There has been plenty to celebrate thus far for the West Haven girls' soccer team. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Dream is Over
Magical season ends in state tournament loss to Ridgefield
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (November 10, 2011) – Heading into the first round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, West Haven coach John Camara knew his team was facing a tough opponent in Ridgefield. Camara’s concerns proved to be true.
Using superior ball control and the speed and size West Haven could not match, No. 25 Ridgefield stunned No. 8 West Haven 3-1 at Ken Strong Stadium Thursday evening.
“They had big girls,” Camara said after his team fell to 12-5-1. “They were very aggressive. Their aggression and size bumped us back a bit.”
The Tigers scored twice in the second half, once early and the other late to defeat the Westies. With the game knotted at one at the half, Ridgefield scored the eventual winner 15 minutes, 14 seconds into the half.
Jennifer Kreps picked up a loose ball after a shot by Eliza Paltauf and drilled a shot by West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case for a 2-1 Ridgefield lead.
The Tigers had the better of the play in the second half, but the Westies had ample time to knot the score. Dalia Abu-Sitteh’s cross to Marisa Pacapelli was stopped but the rebound went back to Abu-Sitteh who was stopped by Ridgefield goalkeeper Tori Garofalo with 16:30 remaining.
Gabriella Reis then had another West Haven opportunity but shot wide from an angle. Reis was then stopped from an angle with 12:20 remaining, but the biggest opportunity came with 10:03 to go.
A loose ball found Reis all alone in front with an empty net in front of her. Reis’ shot from a slight angle from eight yards out sailed just wide of the net, keeping Ridgefield in front.
“That was the opportunity to tie it,” Camara said. “That was the money shot. At that point we either tie the game or lose the game. They locked it up right after that.”
The Tigers wasted no time capitalizing. With 8:50 remaining, Amanda Berta took a feed from Sandra Carpenter and beat Case for a 3-1 lead.
“We started to get tired,” Camara said. “They pushed some players up from the back. With the type of system they run, we had a little more running to do.”
After controlling play early, Ridgefield took a 1-0 lead 8:49 into the contest. Off a corner kick, Ridgefield’s Keely Lockwood sent a perfect ball to Ellie Gravitte. Gravitte drilled a shot to the top left corner from 15 yards out past Case for the Ridgefield lead.
The Tigers continued to put the pressure on and nearly took a 2-0 lead. Carpenter’s shot from 20 yards out sailed wide of Case with 25:50 remaining in the half.
West Haven finally got some momentum and wasted no time capitalizing. Abu-Sitteh, who was the best player on the field in the opening half, took a direct kick which found Tory Lavery.
Lavery tapped the ball in past Garofalo with 24:01 left in the half to knot the game at one.
West Haven started to control play and had its opportunities to take the lead. Abu-Sitteh’s direct kick sailed wide with 22 minutes to go in the half and another direct kick by Abu-Sitteh with 2:51 forced a rebound. Samantha Young picked up the loose ball but was denied by Garofalo.
“It was a great improvement from last year,” Camara said. “We had many opportunities to be successful in other ways. Unfortunately, we did not capitalize.”
One and Done
Westies fall to Amity in opener of SCC tournament
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (November 2, 2011) – In the previous two meetings between the Amity and West Haven girls’ soccer teams, one goal was scored between the two teams. While the teams combined to put four goals in the back of the net Wednesday afternoon, the outcome was not one the Westies envisioned.
Watching as Amity scored twice in the second half, the Westies were eliminated from the quarterfinals of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament by a 3-1 score at the University of New Haven.
“I told the girls every team we play after the regular season is going to be a tough one,” West Haven coach John Camara said after his team fell to 12-4-1. “This is definitely an eye opener.”
With the game knotted at one in the second half, Amity was clearly the more aggressive team. The Spartans put the pressure on West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case from the start and finally capitalized 6 minutes, 39 seconds into the half.
Amity’s Cassie Giza slid past her defender into open space and drilled a shot over Case’s head off an angle. Giza’s shot barely found the top right corner for a 2-1 Amity lead.
“West Haven is very well coached,” Amity coach Owen Quigley said. “They go to the ball hard and pack it in which makes it difficult. I thought we dominated the second half.”
The Westies immediately had a chance to net the equalizer, but as was the case all game, the shots were sent either high or wide. Just two minutes after Giza’s goal, Gabriella Reis’ shot sailed high and wide from 20 yards out.
Gabriella Reis is pressured against Amity, November 2, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With Amity controlling the ball and West Haven not capitalizing on its minimal opportunities, it was imperative the Westies get the next goal. That never happened.
Set up for a direct kick, Amity’s Maeghan Howard sent a shot which bounced around in the box. Allison Maier knocked in the loose ball past Case for a 3-1 lead with 28:34 remaining in the game.
“The second goal did not hurt so much,” Camara said. “The third goal let the air out. I sensed we were still playing smart and we had our opportunities. The third one just furthered the chase.”
The Westies continued to have opportunities. Reis sailed a direct kick over the net with 19:36 remaining and Dalia Abu-Sitteh’s cross with 14:46 remaining was cut off by Amity goalkeeper Zoie Reed.
West Haven had two final opportunities in the final 2:56. Ashley Hulse’s shot was deflected off Jolie Morrell to Melanie Reiss, who shot over the net.
Reis then had West Haven’s final opportunity to get back in the game. The senior’s shot from an angle ten yards out sailed over the net, sending Amity to the semifinals against Shelton.
“West Haven gets you out of your stride,” Quigley said. “They get you to hurry up. We let our speed do the work.”
The first half was evenly played as both teams failed to convert early. Reis had a corner roll on goal four minutes in and Marisa Pacapelli’s cross was cut off by Reed three minutes later.
Amity finally got on the scoreboard at the 27 minute mark when Tara Ramirez bent in a cross past Case for a 1-0 lead.
With the way the first two contests between the two teams went, one goal looked as if it may be enough. Just three minutes later, the Westies had an answer.
Reis sent a cross to Tory Lavery. Lavery beat Reed to the ball and tapped the ball into the goal to even the game at one.
West Haven players celebrate a goal by Tory Lavery (second from right) in the first half against Amity, November 2, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“Both teams did not capitalize in the first half,” Camara said. “I thought it was a fair first half. We just saw them last week but coaches change their tactics. They were able to play their game.”
Amity held an 11-3 shot advantage in the contest. Case finished with three saves and Amity’s Reed had two saves.
West Haven will now wait for the pairings to come out Sunday to see who the first round opponent will be in the CIAC state tournament.
Gabriella Reis (top photo) and Carly Brereton move the ball against Amity in SCC quarterfinal action, November 2, 2011. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies win on Senior Night
Win in regular season finale prepares team for postseason
By MIKE MADERA
(October 28, 2011) – Having already locked up the sixth seed in the upcoming Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, the West Haven girls’ soccer team was playing for seeding in the state tournament Friday evening against Sheehan. Before that could be done, it was time to honor the team’s seniors on Senior Night.
When all the festivities ended, it was the younger kids which did the damage in a 3-0 victory over the Titans. Using a goal and an assist from sophomore Tory Lavery, a goal by junior Carly Brereton and another tally by sophomore Alexis Campbell, the Westies improved to 12-3-1 on the year.
“I believe the win helped us move up in the CIAC standings,” West Haven head coach John Camara said. “It could mean a second home game.
“We knew we had the potential to do well this season. It all relied on how the team gelled together. It could have gone either way. Fortunately, we played as a team.”
The Westies had plenty of opportunities to score in the opening half but could not capitalize early. Senior Gabriella Reis shot high off a free kick from 25 yards out just three minutes in, then sailed a shot high off a corner eight minutes later.
Ashley Hulse also had a scoring chance from 20 yards out with 25 minutes remaining but shot wide. Off the loose ball, Marisa Pacapelli was denied from 18 yards out.
“I was not concerned about the missed opportunities,” Camara said. “The other team needed to win to make the tournament. We knew they were going to come out very aggressive. The girls were very patient.”
The Westies finally got on the scoreboard with 22 minutes remaining in the half. Samantha Young took the initial shot and Lavery came across to tap in the loose ball for a 1-0 lead.
“Tory’s goal was huge,” Camara said. “She was due. You could see in the last game against Amity she was close to putting one in.”
West Haven looked as if it would increase the lead to 2-0 with three minutes remaining. That opportunity was missed as Reis’ cross to Lavery was not converted when Lavery shot high and wide.
The Westies came out for the second half looking to increase the lead. Allyson Hemstock set up Hulse with a cross but Hulse was stopped.
Lavery helped give the Westies a 2-0 lead a short time later. With 33 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the game, Lavery’s corner kick bounced around in the box. Campbell was there to score, giving West Haven a 2-0 lead.
Less than three minutes later, West Haven put the game away. Lavery’s corner went right for Brereton, who knocked in the ball for a 3-0 lead with 30:32 remaining.
West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case was outstanding in goal. Case stopped a partial breakaway in the first half and preserved the shutout with a save off a rebound of a Sheehan corner kick with 10 minutes remaining.
“Maria did not see many shots but when she did, it was like another day in the office,” Camara said.Case finished the game making three saves in the shutout.
Hit the Road
Loss to Amity likely forces Westies on the road for SCC tournament
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 24, 2011) – While Monday evening’s contest with Amity was not an elimination game, it was played with the feel of the postseason. At stake was a higher seeding and home field in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament.
Failing to take advantage of its opportunities and watching as Amity scored in the second half, West Haven fell to the Spartans 1-0 at Ken Strong Stadium. With the loss, West Haven fell to 11-3-1 and faces the likelihood of going on the road for the SCC tournament.
“They (Amity) have a good defense,” John Camara said. “We created some opportunities early but they have a good goalkeeper as well.
“It now depends on how the other games work out. This game was about seeding.”
After a first half which saw both teams have their opportunities, the second half started with Amity controlling play. The Spartans failed to capitalize on their first three opportunities, but did not waste their fourth chance of the second half.
Katherine Simon fed Allison Maier from 20 yards out. Maier turned and booted a shot past West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case to the lower right corner of the net for the only goal of the game with 22 minutes, 42 seconds remaining.
“They had some opportunities and were able to put one in,” Camara said. “It was a good soccer game. The girls did all I could ask.”
Gabriella Reis’ pass to Marisa Pacapelli was too long with 19:50 remaining and Reis set up Tory Lavery but Lavery’s shot was blocked with 12:21 left.
Camara pulled Dalia Abu-Sitteh up from her defensive position with 6:43 remaining in the game to create more offense. Abu-Sitteh shot wide from 25 yards out with 5:45 remaining.
“This game was important for home field advantage,” Abu-Sitteh said. “We still have states to play for home field advantage.
“I think a game like this can give us confidence. We tied them the first time we played them. It is tough that we lost but we have to keep our heads up. We can build on this.”
The first half was mainly defensive from both sides but each team did have their chances. West Haven’s Reis and Pacapelli had the best chances but could not capitalize.
Reis shot over the net with a shot from an angle six yards out just 4 minutes, 15 seconds into the game and Pacapelli headed a ball to Lavery but Lavery could not chip it home six minutes later.
West Haven continued with the play on the offensive side when Reis’ cross to Lavery was stopped by Amity goalkeeper Zoie Reed from five yards out. The Westies’ best opportunity came off a corner from Reis with 16:48 remaining but the ball bounced around in the box.
Reis continued her scoring chances when she was denied from 20 yards out by Reed with 8:35 remaining in the first half. Reis’ best chance came in the final minute of the half as her cross from six yards out sailed wide of Pacapelli.
Amity had its chances as well. Simon had possibly the best chance of both teams when she shot two feet wide of an open net from six yards out 9 minutes, 30 seconds into the game.
Case kept the game scoreless when she denied Maeghan Howard off a direct kick from 30 yards out with 7:20 remaining in the half.
Westies cruise past Foran 7-0
By MIKE MADERA
MILFORD (October 20, 2011) – With a bid in the state tournament locked up and fighting for another in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, the West Haven girls’ soccer team is playing for seeding in the final handful of games. If Thursday evening was any indication, the Westies are ready to get going in the postseason.
Scoring four times in the first half and using three goals and an assist by Gabriella Reis, the Westies defeated Foran 7-0 at Vito DeVito Field in Milford.
“We feel good about it,” West Haven coach John Camara said after his team improved to 11-2-1. “It gave us a chance to rest some constant players. It has been a long season. We were able to use some girls off the bench.”
Playing its first game without injured defender McKenzie Farquharson, who hurt her ankle against Law two days earlier, the Westies showed no signs of a letdown. Despite missing several scoring chances in the first half, the Westies were in control from start to finish.
Foran dodged early bullets when goalkeeper Ryan Clark stopped Ashley Hulse, Tory Lavery and Reis in the opening eight minutes. Lavery shot over the net and Reis shot wide minutes apart as the game remained scoreless.
All that changed with 15 minutes, 25 seconds gone by in the first half. Freshman Marisa Pacapelli beat Clark to a loose ball and chipped a shot into the top left corner for a 1-0 lead.
“We needed that goal,” Camara said. “We missed some opportunities earlier. It broke the seal.”
The score remained 1-0 as West Haven failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities over the next 15 minutes. The Westies made up for the missed chances by scoring three times in the final 6:29 of the opening half.
Reis gave West Haven a 2-0 lead when she took a pass from Dalia Abu-Sitteh and beat Clark to the top left corner from 19 yards out with 6:29 to go in the half.
Abu-Sitteh, who finished with a goal and two assists, increased the lead to three goals when she pushed the ball by Clark and tapped the ball in from 14 yards out with 1:37 remaining in the half.
“The goal was huge,” Camara said of Abu-Sitteh’s goal. “Two-nothing is always a dangerous score.”
West Haven closed the scoring on the final play of the half as Reis was taken down and awarded a penalty kick. Reis drilled a shot to the top left corner from 18 yards out, giving West Haven a 4-0 lead.
“I thought Gabby did well tonight,” Camara said. “She knew what to expect from this team. She knew she had to put on angled balls, not straight on.”
The Westies wasted no time increasing the lead in the second half and Reis was at the center of the scoring once again. Positioned in front of the goal, Reis headed in Abu-Sitteh’s direct kick just 2:34 into the second half for a 5-0 lead.
“I thought it (penalty kick) gave us momentum at the half,” Reis said of her goal at the end of the first half. “This was a really important game for us. We want to win the rest of our games and get home field advantage in the state tournament. We will have a better chance to do well.”
West Haven increased the lead to 6-0 with 24:38 remaining as Mikayla McLaughlin picked up a loose ball and drilled a shot into an empty net from 25 yards out. Exactly seven minutes later, Reis set up Brittany Case in front to give West Haven a 7-0 lead.
“I try to put us in the best position to score,” Reis said. “I try to create opportunities for others to score. If others have a better shot, I try to get it to them.”
Maria Case made three saves and Maggie Borer made two to combine for the shutout.
Westies beat Law but lose Farquharson to injury
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 18, 2011) – It was a day of mixed emotions for the West Haven girls’ soccer team. Having learned Sacred Heart defeated Hamden earlier in the day to take home the Quinnipiac Division title, the Westies needed to avoid a letdown against Jonathan Law Tuesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
Just eight minutes into the game, which was won by West Haven 4-1, the Westies had a different emotion to deal with. Senior captain and stellar defensive player McKenzie Farquharson crumbled to the ground after West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case made a diving save of a Kasey Butts shot.
Farquharson landed awkwardly on her ankle and was taken from the field after a short time. West Haven coach John Camara knows how valuable Farquharson is to the team.
“We don’t know the extent of the injury,” Camara said. “She is a very big part of the team.”
After recovering from the loss of Farquharson, the Westies focused on the game at hand. Dalia Abu-Sitteh, who had another solid game, beat Law goalkeeper Emily Romero from 25 yards out 12 minutes, 45 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
“I think it (not winning division) was a letdown,” Abu-Sitteh said. “We had to stay together as a team. We still have the SCC’s and the state tournament to look forward to.
“With McKenzie getting hurt, others will have to step up. The younger girls will have to step up.”
Abu-Sitteh’s goal got the Westies going as they kept the pressure on. Tory Lavery had two corner kicks which were not converted with 22 minutes remaining in the half but Marisa Pacapelli answered six minutes later.
Lavery’s corner kick bounced around in the box and went to Pacapelli. The freshman beat Romero from eight yards out for a 2-0 lead.
Abu-Sitteh had another scoring opportunity with 3:35 remaining in the half. Romero denied Abu-Sitteh from five yards out to keep West Haven’s lead at two goals.
“Dalia’s composure has gotten better and better,” Camara said. “I can play her anywhere. She is very important to this team.”
Law came out of the second half aggressive as Brianna Grazynski rang a shot off the crossbar 1:15 into the second half and Kira Topalian was stopped by Case from 30 yards out two minutes later.
The pressure finally paid off for Law with 11:43 gone by in the second half. Grazynski sent a hustling Butts in on Case. Case slid out to the 10-yard line where Butts jumped over Case and kicked the loose ball in, cutting aw deficit in half.
After Ashley Hulse was stopped by Romero from 15 yards out and Gabriella Reis shot wide from 12 yards out, Lavery gave the Westies some breathing room when she scored off an assist from Reis off a scramble in front with 20:39 remaining for a 3-1 lead.
“I thought that goal was big,” Camara said of Lavery’s goal. “It extended the lead to two goals once again.”
Melanie Reiss rounded out the scoring with 20.8 seconds remaining in regulation, as she drilled a rocket past Romero from in front.
Case finished with six saves in the win for West Haven.
Westies lose control of Quinnipiac title
By MIKE MADERA
(October 14, 2011) – With a chance to lock up the Quinnipiac Division title Friday afternoon, the West Haven girls’ soccer team came up just short. Two goals by Sacred Heart’s Alyssa Paolillo propelled the Pacers to a 2-1 victory, putting Sacred Heart in the driver’s seat for the division title.
The loss dropped West Haven to 4-2 in the Quinnipiac Division while Sacred Heart improved to 4-1. The Pacers have one more division game remaining against Hamden Tuesday afternoon.
West Haven needs a Sacred Heart loss to share a piece of the division title. A win or tie by the Pacers gives the title to Sacred Heart.
“I am definitely disappointed,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We did not come out to win today. Sacred Heart came out ready to win. I am disappointed with that.
“The game is eighty minutes long. You can not play ten or fifteen minutes and expect to pull out the win. You have to play the whole game.”
The Westies were flat in the first half before waking up in the second half. Trailing 1-0, West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case tried to spark her team with a diving save seven minutes into the second half.
West Haven and Dalia Abu-Sitteh had three chances to even the game but could not convert. Abu-Sitteh’s long shot was bobbled by Sacred Heart goalkeeper Andrea Antoni but Antoni recovered.
West Haven's Brittany Case battles against Sacred Heart, October 14, 2011. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Two minutes later with 12 minutes gone by in the half, Abu-Sitteh’s shot from 30 yards out just sailed over the net. Abu-Sitteh then sent a nice cross to Marisa Pacapelli two minutes later, but Pacapelli’s volley did not convert.
“We had some chances but did not capitalize,” Camara said.
Paolillo provided the winner with 18 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the game. Taking a perfect pass from Angela Ciaramello, Paolillo took a nice low shot to beat Case for a 2-0 lead.
West Haven showed signs of life in the final ten minutes. With 10:08 remaining, McKenzie Farquharson gave the Westies hope as she scored off a direct kick from 30 yards out.
Just 38 seconds later, Farquharson came close to the equalizer. Farquharson’s shot hit the crossbar from 35 yards out, keeping Sacred Heart in the lead.
West Haven had one final chance in the last minute of the game. Farquharson took a throw-in and put it in the box for Victoria Lavery. Lavery’s shot was stopped, putting Sacred Heart in the driver’s seat for the division title.
“Sacred Heart is a good team,” Camara said. “They came out to win the game. We have to wait. We controlled our own destiny. Now we need some help.”
Sacred Heart carried the play in the first half and took a 1-0 lead at the half. Paolillo proved to be on her game from the start as she constantly gave the Westies someone to account for.
West Haven's Dalia Abu-Sitteh looks to make a play against Sacred Heart with a header, October 14, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After Case made a pair of saves just six minutes into the game, Paolillo put Case to the test seven minutes in. Paolillo’s hard shot was denied by Case, keeping the game scoreless.
“Maria played well,” Camara said of his goalkeeper. “They (Sacred Heart) were very aggressive.”
The Pacers continued to put on the pressure and a defensive play by the Westies kept the game scoreless. After a corner kick by the Pacers bounced around in front, Abu-Sitteh cleared the box to prevent any damage.
Paolillo was at it again at the 16 minute mark but again Case came up with the save. After West Haven’s Gabriella Reis shot wide from 22 yards out eight minutes later, Paolillo finally won the battle against Case.
Taking possession of the ball at midfield, Paolillo made a couple of nice moves then drilled a rocket by Case from 30 yards out with 14 minutes left in the first half, giving the Pacers a 1-0 lead.
“I am happy we did not give up,” Camara said. “I am not happy we waited so long.”
The Westies came right back after Paolillo’s goal as Carly Brereton had a scoring opportunity one minute later. Brereton’s shot was stopped from 25 yards out.
West Haven's Gabriella Reis tries to gain control of the ball against Sacred Heart, October 14, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven then had a pair of opportunities to even the game with consecutive corner kicks by Lavery and Reis with five minutes remaining in the half. Each kick was too long as the Westies could not get a head on the ball in front.
Abu-Sitteh took a direct kick from 28 yards out with three minutes to go in the first half but sailed the shot wide. Reis then dished a pass to Lavery in the final minute but Lavery’s shot was denied to send West Haven to the half trailing by a goal.
Ready for Primetime
Win over Mercy sets up showdown with Sacred Heart Friday
By MIKE MADERA
(October 12, 2011) – Knowing what was at stake as they traveled to Middletown to face Mercy, members of the West Haven girls’ soccer team had to focus on the task at hand. A win over the Tigers would allow the Westies to control their own destiny in regards to winning the Quinnipiac Division.
With Friday’s showdown with Sacred Heart Academy looming, the Westies could not afford to look ahead. Scoring twice in the first half, West Haven avenged an earlier season loss to the Tigers by defeating Mercy 3-1.
The win improved West Haven’s overall record to 9-1-1 and just as important, improved the team’s record to 4-1 in the division. West Haven defeated Sacred Heart earlier in the season for the lone division loss for the Pacers.
“The win makes Friday’s contest easier for us by we only need a tie to win the division,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “It is not necessarily a must-win game.”
West Haven wasted no time getting on the scoreboard and setting the tempo of the contest. Just 3 minutes, 26 seconds into the game, Victoria Lavery sent the ball over to Ashley Hulse. Hulse tapped the ball in the corner of the goal, giving West Haven a 1-0 lead.
After Lavery missed on a corner kick and Sam Young was denied 16 minutes in, the Westies took a 2-0 lead at the 18:10 mark. Gabriella Reis took a shot which was not handled cleanly by Mercy goalkeeper Claire Kimball. The rebound went to Melanie Reiss who wasted no time giving the Westies a 2-0 advantage.
“That was very important,” Camara said of the second goal. “We had a lot of tired legs out there. With us up 2-0 quickly, we were able to rest some of the forwards’ legs. We switched out some midfielders. We had some legs which were pretty tired.
“Melanie’s goal was at a very good time. It gave us the 2-0 lead which is big.”
Ahead by two goals, the Westies turned to the defense and the goalkeeping of Maria Case. Reis and Dalia Abu-Sitteh came up with big defensive plays and Case came up big to preserve the two-goal advantage.
“She (Case) provides a lot of confidence out there,” Camara said. “The team knows they can rely on her. She adds a lot of stability to the back.”
Trailing by two goals, Mercy gave West Haven something to think about going to halftime. With a minute left in the half, Victoria Scott beat Case to cut West Haven’s lead in half.
“It was just a situation where it was an eye opener for us,” Camara said of Mercy’s goal. “We let off a little right before the half and we had to step it up.”
Camara’s request was answered just three minutes into the second half. Freshman Marisa Pacapelli continued her torrid scoring pace when she took a feed from Sam Young and tapped the ball past Kimball into the corner of the goal for a 3-1 lead.
“She is doing extremely well,” Camara said of Pacapelli. “She has been a great help out there. She’s been scoring some big goals.
“What’s good about it is she is not the only one doing it. We are getting others to score on a consistent basis.”
Leading 3-1, West Haven just needed to the time to tick away to set up the showdown with Sacred Heart. Before that could happen, West Haven had to dodge a Mercy breakaway and a couple of shots which went wide of Case.
Case finished the contest with five saves in the win for West Haven.
Young and on the Case
Pacapelli, Hemstock and Case lead Westies over Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 10, 2011) – The last time the West Haven girls’ soccer team played Hamden, the Westies took an early lead then held on for dear life in the victory. Monday evening at Ken Strong Stadium saw a different formula but the same result.
Getting second half goals by freshman Marisa Pacapelli and sophomore Allyson Hemstock and solid goalkeeping from Maria Case, the Westies defeated Hamden 2-0. With the victory, West Haven improved to 8-1-1 overall and 3-1 in the Quinnipiac Division. Hamden fell to 5-4-1 (1-3-0).
“This was the biggest game of the year to date,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “The defense stepped up when they needed to. We got that extra defensive effort. The team really stepped it up.”
Playing without the services of senior Gabriella Reis, the Westies turned to some youngsters. Just 3 minutes, 18 seconds into the second half, sophomore Tory Lavery headed the ball through to Pacapelli. The freshman controlled the bouncing ball and beat Hamden goalkeeper Katelyn Murphy for a 1-0 lead.
“Her goal was key,” Camara said of Pacapelli’s goal. “It alleviates the pressure on the team. It was another big goal from her.”
Pacapelli’s goal was her sixth on the season, second on the team only to Reis. The goal was also Pacapelli’s fifth in her last three games.
“I saw it go over the defender’s head and I knew I had to finish,” Pacapelli said. “I have just been trying as hard as I can. If you always try hard, you can do what you want to do”
Pacapelli’s goal seemed to loosen the Westies up as they continued to put on the pressure. Dalia Abu-Sitteh followed with a rocket off the crossbar 2:44 after Pacapelli’s goal, giving West Haven momentum.
That momentum was put to the test with 28 minutes remaining in the game. Hamden’s Rachel Ugolik got by the West Haven defense and broke in on Case. Case made a diving save off Ugolik before the defense blocked the rebound, preserving the lead.
“The last time she had two breakaways against me and that’s the side she tried,” Case said of Ugolik. “The key is we talk a lot more than last year. Brittany (Case), McKenzie (Farquharson) and Dalia (Abu-Sitteh) all talk so much. We know where to go.”
After Case made the diving save to preserve the lead, West Haven iced the game with 11:37 remaining. Hemstock controlled a loose ball in front and drilled a shot past Murphy for a 2-0 lead. Hemstock’s goal all but sealed West Haven’s eighth victory of the season.
The game did not start in West Haven’s favor as the Green Dragons controlled play for much of the first half. Ugolik nearly put the Green Dragons in front with a header off a corner kick but her attempt from 15 yards out was stopped by Farquharson in front.
“We get our assignments before the game,” Farquharson said. “We know Rachel (Ugolik) is a strong player and we had to double up on her all game. I think we did pretty good with that.
“Me, Maria (Case), Brittany (Case) and Dalia (Abu-Sitteh) have been playing together since we were little. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It helps tremendously back there.”
Case kept the game scoreless in the first half by stopping Ciara Fennelly and Lily Laster within two minutes. West Haven had limited opportunities and could not score as well.
West Haven’s best scoring chance came when Farquharson looked to have given West Haven the lead with a goal with 10:26 remaining in the half. The goal was waved off as the officials ruled the shot was an indirect kick and not touched by another West Haven player before going in the goal.
“We are all having so much fun,” Farquharson said of the team. “We all get along and there is no negativity. It is so positive. We are all friends. We love being with each other. Winning tops it off.”
Case made six saves in picking up her fourth shutout of the season. Murphy made four saves in the loss for Hamden.
Leader of the Pac
Freshman scores twice to lead Westies over Branford
By MIKE MADERA
(October 7, 2011) – West Haven coach John Camara knew coming into the season his team had talent and chemistry. What Camara did not know was what kind of production he was going to get from his younger players.
That question has been answered with the play of Marisa Pacapelli. Friday night at Ken Strong Stadium the freshman scored twice, giving her five goals on the year, as the Westies defeated Branford 4-0.
“She is playing extremely well,” Camara said of Pacapelli. “She has adapted well to the team and the team works well with her.”
Before Pacapelli could go to work, the Westies had to dodge a pair of bullets as the Hornets hit a crossbar and shot wide from in close.
Pacapelli then got the Westies going with an unassisted goal past Branford goalkeeper Bailey Fryer with 27 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Westies had a chance to increase the lead one minute later but McKenzie Farquharson’s shot sailed wide of the net off a direct kick.
Pacapelli did increase the lead 4:16 after her first goal. Gabriella Reis sent a pass to Ashley Hulse and Pacapelli deflected Hulse’s shot past Fryer for a 2-0 lead.
“We were playing well,” Camara said. “We were playing consistent. We were playing our game.”
West Haven closed the first half scoring with 15:13 remaining. Farquharson’s penalty kick beat Fryer to the lower left corner for a 3-0 advantage.
“The third goal was big,” Camara said. “We were able to play good soccer in the second half.”
Branford’s luck was not there Friday evening as the Hornets hit the post with 11 minutes remaining in the half. The Hornets then helped West Haven increase the lead in the second half.
After Hulse took a shot the ball bounced around in the box. Bouncing off a Branford player, the ball got past Fryer for a 4-0 West Haven advantage.
“I am really happy with the way we are playing,” Camara said as his team improved to 7-1-1. “The girls all get along and they work hard. They are aggressive which is very good.
“It feels good. We have three division games next week. The confidence level is high. Hopefully, it will carry through the week.”
Maria Case made six saves in the shutout for West Haven. Fryer finished with seven saves.
GIRLS SOCCER 2011
Westies qualify for state tournament with win over Foran
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 4, 2011) – Just one season ago, the West Haven girls’ soccer team struggled to produce five victories. With another year of experience, some fresh faces on the field and consistent goalkeeping from Maria Case, the Westies have turned things around quickly.
Paced by senior Gabriella Reis and freshman Marisa Pacapelli, West Haven qualified for the state tournament with a 4-1 victory over Foran Tuesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium. Pacapelli scored twice and added an assist while Reis scored once and added an assist as West Haven improved to 6-1-1 on the year.
“It (qualifying) alleviates the pressure of us getting in,” West Haven head coach John Camara said. “We can focus on what we need to do. We can focus on winning the division.”
Entering the contest, the Westies knew they would face a defensive team and the goals would be hard to come by. That fact was proven
when Foran goalkeeper Carly Pala stymied the Westies early.
West Haven struck first when Pacapelli ran through the defense and set up Ashley Hulse. Hulse’s kick got behind Pala and the Westies led 1-0 with just 3 minutes, 20 seconds gone by in the game.
Hulse’s goal would be all the Westies would get in the first half. Pacapelli was denied from point blank range by Pala who also stopped the rebound by Pacapelli with 12:35 gone by.
Pala was not done. The freshman goalkeeper denied Reis from 25 yards out then stopped Allyson Hemstock three minutes later from 19 yards out.
“We knew they would be stingy with the goals,” Camara said. “I was pleased we were able to get four. They are a very defensive team. We had to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Foran’s goalkeeper robbed Melanie Reiss with a diving save from 14 yards out, setting up the Lions. Kept in the game by Pala, Foran evened the game with 5:46 remaining in the half as Sam Washuk turned around and ripped a shot over the outstretched hands of Case.
Denied by Pala and the Foran defense, West Haven took the lead for good with 6:54 gone by in the second half. Reis looped a shot over Pala and into the net for a 2-1 lead.
“This is really big for us,” Reis said. “We are all really excited and ready to play. We had some tough saves against us but we just kept the pressure up.”
Foran had two chances to knot the game but Case stopped Hannah Konicki on a rebound and Washuk ripped a shot from 15 yards out over the net with 6:59 remaining.
The Westies put the game away with two goals in the final 5:49 by Pacapelli. The freshman’s first goal of the night came as she beat the Foran defense then touched a shot by Pala for a 3-1 lead.
Pacapelli closed the scoring off a perfect feed from Reis. Reis fed Pacapelli through the Foran defense and Pacapelli deked Pala for the goal with 9.8 seconds remaining.
“We could not get frustrated,” Pacapelli said. “We had to keep taking shots. We knew we would finish. We knew if we kept getting the shots, we would score.
“This is big coming off last year. We had five wins last year. To have six in the first eight games feels great.”
Pala finished the game with 11 saves for Foran. Case made five saves in the victory for West Haven.
West Haven's Samantha Young takes a shot against Jonathan Law as Dalia Abu-Sitteh (6) closes in Friday, September 30, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Goals by Farquharson and Hulse propel Westies to win over Law
By MIKE MADERA
MILFORD (September 30, 2011) – Traveling to Milford for Friday afternoon’s game against Jonathan Law, the West Haven girls’ soccer team was looking to avoid a perfect trap game. Having just knocked Sacred Heart from the ranks of the unbeaten, the Westies had to avoid any sort of a letdown.
Scoring once in each half, West Haven defeated Law 2-0 in Milford. With the victory, West Haven improved to 5-1-1 on the season.
“I knew coming into the season, I was going to have a good squad coming back,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We had more experience back. We have done a nice job so far.”
The Westies have played well over the first seven games, getting timely scoring and terrific play in goal from Maria Case. Case was no different Friday afternoon, making five quality saves to earn the shutout.
“We knew we had to win this game,” Case said. “We could not lose to a team we are supposed to beat. We had to stay focused and we did.”
West Haven had an opportunity to score first in the game but did not capitalize. Dalia Abu-Sitteh broke through but ripped a shot wide of the goal 20 minutes in.
The Westies did capitalize with 2 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the half. Senior Ashley Hulse picked up a through ball from freshman Marisa Pacapelli and beat Law goalkeeper Emily Romero for a 1-0 lead.
Marisa Pacapelli set up Ashley Hulse with the first goal of the game against Law, Friday, September 30, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The second half started with West Haven again having its opportunities. McKenzie Farquharson capitalized as she gave West Haven a 2-0 lead 10:59 into the half.
Victoria Lavery took a corner kick and the ball bounced around in front of the goal. Farquharson picked up the rebound and beat Romero for a 2-0 lead.
“I am not usually a goal scorer,” Farquharson said. “So, when I do score, it is nice.
“Last year, we had five wins all together. It’s nice to have five wins in our first couple of games. We have a lot more games to go.”
Abu-Sitteh ripped a shot wide 16:06 into the second half and Gabriella Reis kicked a laser off the crossbar 3:30 later.
“She is very important to our team,” Camara said of Reis. “She is a midfielder and she creates a lot of opportunities. She is averaging almost a goal a game. More important, she is getting assists as well.”
Reis was at it again two minutes later. While she beat Romero, Reis’ shot rang off the crossbar once again.
Case helped preserved the lead by stopping Law on a corner kick with 18 minutes remaining. Just two minutes later, Law’s best chance of the day from 25 yards out on a direct kick sailed over the net.
“To be 5-1-1 is really big,” Case said. “This team is a complete turn around from last year.”
Farquharson attributes the team’s success to the closeness of the team.
“I think we have moré closeness than last year,” Farquharson said. “If we did something wrong last year, it was turned into a negative. This year, everything is positive. If we make a mistake, other girls are saying ‘It is okay. We will get it next time.’ We all have each other’s backs.”
Camara pointed to the play of Case as a big reason the Westies are in a good position after seven games.
“She is the key right now,” Camara said of Case. “In a number of games, she has made some critical saves. She can turn the game around with her play.”
Romero made 12 saves in the loss for Law.
Undefeated No More
Westies hand SHA first loss of season
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 27, 2011) – The intensity started in the first minute and never left. That playoff atmosphere was just fine for the West Haven girls soccer team.
Using a pair of goals by Gabriella Reis, solid defense and the play of goalkeeper Maria Case, West Haven handed Sacred Heart its first loss of the season by a score of 3-1 at Ken Strong Stadium Tuesday evening.
“This was a big game to build confidence,” West Haven coach John Camara said after his team improved to 4-1-1. “It was big to keep us at the top of the division. It was a big game for us.”
The Westies showed they were not going to back down from the Pacers right from the start. Just 1 minute, 32 seconds into the game, Dalia Abu-Sitteh took a perfect corner kick which was headed in by Reis for a 1-0 lead.
“It felt so good,” Reis said of the opening goal. “I saw the way the ball was coming and I just got my head on it.
“To score in the first two minutes was big for us. We knew we had to step up and that gave us some momentum. It was really important.”
Camara felt Reis’ goal was a big part of the game.
“Gabby Reis set the tone of the game right from the start,” Camara said. “To score in the first minute and follow up a few minutes later, was big for us.”
Case kept West Haven in front when she denied Sacred Heart’s Sydney Sullivan from 20 yards out just four minutes into the game. The save by Case would be the first of seven quality saves on the night.
“Maria Case made some great saves in the first half,” Camara said. “She kept us in the game.”
Sacred Heart goalkeeper Andrea Antoni was equally impressive. Antoni denied McKenzie Farquharson from 35 yards out then stopped a rocket from Reis from 30 yards out eight minutes later.
Sacred Heart had a golden opportunity to tie the game with 25:46 remaining in the first half but Danielle McPherson’s header sailed wide of an open net.
Just 46 seconds later, West Haven had a 2-0 lead. Junior Carly Brereton surrounded a loose ball off a corner kick and rolled a shot past Antoni for a 2-0 lead.
“It was good for us,” Camara said. “The early goals helped us win the game and showed the girls we don’t need three or four goals to win a game. We had to play our game.”
Sacred Heart cut West Haven’s lead in half when Lauren Zorena put a header by Case 2:58 later. From that point on, the Pacers controlled the rest of the half.
Case made a diving save off Kiana Rocco with 11:30 remaining in the half and stopped Rocco again with a diving punch save 1:42 later.
When Case’s diving save denied Morgan Daley with 15 seconds remaining in the half, West Haven held a 2-1 lead at the intermission.
“It was really big we took the lead early,” Case said. “We played a lot different than we did on Saturday. The feeling was way different with the team. We were all ready to go.”
Looking to stay undefeated, the Pacers came out firing in the second half. Case was up to the challenge, denying Alyssa Paolillo and Angela Ciaramello within 3:30.
“At the half, I told the girls they were going to come out really hard,” Reis said. “We had to come out harder. We had to play to the end.”
Reis finally iced the game for the Westies in the final minute. Alone in front, Reis picked up a loose ball and ripped a shot to the lower left corner for the 3-1 final with 15 seconds remaining in the game.
“It felt so good,” Reis said. “I saw the wide open part of the net. This is a good win for us.”
Antoni made five saves in the loss for Sacred Heart.
Mercy downs Westies
Late goal erases West Haven comeback
By MIKE MADERA
(September 24, 2011) – Over the course of the first four games of the 2011 season, the West Haven girls soccer team has managed to find a way to take a point out of each game. Whether it has been the offense, the play of the defense or Maria Case in goal, West Haven has had an answer.
Saturday at home was a bit different. Using a late goal in the second half, Mercy handed West Haven its first defeat of the year with a 4-3 decision over the Westies.
“It is a tough loss,” West Haven coach John Camara said after his team fell to 3-1-1 on the year. “We want to win our division games. Those are important. We still have an opportunity to regroup and go against Sacred Heart on Tuesday.”
With the game knotted at three and West Haven stealing the momentum with a goal 13 minutes prior, Mercy picked up the winner. Alexandra Zampini beat Case with 12 minutes to go in the game, giving Mercy the one-goal lead.
“It was disappointing,” Camara said of the late goal. “We were catching up all day after being down two goals, then we tie it and down one goal and we tie it. They get that goal and it took the air out of us.”
The goal was a crusher for the Westies as they had come back from a two-goal first half deficit and knotted the game at three just 15 minutes into the second half. Dalia Abu-Sitteh set up Tory Lavery with the equalizer, giving the Westies hope they would at least come out of the contest with a tie.
“It was a perfectly executed goal, like we practice,” Camara said. “It was a cross from Dalia from the back post and one-timed into the net. We were able to get the ball across the box.”
Mercy came out of the gates quickly in the game, scoring twice within 11 minutes. Victoria Scott set up Kendra Landy 12 minutes into the game and Landy beat Case for a 1-0 lead.
Mercy would extend the lead 23 minutes in. This time, Jane Landy put the ball in the back of the net, giving Mercy a 2-0 lead with 17 minutes remaining in the first half.
“It makes it tough when you get behind like that,” Camara said. “We still had an opportunity to get back in it and regroup which we were able to do.”
The Westies showed the tenacity they have played with in the first handful of games. Just four minutes after Jane Landy’s goal, Melanie Reiss set up Gabriella Reis, who beat Mercy goalkeeper Claire Kimball to cut the deficit in half.
Reis’ goal gave West Haven some momentum and five minutes later, the game was tied at two. Abu-Sitteh beat Kimball off an assist from Lavery as the play of the game quickly swung to West Haven’s favor. “It says a lot that we did not give up,” Camara said. “We adjusted and actually overcame the goals. We started the second half really well but their goal set us back.”
Mercy took the momentum back just six minutes after Abu-Sitteh scored. Shannon Hickey beat Case with two minutes remaining in the first half, sending the Westies to the break down 3-2.
“I told the girls what they were doing wrong and the key things to look for,” Camara said. “We focused on that and were able to step up.”
Case finished with five saves in the game. Kimball made six saves in the victory for the Tigers.
Good mix on field key to early season
By MIKE MADERA
HAMDEN (September 21, 2011) – Through nearly 60 minutes of play Tuesday evening, the West Haven girls soccer team completely dominated Hamden. The next 20 minutes were not so easy. Withstanding a pair of Hamden goals in a span of seven minutes, the Westies defeated the Green Dragons 3-2 at Hamden High. With the victory, West Haven improved to 3-0-1 on the year.
“We dominated the first half and the beginning of the second half,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We missed a couple of opportunities early in the second half and they rallied. We were able to hold them off.”
Leading 2-0, West Haven picked up an insurance goal eight minutes into the second half. Freshman Marisa Pacapelli took possession of the ball, got deeper into Hamden territory and beat Hamden goalkeeper Katelyn Murphy for a 3-0 lead.
“It’s crazy,” Pacapelli said about her first varsity goal. “You feel the rush after scoring. To have all my teammates high-five me and celebrating with me is a great feeling.
“I have definitely gotten more comfortable out there. We have been playing so well. We are off to a good start.”
Following Pacapelli’s goal, the Westies had more opportunities to cash in. Each opportunity would go by the boards.
Gabriella Reis was denied by Murphy from 30 yards out with 25 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the second half and McKenzie Farquharson was denied three minutes later.
Hamden also had its chances but West Haven goalkeeper Maria Case continually came up big. Case denied Ashley Wendland from 25 yards out and ran out to deny Hamden sniper Rachel Ugolik of a scoring opportunity shortly after.
Ugolik finally solved Case and the Westies with 22:23 remaining in the contest. Ugolik got through the West Haven defense down the left side and beat Case to cut the deficit to 3-1.
After Case denied Ugolik four minutes later and Reis shot over the net from 20 yards out, Ugolik was at it again. Taking a pass from Sarah Vita, Ugolik drilled a shot past Case to cut the Hamden deficit to 3-2. with 15:38 remaining.
“We felt the momentum shift but our defense held it together,” Reis said after scoring once and adding two assists. “We kept working and we were disciplined. We were able to stay strong.
“I think our unity on the field has gotten us stronger. We were able to step up when we needed to.”
Before West Haven could celebrate, the Westies would have to fend off Wendland’s kick with 35 seconds remaining from 25 yards out. Case denied Wendland and the Westies had their third victory of the year.
“I knew I just had to do it,” Case said of her last save of the night. “This feels good. We expected to be good. We only lost four seniors from last year. We have to play as a team.”
West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the first half. Reis set up Ashley Hulse who beat Murphy 17 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The Westies took a 2-0 lead 14 minutes later. Farquharson set up Reis and the senior beat Murphy for the two-goal lead.
“As seniors, me, Dalia (Abu-Sitteh), Brittany (Case) and Gabby (Reis) try to keep everyone up even after a goal,” Farquharson said. “We want to do that after every goal. Confidence is the key.
“We have such good chemistry. We have been moving people around and we finally found the right potion.”
Case made six saves in the win for West Haven. Murphy came up with seven saves for Hamden.
On a Roll
Westies improve to 2-0-1 with victory over Branford
By MIKE MADERA
(September 19, 2011) - Heading into the season, many observers were concerned about the offense of the West Haven girls soccer team. With a solid defense and Maria Case in goal, the offense would need to produce if the Westies were to be successful.
Just three games into the season, West Haven has remained undefeated. Monday afternoon in Branford saw the Westies improve to 2-0-1 with a 4-1 victory over the Hornets.
“I am very happy with the start we have had,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We have a long week ahead of us with some tough games. But, I have been very happy with the start we have had.
“I have been very pleased with the defense. We have played very well.”
The Westies took control of the game quickly and never looked back by scoring twice in the first half. West Haven started the half with a quick goal and ended the first 40 minutes in the same fashion.
Just 6 minutes, 24 seconds into the game, West Haven held a 1-0 lead. Dalia Abu-Sitteh set up Ashley Hulse and Hulse beat Branford goalkeeper Rebecca Vitale for a 1-0 lead.
Dalia Abu-Sitteh, seen above against Amity, helped West Haven to a 2-0 lead against Branford with a goal and an assist, September 19, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“It was important to get off to a quick start,” Camara said. “I was hoping to get a bigger lead earlier to give some legs a rest.
“It got to 3-0 in the second half and I was finally able to give some legs a rest with fifteen minutes left.”
Abu-Sitteh helped West Haven extend the lead at the 39:30 mark when she beat Vitale off an assist from McKenzie Farquharson. The second goal was just what the Westies needed to provide a little cushion.
“We might have had two more goals but they made some good saves,” Camara said. “We had opportunities. It could have been 4-0 at the half.”
West Haven did not let up in the second half. Goals by Gabriella Reis and Victoria Lavery 20 minutes apart sealed West Haven’s second victory of the year.
“Gabby has been non-stop in the middle of the field,” Camara said of Reis. “Dalia played half the game on defense and the other half on offense. We brought her up then finished the game in back with her. Wherever she has played, she has played very well.”
Case played well in goal, stopping all nine shots she faced. Maggie Borer stopped one of two shots, allowing Bridget Judd’s goal in the final two minutes.
“She (Case) has played very well,” Camara said. “They have all played extremely well. We have played very well. All my seniors have played well. McKenzie (Farquharson) has helped lock up the defense.”
West Haven players (above) celebrate with goalkeeper Maria Case following West Haven's scoreless tie with Amity, September 16, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies and Amity play to scoreless tie
By MIKE MADERA
WOODBRIDGE (Sept. 16, 2011) – West Haven coach John Camara has seen his team open the 2011 season in different ways. The Westies opened the season scoring four times and cruising past Sheehan.
West Haven would face a very different team Friday afternoon on the road as they traveled to play a tough Amity squad. Using solid defensive play and the goalkeeping of Maria Case, the Westies left Woodbridge with a scoreless tie.
Maria Case (above) makes a great save against Amity in West Haven's scoreless tie with the Spartans, September 16, 2011. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“They (Amity) are a very good team,” Camara said. “Our girls knew that. We prepared for it for a couple of days and came into the game with focus and determination.
“I am very pleased. We got a point out of the game and that makes us closer to our goal of qualifying for the state tournament.”
West Haven was fortunate to escape with the tie as Amity dominated the first half before the Westies picked up the pace in the second half.
The West Haven defense, led by McKenzie Farquharson, tried to contain the Spartans in the first half as Amity had all the pressure. Case was forced to stop Maeghan Howard on a corner kick with 9 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the half then denied Maddie Dellert in front with 7:18 remaining.
Amity’s best chance to get on the scoreboard came a short time later. Junior Allison Maier’s shot had Case beaten but went over the net to keep the game scoreless at the half.
“Our whole team is more in unison,” Camara said. “We left no lanes for their midfielders and forwards to get through.
“They had some close opportunities and Maria (Case) made some nice saves. We had some great balls across the box we didn’t capitalize on. Either team could have taken the game.”
The Spartans attacked right from the start in the second half before West Haven got going. Sophomore Cassie Giza appeared to be on her way to giving Amity the lead but her shot from in front went wide of the net just 1:40 into the second half.
The Westies received some energy with the play of a freshman. Marisa Pacapelli played a solid defensive game and turned that play into some offensive opportunities.
After Dalia Abu-Sitteh shot wide from the side of the net with 4:52 gone by in the second half, Pacapelli’s header was denied in front 10 minutes in.
West Haven’s best opportunity then came with 24:39 to go in the second half. Sophomore Melanie Reiss fed a perfect pass in front but no one was there as the Westies let a golden opportunity slide by.
Case made 13 saves in the tie for West Haven.
Westies open season with road victory
By MIKE MADERA
WALLINGFORD (September 13, 2011) – With the damage done around the city with recent storm Irene, West Haven’s athletic complex was not spared. As water got under the turf at Ken Strong Stadium, repairs needed to be made.
As a result, West Haven’s opening contest was switched to Sheehan. Using three first half goals, the Westies defeated Sheehan 4-2 at Riccitelli Field Tuesday afternoon.
Gabriella Reis and Dalia Abu-Sitteh each scored twice, Maria Case made 10 saves and McKenzie Farquharson anchored the defense as West Haven overcame a slow start to post the victory.
“I thought we got off to the slow start but we picked it up,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “I thought we came out maybe underestimating them because we fared well against them last year. We attacked well after that.”
The Westies won the game in the first half, scoring three times, and taking a 3-2 lead to the half. Reis was the star in the first half as she scored the equalizer to knot the game at one and gave the Westies a 3-2 lead at the 36 minute, 30 second mark.
West Haven's Gabriella Reis, seen above against Amity, scored twice in the season opener for West Haven. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“The only thing we wanted to do was work hard and win the 50-50 balls,” Reis said. “We started slowly but we picked it up the second part of the first half. We moved the ball around and played to win.”
Sheehan jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead when Lia Gagliardi scored just 6 minutes, 15 seconds into the game off an assist from Danielle Valente. The Titans’ lead lasted exactly nine minutes.
Reis knotted the game when she blasted a shot just outside the box past Sheehan freshman goalkeeper Veronica Pelletier. Just 5:15 later, Abu-Sitteh took advantage of a bobbled ball by Pelletier to give West Haven a 2-1 lead.
“I think it (leadership of the captains) is pretty important,” Reis said. “We want to make sure the girls know we are here for them. We will pick each other up if we make mistakes. There are eleven players on the field. Everyone is part of the team.”
Sheehan evened the contest just 3:38 after Abu-Sitteh had given West Haven the lead when Valente set up Gagliardi for the second time.
“Lia is just doing a phenomenal job,” Sheehan coach Rob Huelsman said. “I thought we matched up pretty good against West Haven. They are pretty skilled and they are a strong team. I thought we matched up well, but it was not easy.”
Allyson Hemstock, who set up Reis’ first goal, was at it again in the final ten minutes of the opening half. Reis’ shot from 25 yards out eluded Pelletier, giving West Haven a lead the Westies never relinquished.
West Haven put the game away five minutes into the second half. Reis set up Abu-Sitteh, who came alone in front and beat Pelletier inside the post.
“We have eleven players working together,” Reis said. “We are not just one player. Everyone is expected to lead and play to win.”
West Haven had more opportunities in the second half but could not convert. Melanie Reiss could not poke in a rebound of a corner kick by Reis and Reiss shot over the net five minutes later.
West Haven had three more opportunities in the second half. Abu-Sitteh fired a shot on top of the net 22 minutes into the second half and Reis was denied in front two minutes later.
“This win was very important as we needed to gain confidence,” Camara said. “We have not practiced on turf so it was a little strange to us.”
Senior Maria Case made 10 saves in the victory for West Haven.
The two teams will swich home dates, with the Westies hosting the Titans in the regular season finale, Saturday, October 29 at 7 p.m.
Girls Soccer Preview
Lost to Graduation: Shauna, Kelly, Jessica Simoes, Brina Yanez, Brenda Yanez, Martha Jacobs
2010 record: 5-10-1
2011 captains: McKenzie Farquharson, Sr.; Gabriella Reis, Sr.; Dalia Abu-Sitteh, Sr.
West Haven's 2011 captains Dalia Abu-Sitteh (l.) and McKenzie Farquharson (r.). Missing from photo is captain Gabriella Reis.
Maria Case (l.) makes a save in a scrimmage against Lauralton Hall
with McKenzie Farquharson (r.) defending.
Westies ready for 2011
Returning to state tournament is the goal
By MIKE MADERA
The 2011 West Haven girls soccer team has one goal in mind. After missing the state tournament in 2010, that goal is getting back to where the Westies feel they belong.
“Our goal is to return to the state tournament,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We were fortunate to make it for a while and now we are making that a goal once again. The division is pretty tough. Everyone has a chance. It is pretty equal.”
If West Haven is to get back to the postseason, the Westies will have to rely on the leadership of their three captains. Those senior captains, McKenzie Farquharson, Gabriella Reis and Dalia Abu-Sitteh, will play a vital role in the success of the team.
“We have seen very good leadership from our captains,” Camara said. “They have shown good organization and brought unity to the team. That will be key throughout the season.”
Farquharson is a strong player who will play center/back and will anchor the defense. Reis can control the game at any time and Abu-Sitteh will use her speed to help the offense at her forward position.
“McKenzie has helped us out in various positions,” Camara said. “Last year, we switched her back to defense. Once she was back there, we were more organized. She played extremely well back there. She is strong and does not give up anything. That is a plus for the team.
“Dalia was a defender. We needed her on attack to use her speed to help out up front. Hopefully, we can use her speed and size. Gabby’s skill level has helped the team tremendously. She has great vision and she is a key player for the team. She will create a lot of opportunities.”
Camara’s team also has key returning players in seniors Brittany Case, Maria Case and Ashley Hulse. Brittany Case will help anchor the defense, Maria Case will play in goal and Hulse is a forward.
Sophomore Victoria Lavery will return with a year of experience at the midfield and forward positions. Lavery will be counted on to help the Westies’ attack.
“We need to play good soccer,” Camara said. “If we continue to progress and play the way we have been playing lately, we will do well. We are progressing well. If we move forward in this way, we should do well and achieve our goals.
“In our three scrimmages, we have allowed only one goal. We have been stingy when it comes to giving up goals. I like that. Last year, we gave up quite a few.”
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
All-State players - Carlin Guarneri '96; Danielle Lacroix '99; Rebecca Sampara '07; Nicole Pacapelli '09
Retired numbers - Carlin Guarneri (Class of 1997) #1