West Haven within 4-1 with 10:22 left in the first half, before Gabi Prisco scored her 52nd goal of the season seconds later to get the Westies within two.
The Tigers never wavered, scoring the next three goals for a 7-2 advantage. DiLeonardo scored with 1:06 remaining in the half to get the Westies within 7-3, but the Westies did not have enough to get the equalizer in the second half.
Mary Mcdaniel, Cailynn Joyner and Carlie Tammaro scored to get West Haven within 8-6 in the second half. Tammaro added her second tally and DiLeonardo her third late in the contest.
Gabi Prisco and the Westies fell against Mercy, May 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco finished the season with a team-leading 18 assists and 70 points. Nicole Gaston made five saves in the loss.
Westies fall to Sheehan
Titans spoil Senior Night with 12-11 win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 18, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team was hoping to send the seniors out on a high note in what was likely the last home game the group would play at Ken Strong Stadium. Sheehan had other ideas.
Scoring eight times in the first half, the Titans defeated the Westies 12-11 on Senior Night in West Haven. The loss was West Haven's sixth in seven games and dropped the team to 6-9.
Carlie Tammaro (7) and Mary McDaniel celebrate a goal by Tammaro against Sheehan on Senior Night, May 18, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies had to battle from behind for most of the contest as the Titans led 8-5 at the half. West Haven held a 6-4 scoring advantage in the second half, but it was not enough.
Senior Amanda DiLeonardo had a big night, scoring six goals, while Mary McDaniel scored twice, and Carlie Tammaro, Gabi Prisco and Keegan Riccio each scored once.
Amanda DiLeonardo scored six goals against Sheehan on Senior Night, May 18, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco also added three assists and Cailynn Joyner had one helper. Nicole Gaston finished with nine saves in the loss.
Shelton defeats Westies 12-6
By MIKE MADERA
(May 16, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team fell to Shelton Monday 12-6 to drop to 6-8 on the season. The defeat was West Haven's fifth in its last six games.
Amanda DiLeonardo led the West Haven offense with five goals, while Mary McDaniel scored once and Gabi Prisco had an assist. Nicole Gaston made eight saves in the contest.
Shelton took control with an 8-1 lead at the half as DiLeonardo scored West Haven's lone first half goal with 23:17 left in the opening half to get West Haven even at one. The Gaels scored the final seven goals of the half and cruised from there.
Shelton took a 10-1 lead with the first two goals of the second half, before McDaniel got West Haven on the board in the second half. DiLeonardo scored the next three to get West Haven within 10-5, Trailing by six goals, DiLeonardo scored again with 2:23 left, but it was not enough in the loss.
WH falls to Law 15-8
By MIKE MADERA
(May 11, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team was looking to get on a roll in the right direction. That roll did not start on Wednesday.
Traveling to Milford, West Haven fell to Law 15-8. The loss was West Haven's fourth in five games and dropped the team to 6-7 on the year.
Mary McDaniel (32) and the Westies fell to Law, May 11, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mary McDaniel and Amanda DiLeonardo led the offense with three goals apiece, while Gabi Prisco scored twice, including her team-leading 50th tally of the season. Carlie Tammaro and Keegan Riccio each had an assist in the loss.
Amanda DiLeonardo and the Westies fell to Law, May 11, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Law put the game away early, taking an 11-4 lead at the half. Law led 3-0 before McDaniel scored with 16:07 left in the first half.
Less than two minutes later, Prisco cut the deficit to 4-2, and McDaniel got the Westies within 5-3 with 9:58 left in the half.
Law put the game away by scoring the next six goals for an 11-3 lead. McDaniel got West Haven within 11-4 with 1:48 left in the half, but it was not enough.
DiLeonardo brought the Westies within 13-5 in the second half , then added the next two West Haven goals. Prisco rounded out the scoring with her late tally.
Nicole Gaston made eight saves in the loss for West Haven.
Westies top Berlin
Prisco and DiLeonardo lead way in 13-7 win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 7, 2016) - In the midst of a three-game losing streak, the West Haven girlsl lacrosse team knew exactly who to turn to. Gabi Prisco and Amanda DiLeonardo were more than happy to deliver.
Led by six goals from Prisco and five more from DiLeonardo, the Westies snapped their skid with a 13-7 victory over Berlin Saturday evening at Ken Strong Stadium. The win helped the Westies get back to the .500 mark on the season at 6-6.
Prisco upped her goal count to a team-leading 48, while DiLeonardo moved her total to 38 on the season, second only to Prisco. The pair has combined for 102 points on the season.
Amani Cayo also scored twice and added an assist in the win, while Carlie Tammaro had an assist as well.
Nicole Gaston may have had one of her biggest games of the season in goal for West Haven as she finished with 22 saves.
Tigers thump Westies 18-5
By MIKE MADERA
(May 5, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team knew it was going to be a week against tough competition. The Westies were right.
Traveling to Madison to take on Hand, West Haven fell 18-5 Thursday evening. The loss was West Haven's third in a row in a stretch where the Westies have been outscored 54-18, including 34-10 in the last two contests.
Gabi Prisco and Amanda DiLeonardo did all the scoring for the Westies as DiLeonardo finished with three goals and Prisco finished with two. Mary McDaniel added an assist for West Haven.
Prisco sandwiched a goal by DiLeonardo for the first three West Haven goals and DiLeonardo scored the final two in the loss.
Nicole Gaston made 11 saves for West Haven.
West Haven fell to 5-6 with the defeat.
Branford tops Westies
WH falls 16-5
By MIKE MADERA
(May 2, 2016) - Knowing the upcoming part of the schedule would be as tough as the team had seen this year, the West Haven girls lacrosse team traveled to play Branford Monday evening. Falling behind by six goals early, the Westies never recovered in a 16-5 loss to the Hornets.
With its second straight loss, West Haven fell to 5-5 on the season. The Westies have been outscored 36-13 in the two losses.
Against the Hornets, West Haven was no match as Branford led 7-1 at the half and scored nine more times in the second half to come away with the win over the Westies.
Gabi Prisco scored three times for West Haven, while Mary McDaniel and Amanda DiLeonardo each scored once.
Autumn McHenry led Branford with four goals and three assists, while Sophie Spencer and LanLe Crotty each scored three times and added an assist.
Nicole Gaston made 15 saves in the loss for the Westies.
Westies fall to Crusaders
Lauralton Hall posts 20-8 win
By MIKE MADERA
(April 28, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team was hoping to extend its winning streak as well as its lethal scoring. Unfortunately for the Westies, neither happened Thursday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
Falling behind early and never catching up, West Haven dropped a 20-8 decision against Lauralton Hall to drop to 5-4 on the year.
West Haven celebrates a goal by Amanda DiLeonardo (17) against Lauralton Hall, April 28, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
While the loss hurt, an apparent injury to junior sniper Gabi Prisco may be the worst news of the night. Taken out of the game late in the first half, Prisco suffered what looked to be an apparent leg injury, forcing her out of the game and causing the Westies to miss a key piece of their offense.
Before Prisco left, she scored to get the Westies within 7-3, but West Haven could not get closer, trailing 12-5 at the half. The Crusaders never let up, scoring eight more goals in the second half.
Nikki Zaccaro led Lauralton with seven goals and six assists, while Kerry Ullman had seven goals and two assists.
Amanda DiLeonardo led West Haven with four goals and Mary McDaniel had two in the loss. Amani Cayo also scored and Carlie Tammaro had two assists for West Haven.
Nicole Gaston made 21 saves in the loss for the Westies.
Westies roll past Hamden
Prisco leads way with 12 points in 20-8 win
By MIKE MADERA
(April 27, 2016) - Opponents are well aware of where the trio of Mary McDaniel, Amanda DiLeonardo and Gabi Prisco are on the field. The trouble lately has been stopping them as the trio has combined for 29 goals in the last two contests for the Westies.
The trio combined for 24 points as West Haven rolled to a 20-8 victory over Hamden Wednesday evening in Hamden. With the win, West Haven improved to 5-3 on the year.
West Haven, seen here earlier in the year, and the Westies defeated Hamden, April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco led the way for the Westies, scoring seven times and adding five assists. The junior has a team-leading 36 goals, 10 assists and 46 points on the season.
McDaniel added five goals and two assists as she increased her goal total to 17 on the season and DiLeonardo scored four times, added an assist and now has 25 goals on the season.
Carlie Tammaro (7), seen here earlier in the year, and the Westies defeated Hamden, April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven put the game away early, taking a 10-2 lead after one half of action. The Westies added another ten goals in the second half to pull away in the win.
Cailynn Joyner and Keegan Riccio also added two goals apiece, while Colleen Monahan and Carlie Tammaro each had an assist.
Keegan Riccio (10), seen here earlier in the year, and the Westies defeated Hamden, April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Nicole Gaston finished with 12 saves in the victory.
Westies top Lyman Hall
McDaniel, DiLeonardo, Prisco lead WH
By MIKE MADERA
(April 22, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team rebounded from a convincing loss against Cheshire to win in impressive fashion Friday afternoon in Wallingford. Behind multiple goals from Mary McDaniel, Gabi Prisco and Amanda DiLeonardo, West Haven defeated Lyman Hall 19-11.
Mary McDaniel (32) and the Westies defeated Lyman Hall, April 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies scored ten times in the opening half and held a four goal lead. West Haven scored nine more times in the second half to seal the win.
McDaniel led the way with five goals, DiLeonardo and Prisco each scored four times and Carlie Tammaro scored twice. Colleen Monahan, Shannon Siclari, Cailynn Joyner and Amani Cayo each scored once for the Westies.
Cailynn Joyner (1), Carlie Tammaro (7) and the Westies defeated Lyman Hall, April 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco, Joyner and DiLeonardo scored the first three goals of the opening half, before McDaniel, DiLeonardo and Tammaro followed.
Gabi Prisco (20) and the Westies defeated Lyman Hall, April 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Nicole Gaston made six saves in the win for West Haven.
Amanda DiLeonardo (17), Keegan Riccio (10) and the Westies defeated Lyman Hall, April 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Morgan Smith goal against North Haven, April 18, 2016
Amanda DiLeonardo goal against SHA, April 6, 2016. Video courtesy Mike Madera.
Gabi Prisco goal against North Haven, April 18, 2016
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Gabi Prisco goal against SHA, April 6, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
GIRLS LACROSSE 2016
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Westies fall to Cheshire
Rams score 10 goals in second half to win 18-5
By MIKE MADERA
(April 20, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team could not extend its winning streak Wednesday evening against Cheshire. Within striking distance at the half, West Haven saw Cheshire go on a 10-1 run in the second half to post an 18-5 victory over the Westies at Ken Strong Stadium.
Kaitlynn Cooke (8), seen here earlier in the season, and West Haven fell against Cheshire, April 20, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gabi Prisco scored three times to increase her team lead to 25 and also added an assist. Mary McDaniel and Carlie Tammaro also scored, with Tammaro picking up an assist.
Mary McDaniel (32), seen here earlier in the season, and West Haven fell against Cheshire, April 20, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Nicole Gaston made nine saves and Morgan Smith made two in the loss for West Haven.
Westies rally past Indians
Prisco, DiLeonardo lead WH past NH
By MIKE MADERA
(April 18, 2016) - If there is anything to be said of the 2016 West Haven girls lacrosse team, it is they will not go away without a fight. Trailing early in the second half by multiple goals, the Westies rallied to defeat North Haven 12-11 at Ken Strong Stadium Monday evening.
Keegan Riccio (l.), Gabi Prisco (20), Amanda DiLeonardo (17) and Carlie Tammaro (7) celebrate a goal against North Haven, April 18, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gabi Prisco, who scored six times in the game and now has 22 goals on the season, was covered heavily in the final minute. Prisco found Colleen Monahan and Monahan found the back of the net with 24 seconds left to complete the comeback.
"This game was intense," West Haven coach Chrystal Fanelli said after her team improvedto 3-2. "We were down until the last five minutes. Once we tied it, we went goal for goal and Colleen Monahan scored the winning goal with 24 seconds left. Colleen has been playing well all season. She's not a flashy player, but she is smart and she knows where to be at the right time. Gabi had about four players on her and Colleen got herself in a good position to catch a pass and take the shot."
Cailynn Joyner (1) against North Haven, April 18, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven trailed 6-4 at the half and got within a goal early in the second half on a sharp shot by Morgan Smith. North Haven increased the lead to 7-5, but Prisco was at it again, cutting the deficit to 7-6.
"Morgan Smith is another senior who has had a season so far as well." Fanelli said. "Morgan, along with the rest of our defense, has been very dependable."
Amanda DiLeonardo continued to play well with four more goals, giving her 17 on the season.
Nicole Gaston made 12 saves in the win for West Haven.
Westies nip Lions
Prisco scores 8 goals in 15-12 win
By MIKE MADERA
(April 15, 2016) - Gabi Prisco and Amanda DiLeonardo are no strangers to scoring. Good thing for the West Haven girls lacrosse team.
Behind eight goals and an assist from Prisco and five goals and an assist from DiLeonardo, West Haven rallied from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Foran 15-12 Friday evening at Ken Strong Stadium. With the win, West Haven improved to 2-2 on the year.
Mary McDaniel (32) and Gabi Prisco (20) celebrate one of Prisco's eight goals against Foran, April 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I think we just started focusing and our defense marked up their key players very well," Prisco said. "We never gave up and everyone started to play as a team. The key tonight was winning the draws, and once we started to do that, we built up momentum and were able to work the ball all over the field. We never gave up."
Prisco continued her stellar season with her team-leading 16th goals of the year. The junior sniper scored to get West Haven within 2-1 early in the first half and scored again to get the Westies within 4-2 a few minutes later.
"I could not have scored the eight goals without my teammates," Prisco said. "They worked to get the ball and they found me in the open space. I was then able to capitalize on the opportunities."
Shannon Siclari (6) wins the battle for the loose ball against Foran, April 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Trailing 5-2, the Westies stormed back to hold a 4-2 advantage the rest of the half to get within 7-6. West Haven was a different team in the second half, outscoring Foran 9-5 to pull away for the win.
Carlie Tammaro (7) plays defense against Foran, April 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Cailynn Joyner and Mary McDaniel also scored for the Westies. Freshman Nicole Gaston made seven saves in the win.
Amanda DiLeonardo (17) scores one of her five goals against Foran, April 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Julia Astram scored four times for the Lions, while Eva Knudsen added three.
Indians top Westies
DiLeonardo scores 4 goals in 18-7 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(April 12, 2016) - Playing its first game on the road this season, the West Haven girls lacrosse team hoped to get off to a quick start. Unfortunately for the Westies, that start never happened.
Allowing ten goals in the first half, West Haven trailed early and never recovered in an 18-7 loss at Guilford Tuesday evening. With the loss, West Haven's second in a row, the Westies fell to 1-2 on the season.
Amanda DiLeonardo (17), Gabi Prisco (20) and the Westies, seen here earlier in the season, fell to Guilford, April 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven could not stop the combination of Emma Jewett and Alex Fitzgerald as each scored six goals in the contest. Fitzgerald also added a pair of assists and Jewett had one helper for the Indians as Guilford had eight different players score goals.
Amanda DiLeonardo scored four times for the Westies and Gabi Prisco added a goal and an assist, but they were not enough in the loss. Keegan Riccio and Mary McDaniel also scored for the Westies.
Guilford poured 31 shots on goal as West Haven goalie Nicole Gaston made 13 saves.
Westies fall to Amity
Spartans nip Westies 13-11
By MIKE MADERA
(April 8, 2016) - The West Haven lacrosse team was looking to start its season with a pair of victories. Unfortunately for the Westies, Amity had other thoughts. Behind nine goals from Isabella Crane, Amity edged West Haven 13-11 Friday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
"This was a tough loss," West Haven coach Chrystal Fanelli said after her team fell to 1-1 on the year. "The game was close from start to finish, but we lost our composure at times and that had a big affect on us. Amity is a good team and they are aggressive . We let them get in our heads."
Mary McDaniel (32), seen here against Sacred Heart Academy, and the Westies fell to Amity, April 8, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
In a high-scoring first half, Amity rode the play of Crane, who scored the team's first four goals, and led 9-8. The second half was more of a defensive game with only seven combined goals scored, but West Haven was unable to pull out the win.
Crane gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead 19 seconds in, before Carlie Tammaro got the equalizer for West Haven less than a minute later. Two more goals by Crane had Amity up 3-1 before Cailynn Joyner, Gabi Prisco and Keegan Riccio scored for a 4-3 West Haven advantage.
After Crane evened the game at four, Amanda DiLeonardo needed just 35 second to put the Westies back on top. Prisco made it 6-4 with 11:34 left in the half, but Amity scored three times in 1:16 for a 7-6 lead.
Tammaro tied the game at seven and Mary McDaniel evened the game at eight, before Amity took a 9-8 lead to the half. Crane gave Amity a 10-8 lead 37 seconds into the second half, before West Haven tied things up on goals by Prisco and McDaniel in the first 6:18.
The Westies never took the lead again as Amity scored the next three goals, two by Crane, for a 13-10 advantage. Prisco capped the scoring with 4:54 left.
Prisco led the way for the Westies with four goals, while McDaniel and Tammaro each scored twice. DiLeonardo, Joyner and Riccio each scored once, with McDaniel adding two assists and Colleen Monahan picking up one assist. Freshman goalie Nicole Gaston made 5 saves in the loss, while Amity's Kaitlin Paradis had seven saves.
Westies open with win over SHA
DiLeonardo, Prisco, McDaniel lead way in 10-4 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(April 6, 2016) - West Haven girls lacrosse coach Chrystal Fanelli stressed the importance to her team of getting off to a good start in the 2016 season. With plenty of new faces, Fanelli knew the familiar ones would have to lead the way at the start of the year.
Those familiar faces, seniors Gabi Prisco and Amanda DiLeonardo, and junior Mary McDaniel, more than made sure to pull their weight. Led by three goals apiece from Prisco and DiLeonardo, and two from McDaniel, the Westies opened the year with a 10-4 victory over Sacred Heart Academy in a Southern Connecticut Conference contest at Ken Strong Stadium Wednesday evening.
Amanda DiLeonardo (17) scored three goals against Sacred Heart Academy, April 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This is a huge win for us," Fanelli said of the season opener for both teams. "To beat Sacred Heart in the first game is big for us. Everyone played really well tonight. We played smart and we played as a team."
Prisco, who led the team last season with 37 goals, 10 assists and 47 points, picked up where she left off from a season ago with two assists as well. When the Pacers played tight defense on the junior sniper, DiLeonardo and McDaniel answered the call to break a 3-3 halftime tie.
"The three of us (DiLeonardo and McDaniel) have played together so long," Prisco said. "We all know what each other is doing. Colleen Monahan has also played with us for so long and she played great."
Gabi Prisco (20) scored three goals and added two assists against Sacred Heart Academy, April 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the game even at three after 25 minutes of play on a frigid night, the trio of Prisco, DiLeonardo and McDaniel put the game away less than 11 minutes into the second half as four goals gave the Westies a 7-3 lead with 14 minutes, 37 seconds remaining.
DiLeonardo wasted no time setting the tone of the second half as she scored just 1:01 in to give West Haven a lead it never relinquished. Prisco then lofted a pass in front, which McDaniel tipped by Sacred Heart goalie Olivia Riley 44 seconds later for a 5-3 advantage.
"We came out ready to play in the second half," DiLeonardo said after her team improved to 1-0. "I thought we played really well in the second half. This is a nice start for us."
DiLeonardo scored her third goal of the game with 16:57 left in the second half off a penalty and Prisco extended the margin to four goals 2:20 later with a blast to the lower left corner.
"They are great leaders," Fanelli said of DiLeonardo and Prisco. "They help control the game. They played very well."
West Haven controlled play for the majority of the second half, forcing Riley to make numerous saves to keep her team in the game. Carlie Tammaro made sure there was no comeback by the Pacers as she scored 3:31 after Prisco, and McDaniel circled from behind the goal to score 1:48 later for a 9-3 advantage.
"We had a lot of turnovers in the second half," Sacred Heart coach Tina Crespins said. "It is our first game. We will improve that. I thought our goalie (Riley) had a great game and our defense did a great job. Our transition was a little weak. We had too many turnovers."
Nicole Gaston (25) made six saves against Sacred Heart Academy, April 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sara Martin got the Pacers within 9-4 with 7:57 to go, but Keegan Riccio capped the scoring for West Haven in the final three minutes.
While the Westies won by six goals, the first half was an entirely different story as the Westies jumped out to a 3-1 lead, before the Pacers scored twice in the final four minutes to even the game at three.
Prisco got things going for West Haven as she raced almost the length of the field and ripped a shot past Riley 6:58 into the contest.
"It was really important to get that first goal," Prisco said. "It settled us down."
Anna-Claire Luciani evened the game at one for the Pacers off an assist from Sara Martin 2:37 later, but goals by Prisco with 13:22 left in the half and DiLeonardo 7:53 later extended the lead to 3-1.
Francesca Campanelli and Luciani evened the game for the Pacers, before West Haven's big second half.
Riley finished with 11 saves for the Pacers , while freshman Nicole Gaston made six saves in the win for West Haven.
"Nicole played well," Fanelli said of Gaston. "She made plenty of saves today. This was her first high school game and she made some big stops."
On the Move
DiLeonardo, Joyner, Prisco ready to lead WH in 2016
By MIKE MADERA
(April 3, 2016) - The West Haven girls lacrosse team is ready to move on from last season's 5-11 record. If the Westies are to do so, they will need production from a number of different faces in 2016.
While head coach Chrystal Fanelli still has her offensive weapons in senior Amanda DiLeonardo and junior Gabi Prisco, the two captains cannot do it alone. While Prisco had 47 points a season ago on 37 goals and 10 assists, she will get plenty of attention at her center position.
DiLeonardo was just as impressive last season (28 goals, 4 assists, 32 points) on the offensive side and she will be counted on heavily this season from her attack position.
Senior captain Cailynn Joyner is a defensive wing and will look to anchor the back for the Westies.
Senior captain Amanda DiLeonardo will be counted on offensively for the Westies in 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Amanda (DiLeonardo) has been one of our key attackers for the past few years," Fanelli said. "She is planning to play at Lasell next year. She's been dealing with a few injuries, but we are expecting her to be 100 percent for our first game Wednesday. Cailynn Joyner has been another key player for the past two years. She is one of the fastest players on our team. Next year, she is going to Clemson and plans to play club lacrosse and women's football. Gabi Prisco is a natural athlete and one of the most talented players we've had come through our program. She continues to get better and better every year."
Junior captain Gabi Prisco (20) is a key piece to the West Haven girls lacrosse team in 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Juniors Kaitlynn Cooke and Mary McDaniel will also play a key role for the Westies this year as Cooke will see her skills utilized on defense and McDaniel will look to add points on offense.
"Kaitlynn (Cooke) began playing last year and immediately became a varsity starter," Fanelli said. "Her background as a basketball player made her a natural on defense. Mary (McDaniel) was one of our key attackers last year and we expect her to be one of our top goal scorers this year."
Fanelli will need to replace the graduated Nina Casalaina in goal and will do so with freshman Nicole Gaston. Fanelli has high expectations for Gaston and does as well for another freshman, Keegan Riccio.
"Nicole Gaston is a freshman and our starting goalie," Fanelli said. "We're really excited to have her on the team this year. For the past few years, we have struggled to find goalies with experience. Nicole has been playing since she was in third grade and she's very committed. So far, she's been a great addition to our team and going forward, she's going to be one of our biggest assets. Keegan Riccio is another freshman I expect will see varsity time this year."
Fanelli is also impressed with sophomore midfielder Amani Cayo, who is one of the team's fastest players.
"We have a good mix of young players and veteran players," Fanelli said.
While the Westies won just five games last season, they will need to replace the graduated Blair Ludoviconi and Jill Moran on defense, Danielle Bertolini at midfield, Alex Young on offense and Casalaina in goal.
West Haven opens the season at Ken Strong Stadium Wednesday, April 6, 2016 against Sacred Heart Academy at 7 p.m.
Gabi Prisco second goal against Foran, April 15, 2016
Gabi Prisco first goal against Foran, April 15, 2016. Video courtesy Mike Madera