THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
All-State players - Carlin Guarneri '96; Danielle Lacroix '99; Rebecca Sampara '07; Nicole Pacapelli '09, Gabriella Reis '11
Retired numbers - Carlin Guarneri (Class of 1997) #1
End of the Road
Westies play to 0-0 tie with Foran in season finale
By MIKE MADERA
(October 25, 2012) – When looking back at the 2012 season, West Haven coach John Camara does not need to look far to see why his team finished with a 0-13-3 record. While the team lost several key players to graduation, the story of the year was a lack of offense.
The Westies scored just 6 times in 16 games and never put fear into any opposing teams. Thursday evening was no different as the Westies and Foran played to a 0-0 tie at Foran High.
“Although we dominated and had quite a few opportunities, we could not finish,” Camara. “The story of our year was the ball did not bounce our way.
“We attacked so much,” Camara said. “We attempted to relieve the pressure off the offense.”
Maggie Borer made 7 saves in the tie for West Haven.
Sheehan qualifies for state tournament with 3-0 win over WH
By MIKE MADERA
(October 24, 2012) – The West Haven girls’ soccer team has had trouble scoring all year. With just 6 goals in 14 games heading into Wednesday night’s contest against Sheehan, the Westies were hoping to find that scoring touch before the season ended.
Sheehan had to know of West Haven’s offensive woes. Needing just a tie to qualify for the postseason, the Titans would have been content to just hold the Westies off the scoreboard.
While the first half played out that way, Sheehan controlled the second half. Scoring 3 times in the final 40 minutes, Sheehan defeated the Westies 3-0 and qualified for the postseason with a 5-7-4 record. With the loss, West Haven dropped to 0-13-2.
After a scoreless first half, the Titans got the only goal they would need 8 minutes into the second half. Sophomore Ania Spina put Sheehan on the scoreboard, giving the Titans a 1-0 lead.
With West Haven struggling to find the back of the net, Sheehan’s chances of playing in the postseason increased with each passing minute. The Titans added another goal 8 minutes after Spina scored and comfortably beat the Westies in Wallingford.
Westies fall to Amity on Senior Night
By MIKE MADERA
Senior Matt Olenick contributed to this article
(October 22, 2012) – The 2012 season has been anything but easy for the West Haven girls’ soccer team. Looking to pick up their first win of the year on Senior Night, the Westies were unable to do so.
Behind two goals from Maeghan Howard, Amity defeated the Westies 4-1 at Ken Strong Stadium. With the loss, West Haven dropped to 0-12-2 on the year.
The Spartans had the best scoring opportunities in the first half but were denied by West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer until 8 minutes, 37 seconds remained in the half.
After Tara Ramirez had her shot roll past the net from in front with 18:59 to go in the half, Borer denied a shot by Allison Maier from 20 yards out with 16:12 remaining.
The Spartans finally cracked Borer with 8:37 to go. With a rebound loose in front, Howard drilled the shot to the back of the net for a 1-0 Amity lead.
With scoring at a minimum for the Westies, they hoped to contain Amity in the second half. That did not materialize early as Howard beat Borer with a hard shot to the top right corner 9:23 into the second half for a 2-0 Amity lead.
The Spartans had a golden opportunity to extend the lead with 23:50 left in the game but Katie Koshes missed from 20 yards out with an open net as Borer came out of the net to play the ball.
West Haven finally had a scoring opportunity 18:16 into the second half, but Ava Gambardella missed from in front.
Amity did not miss on its next scoring opportunity as Erika Fox beat Borer from 30 yards out with a beautiful shot to the top right corner with 18:18 remaining.
The Westies then had more quality scoring chances. West Haven failed to capitalize on a corner kick by Tory Lavery with 10:50 left and Lavery’s corner was caught by Amity goalkeeper Zoie Reed with 7:58 to go.
West Haven finally capitalized with 3:39 remaining. Lavery’s free kick from 30 yards out went right over Reed to get West Haven on the scoreboard.
Not in the Cards
Westies fall to Law
BY MIKE MADERA
MILFORD (October 17, 2012) – The West Haven girls’ soccer team has struggled with scoring this year. When Jonathan Law scored twice in the first half, the Westies faced an uphill battle.
Despite a second half goal by Samantha Furtak, West Haven fell to Law 2-1 in Milford Wednesday evening. With the loss, West Haven fell to 0-11-2. Law improved to 6-6-1 and qualified for the state tournament.
Law used first half goals by Brianna Grazynski and Paige Szygiel to take a 2-0 lead. With the goalkeeping of Emily Romero, the two goals were enough for Law as Romero made 13 saves.
“We played well,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We just did not finish.”
West Haven had plenty of scoring opportunities and controlled play the latter part of the first half and the majority of the second half.
Carly Brereton sailed a shot over the net from 19 yards out with 8 minutes remaining in the first half and Furtak’s corner found its way in front but was not converted 2 minutes later.
West Haven had another opportunity with 4 minutes remaining in the half. Ava Gambardella was stopped from 12 yards out, keeping West Haven in a 2-0 hole.
“In the first half, for a moment, we were a little unorganized,” Camara said. “We regrouped but the two goals were too difficult to overcome. Our scoring this year has not been plentiful.”
The Westies pressured Romero throughout the second half, but only Furtak’s free kick from 36 yards out with 5:23 remaining found the back of the net.
Prior to Furtak’s goal, Brereton was denied from 25 yards out 4 minutes into the second half and Brereton shot over the net 9 minutes later.
After Furtak’s free kick went over the net 2 minutes later, Marisa Pacapelli was denied by Romero from 35 yards out with 21:35 left.
Tory Lavery then had a pair of scoring opportunities within 3 minutes but Romero denied Lavery from 35 and 30 yards out.
West Haven’s best opportunity came from Alexis Severino with 6:55 remaining. After making a nice move to get by the defense, Severino ripped a shot past Romero but off the crossbar.
Maggie Borer made 8 saves in the loss for the Westies.
Westies fall to Mercy in final seconds
By MIKE MADERA
(October 15, 2012) - The 2012 season has been one of a lack of offense for the West Haven girls’ soccer team. Scoring four goals all year, the Westies would have been happy to come away with a point against Mercy Monday evening.
With 1 minute left in the game, that point looked as if it would become reality. The final 26 seconds told a different story.
Mercy’s Blakeslee Palmer scored off an assist from Sara Richardson with 26 seconds left in the game as Mercy rallied to defeat the Westies 1-0 at Ken Strong Stadium.
The Tigers improved to 9-1-2, while West Haven fell to 0-10-2 with the stunning loss.
Liz Falcigno made 2 saves in the shutout for Mercy, while Maggie Borer made 5 saves in the loss for the Westies.
Ciaramella leads SHA past Westies
Four goals spark Pacers to 6-1 win
By MIKE MADERA
HAMDEN (October 12, 2012) - Angela Ciaramella is well aware of how the postseason works. The more wins a team has, the better the seeding in the state tournament.
Ciaramella also understands her team needs to qualify for the postseason first.
With her team hovering around the .500 mark and battling for a postseason bid, Ciaramella took over Friday afternoon against West Haven. Scoring four times in the first half, Ciaramella led her team to a 6-1 victory at Sacred Heart Academy.
“This was a really big game for us,” Ciaramella said. “We are a hard working team. We want to go out there and represent ourselves and go to the states.”
Ciaramella set the tone of the game early, scoring twice in the first 9 minutes, 16 seconds of the game, including the first goal, off an assist from Sydney Sullivan, 2:53 into the contest.
The Sacred Heart junior’s second goal was one of beauty as she went in and out of traffic in front of the West Haven goal and ripped a shot past West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer to the lower left corner.
“We came out flat,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We played back to back days and played very hard yesterday.We were definitely two steps behind.
“We went down two goals and I took the opportunity to play kids off the bench. We had the opportunity to get rested legs on the field.”
Borer kept her team in the game with a diving save off a shot by Alyssa Paolillo with 16:20 left in the first half, but just over one minute later, Ciaramella was at it again. Ciaramella broke away from the pack in front and beat Borer to the left corner for a 3-0 lead.
For the rest of this article, read the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Mercy Owns Westies
Own goal sinks West Haven in 1-0 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(October 11, 2012) – The West Haven girls’ soccer team traveled to Middletown knowing it was playing a tough Mercy team. What the Westies did not realize was they would help Mercy post a victory.
Taking advantage of an own goal, Mercy defeated the Westies 1-0 Thursday afternoon in Middletown. With the loss, West Haven dropped to 0-8-2, while the Tigers improved to 7-1-2.
Mercy held a 23-4 shot advantage in the game, but West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer was on her game. Borer came up big throughout the contest, making 15 saves.
The Westies did not help Borer in the second half. After a scoreless battle over the first 40 minutes, the Westies were hurt 15 minutes into the second half. An own goal proved to be the difference in the game.
Mercy goalkeepers Liz Falcigno and Michaela Tyrrell combined on the shutout with Falcigno making two saves and Tyrrell finishing with one save.
Green Dragons defeat Westies
WH falls to Hamden 3-1
By MIKE MADERA
(October 9, 2012) – Nine games into the regular season, the West Havengirls’ soccer team has scored just three times. With the third goal coming against Hamden in a 3-1 loss Tuesday evening at Hamden High, the odds are not very good for West Haven to be in the win column.
Tuesday was no different as the Westies scored in the final 7 minutes, already trailing by three goals. The loss dropped West Haven to 0-7-2 on the season.
“It is the same story,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We did not minimize our mistakes and that cost us a goal.
“We had a pretty good first half and right at the end, we make one mistake to a very good player (Rachel Ugolik) and that very good player puts it in the goal.”
Camara was talking about Hamden’s Rachel Ugolik who took advantage of a West Haven mistake and turned it into a goal when she beat West Havengoalkeeper Maggie Borer with 8 minutes to go in the first half.
Ugolik was not done for Hamden. The senior set up Briana Vergato 5 minutes into the second half and watched as Emma Gigantino scored with 10 minutes to go for a 3-0 lead.
West Haven did get on the scoreboard with 7 minutes to go off a corner kick. Tory Lavery’s corner found her way to Rebecca Norman and the ball bounced off Norman into the net for a goal to cut the deficit to 3-1 with 7 minutes to go.
“We had an opportunity with a corner kick and were able to put it in,” Camara said. “Tory hit it in to Rebecca and she had a nice touch on it.
“We are frustrated with our inability to score but we continue to move forward and move in the right direction.”
Borer made 8 saves in the loss for West Haven. Dadio picked up the win with 4 saves.
West Haven falls to Branford, 5-0
By MIKE MADERA
(October 5, 2012) – West Haven coach John Camara knew his team might struggle to find the back of the net this season. With the loss of several key players to graduation, plenty of shuffling would go on until the Westies found the right combination.
That combination has not been found yet. Allowing four first half goals, the Westies fell to Branford Friday evening 5-0 in Branford.
The contest marked the second time the Westies have been shut out by the Hornets this season by a combined 12-0. West Haven has scored just twice in 8 games and fell to 0-6-2 with the loss.
Branford improved to 5-3 behind the play of junior Tanya Altrui. Altrui scored all three of her goals in the first half and assisted on another to give the Hornets a 4-0 halftime lead. Taylor Eaton’s second half goal made the 5-0 final.
Altrui got things going for Branford just 4 minutes, 29 seconds into the game when she beat West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer for a 1-0 lead. Just 53 seconds later, Altrui set up Sara Consolo for a 2-0 lead.
The Westies, who had only 5 shots in the game, could not create an attack and saw the Hornets pull away late in the half. Altrui scored twice in 6:15 for a 4-0 lead with 5:17 remaining in the half.
Branford outshot West Haven 11-5 in the contest. Borer finished with 7 saves and Branford’s Rebecca Vitale had 4 saves in the shutout.
GIRLS SOCCER 2012
Westies and Foran play to scoreless tie
By MIKE MADERA
(October 3, 2012) – Fresh off a disappointing tie with Jonathan Law two days earlier, the West Haven girls’ soccer team looked to right the ship against Foran-Milford. Unable to find the back of the net, the Westies played to a scoreless tie with the Lions Wednesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” West Haven coach John Camara said after improving to 0-5-2. “We missed quite a few close ones.
“We thought we could have had the win. The positive is we had a lot of opportunities. The negative is we lost an extra point.”
The Westies had opportunities from the start but could not convert. Rebecca Norman was denied by Foran goalkeeper Carly Pala 45 seconds into the game and Allyson Hemstock shot over the net 12 minutes in.
Marisa Pacapelli could not convert from 20 yards out, shooting wide to the right with 17:39 remaining in the half.
Tory Lavery also had her opportunities in the opening half. Lavery shot wide from 20 yards out with 3:25 left in the half and set up an opportunity off a corner which saw the ball trickle past the goal with 2:40 remaining.
After a defensive misplay by Pala, Alexis Severino had a scoring opportunity. Severino shot wide to the left from 25 yards out with 1:08 to go in the half. The Westies tried numerous times in the first half to set up Pacapelli but came up empty.
“We attacked overall with more players,” Camara said. “The defense was semi challenged because we had so much attack.”
Pacapelli did have a shot blocked in front of the net by Pala 6:04 into the second half, then shot wide with 20:16 to go. Pacapelli was denied by Pala with 18:03 remaining from 20 yards out.
West Haven’s best scoring chance late in the game came with 3:44 remaining. Jolie Morrell’s free kick set up Pacapelli but Pacapelli shot high.
Maggie Borer again played well in goal with 8 saves. Borer denied a corner kick by Alyssa Pudill with 23:50 remaining in the game, then stopped a scoring attempt from Kali Borden with a diving play to prevent a shot with 14:17 left.
“Maggie (Borer) played well again,” Camara said. “She has played well the last couple of games.”
Borer then denied another Foran scoring chance with 4:51 remaining as she stopped a cross from the left corner by Kayla Newall.
Borer shines but Westies stumble late in tie with Law
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 1, 2012) – Looking for its first win of the year, theWest Haven girls’ soccer team could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Needing to hold off Jonathan Law for the final 12 minutes, the Westies were unable to do so.
Erin Saley’s goal with 11 minutes, 50 seconds left in the second half helped Law rally to a 1-1 tie with West Haven at Ken Strong Stadium Monday evening.
“I am disappointed in the outcome of the game,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “I am actually pleased as we are taking what we are learning in practice and bringing it here.”
Saley’s goal put a damper on what was a solid night for West Havengoalkeeper Maggie Borer. The junior was on her game, making five stellar saves and stopping numerous Law scoring opportunities from developing.
“Maggie made some big saves for us tonight,” Camara said. “She has been working hard in practice and it showed today.”
The Westies (0-5-1) looked as if they would pick up their first win of the year with 19:33 remaining in the contest. Off a scramble to the side of the net, Marisa Pacapelli turned and fired into the net for a 1-0 lead. The unassisted goal was Pacapelli’s first of the season.
“It was a hard fought goal,” Camara said. “We kept the pressure on. Marisa did not give up.”
After Pacapelli’s goal, Law picked up the pressure. Mariah Root shot wide from 20 yards out before the game turned in an instant.
West Haven failed to clear the ball leaving Root and Saley with a scoring opportunity. Root fed Saley, who drilled a laser past Borer to even the game at 1 with 11:50 left in the game.
“It was a defensive error,” Camara said. “The team got me a goal, which we have struggled all year to get. The defense has to hold that lead.”
Despite allowing the tying goal, West Haven had one final scoring opportunity with 1:25 remaining. Off a corner kick by Tory Lavery, Jolie Morrell just shot a header high over the goal.
“I think both teams, before the game began, felt like they had a chance to win,” Law coach J.D. Rhode said. “This was a good indication of where the game could end.”
Borer was at her best in the first half. The West Haven goalkeeper stopped Brianna Grazynski from in close 19 minutes into the game, made a running save on a shot by Kasey Butts with 13:15 to go in the half and saved her best save of the game with 8:25 left in the first half.
Butts’ shot from 25 yards out seemed destined to the top of the net but Borer quickly punched the ball over the goal.
“I have been working on that a lot,” Borer said after finishing with 5 saves. “I have been working in practice.
“It was really important for the offense to score. We have to work harder. I think we can do it (make state tournament).”
The Westies had their share of scoring opportunities in the first half. Law goalkeeper Emily Romero denied Lavery from 25 yards out, then stopped Lavery again from 30 yards out with 4:40 left in the half.
Lack of Offense
SHA shuts out Westies 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 25, 2012)– With the winds swirling around Ken Strong Stadium, goals were sure to be at a premium Tuesday evening.
Using the wind to take the lead in the first half and capping the game with a late insurance goal, Sacred Heart Academy defeated West Haven 2-0 in West Haven. With the victory, the Pacers improved to 3-2, while West Haven fell to 0-5.
“This was one of our better performances of the year,” Sacred Heart coach George Bedocs said. “It was very good. It was a good win because of the circumstances with the wind. Getting a goal with the wind in the first half was the key.”
The Pacers scored the only goal of the game they would need with 22 minutes, 26 seconds left in the opening half. Off a direct kick, sophomore Paige Dostie lofted a shot from 32 yards out.
The ball just got through the outstretched arms of West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer to give the Pacers a 1-0 lead. That was all Sacred Heart needed.
Behind a stellar defense of Dostie, Kiana Rocco and Lexi Cafasso, Sacred Heart never let West Haven get on track. The Pacers did not allow any space for West Haven to create opportunities, frustrating the Westies throughout the game.
Westies fall to 0-4 with 2-0 loss againstHamden
By MIKE MADERA
Senior Matt Olenick contributed to this article
(September 21, 2012) – Since coming within 15 minutes of opening the season with a victory, the West Haven girls’ soccer team has had its struggles. Not one phase of game has been played well as the Westies opened the season with three straight losses.
Looking to get on the winning track, West Haven knew a tough task was at hand Friday evening when Hamden came to town. Despite playing much better than the previous two losses, West Haven fell to Hamden 2-0 at Ken Strong Stadium.
The Westies could not contain Rachel Ugolik, who scored both Hamdengoals. Aside from Ugolik’s goals, West Haven improved its game despite not being able to find the back of the net.
Maggie Borer made four saves for West Haven, allowing Ugolik’s first half goal and another by Ugolik with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game.
The clinching goal came off a nice move by Ugolik, who beat Borer into an empty net.
Ugolik gave Hamden all the offense the Green Dragons needed in the first half when she beat Borer 10:07 into the game.
Borer came up big twice after Ugolik’s goal, stopping Emma Gigantino on free kicks. The first came from 33 yards out with 8:45 to go in the half and the second was from 50 yards with 5:11 to go in the half.
West Haven’s best chance to tie the game in the first half came off the foot of Tory Lavery. That opportunity was denied when Hamden goalkeeper Kathleen Dadio stopped Lavery from 25 yards out.
The Westies had their opportunities in the second half. Lavery shot from 40 yards out 4:34 into the half, which Dadio denied, and followed with a free kick from 36 yards out 11 minutes later, which sailed over the goal.
Allyson Hemstock and Carly Brereton had chances to tie the game but there shots from close range went wide. Hemstock missed from 20 yards 16:01 into the half and Brereton did the same from 24 yards 1:59 later.
Dadio protected the lead in the final minutes, stopping Lavery from 30 yards out with 15:43 to go in regulation and doing the same to sophomore Adriana Yanez from 25 yards out with 8:12 to go.
West Haven had one final chance to even the game with 5:20 remaining. Lavery took a corner kick but no one could deliver for the Westies.
Ugolik iced the game three minutes later as Hamden improved to 3-1 andWest Haven fell to 0-4.
Dadio had four saves for Hamden.
Westies blanked by Amity
Scoring woes continue in 5-0 loss
By MIKE MADERA
WOODBRIDGE (September 19, 2012) - West Haven coach John Camara is looking for offense. Since a crushing loss to Sheehan in the season opener, the Westies suffered a shutout loss to Branford.
With three days to get back on track, the Westies traveled to play an experienced Amity team, which was having no problems pouring shots on goal in the first two games. That formula did not bode well for the Westies.
Led by three goals from Maeghan Howard and a barrage of shots, Amity defeated the Westies 5-0 at Amity High. With the win, the Spartans improved to 3-0, while the Westies, who have been outscored 12-0 in their last two games, fell to 0-3.
“It was a tough game,” Camara said. “Amity is a very good team. We started off organized and held them off for a while. We eventually broke down and gave up a goal. We maintained out organization until the end of the first half, but they scored on a penalty kick.”
Amity controlled play the entire first half as West Haven’s best scoring opportunity was denied when Marisa Pacapelli’s cross was cut off by Amity goalkeeper Zoie Reed 11 minutes into the game. West Haven never pressured again in the half.
The Spartans had plenty of opportunities in the first half but West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer made 12 saves. Amity also shot several wide or high over the net.
Borer’s best save of the half may have come 14 minutes in when she stopped a rocket by Howard. Amity finally capitalized with 12 minutes, 40 seconds left in the half.
Howard was at the center of the scoring. This time, Howard sent a perfect cross to Tara Ramirez who beat Borer for a 1-0 Amity lead.
Just 5:10 later, Amity led 2-0. Howard got the first of her three tallies when she buried a penalty kick past Borer, sending Amity to the half with a two goal lead.
“Little by little, they started breaking us down,” Camara said. “It could have been a lack of experience. The girls are working hard in practice.They have assured me of their commitment.”
After West Haven could not convert a corner kick 2:30 into the second half, Amity made the missed opportunity hurt. Just one minute later Amity’s Alexa Gibbs tapped in a cross from Katherine Simon which went off two West Haven defenders for a 3-0 lead.
Things continued to spiral for the Westies as Amity took a 4-0 lead just two minutes later. Howard was at it again, taking a pass from Dakota Kelly and ripping a rocket past Borer from 20 yards out.
“Our lack of scoring comes from our defensive struggles,” Camara said. “Defensively, we are not able to get the ball up for opportunities. We have to work on that. Once we get that corrected, we will be better offensively as well.”
Reed denied West Haven’s Becky Norman 10:30 into the second half before the Spartans put the game away. Howard capped the scoring as her penalty kick beat Borer 16:30 into the half.
“Amity is a very good team,” Camara said. “They are experienced. They move the ball well. You need that in high school soccer if you want to dominate.”
Reed made five saves to post the shutout for Amity. Borer finished with 18 saves in the loss for West Haven.
Westies fall to Branford 7-0
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 15, 2012) – Coming off a tough loss to start the season Wednesday evening, the last thing the West Haven girls’ soccer team wanted was a long layoff. Back on the field three short days later, the Westies may have wished the wait was longer.
Allowing three goals in the first 7 minutes, 36 seconds of the game, West Haven fell to Branford 7-0 at Ken Strong Stadium Saturday evening. With the loss, the Westies fell to 0-2 on the season.
“We came out flat,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “Late Saturday games have not been good to us. I don’t know what it is but Saturday games have not been very successful for us.”
The tone of the game was sent early as Branford took a 1-0 lead just 1:38 in. Sophomore Sara Consolo scored the first of her two goals when she beatWest Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer.
Junior Tanya Altrui needed just 3:49 to increase the lead to 2-0 and Consolo scored her second of the game2:09 later, giving Branford a 3-0 lead and ending Borer’s night.
“The struggles on offense are a concern, but of bigger concern is the defense,” Camara said. “If we can control the defense, maybe we get some opportunities. But, if we are continually in our end, we are going to have a tough time on both sides of the pitch.”
Branford took a 4-0 lead with 25:31 remaining in the half as sophomore Kara Nardella beat Janiene Tuinman and Emma Pottenger scored 3:15 later for a 5-0 lead. Senior Kelly Parker closed the first half scoring when she beat Tuinman with 9:09 remaining.
West Haven’s lone scoring threat in the half came with 2:20 remaining. Senior Rebecca Norman shot wide of an open net from 16 yards out, keeping West Haven off the scoreboard.
“We have tried a variety of different formations,” Camara said. “Today, we thought we were going to get our offense going. We struggled.”
Altrui scored the lone goal of the second half as she beat Tuinman 8:58 in.
Branford had 12 shots in the win, while West Haven had just one in the loss.
Sheehan scores two late goals to defeat Westies
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 12, 2012) – For 68 minutes in Tuesday evening’s season opener, a youthful West Haven team had done everything head coach John Camara could have asked. It was the final twelve minutes which will be remembered.
Capitalizing on constant pressure in West Haven’s part of the field, Sheehan scored twice in the final 11 minutes, 39 seconds to defeat West Haven 2-1 at Ken Strong Stadium.
“They (Sheehan) worked hard,” Camara said. “They deserved it. I thought our defense held up together. It is a new defense playing together. The goal is to play eighty minutes, not seventy five.”
Freshman Caitlin Jagoda scored the equalizer and junior Casey Hutchinson added the eventual winner 2:59 later as the Titans stole victory from West Haven’s grasp.
“This is a great start for us,” Sheehan coach Rob Huelsman said. “This is a big win for us. In the beginning of the season, you want to get that first win right off the bat.
“We have played West Haven the last ten or twelve years. They play tough every time out there. Tonight they did as well.”
With West Haven leading 1-0 on Carly Brereton’s first half goal, Sheehan started to put the pressure on West Haven goalkeeper Maggie Borer with 19 minutes to play in the second half. Ania Spina rifled a shot over the net with 19 minutes to go and Hutchinson did the same five minutes later.
Marisa Pacapelli will be counted on to lead the offense for West Haven in 2012. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Learning on the Fly
Westies looking to get back to the postseason
By MIKE MADERA
The 2011 season was a special one for the West Haven girls’ soccer team. With plenty of experienced veterans on the squad, the Westies had their best season in quite some time, advancing to both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments.
With the loss of six graduated seniors, the 2012 season may have some growing pains. Gone are the likes of goalkeeper Maria Case, Brittany Case, Dalia Abu-Sitteh, McKenzie Farquharson, Ashley Hulse and Gabby Reis.
“We lost six seniors and they were all starters,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “Five of the six were on defense. We have a whole new defense.
“We have huge shoes to fill all the way down the field with those losses. Maria Case might be the biggest loss as she could have held the defense together until we get the experience.”
If the Westies hope to return to the postseason, plenty of new players will have to join the returning players to form a cohesive unit.
Leading the way for West Haven will be senior co-captains Carly Brereton and Sam Young. Brereton won last season’s Coaches’ Award and will play center/midfield and Young will play outside/midfield.
“Their leadership will be very important,” Camara said. “There are players without experience. They (Brereton and Young) will have to keep the group together through good and bad. Their leadership will be very important.
“We have a lot of young players. The players who got us to the postseason last year are all gone. This is all new to a lot of them. They were not on the field last year.”
Along with Brereton and Young, the Westies will turn to some players who played key roles with last year’s team. Leading that group is sophomore Marisa Pacapelli who scored nine goals last year, was named the team’s Rookie of the Year and will play forward or attack midfield.
Juniors Tory Lavery and Allyson Hemstock will also play key roles on the team. Lavery will play outside midfield and she will be counted on to set up the offense, while Hemstock will play defense or midfield.
On the defensive side, junior Alexis Campbell, who was voted last season’s Most Improved Player, is the only returning defender and she will need to lead the group.
“We need to gain experience quickly,” Camara said. “The keys for us will be to keep the biscuit out of the basket. I told the kids I will take thirteen ties. That is enough to get us in the tournament. The key is to try to keep the ball out of the net.”
With the spotlight on the defense, replacing Maria Case in goal will be key. The battle for this position comes down to junior Maggie Borer and sophomore Janiene Tuinman.
According to Camara, Borer just needs experience, while Tuinman was on the field last year and is returning to the goalkeeper position this year. Camara stated Tuinman is playing well in goal despite not playing in a while.
Camara also has three players who he expects to be big contributors to the team. Junior Melanie Reiss will play forward, while sophomores Alexis Severino and Adriana Yanez will make contributions all over the field.
“I like the way the kids don’t quit,” Camara said. “Allyson Hemstock, Tory Lavery, Marisa Pacapelli and Carly Brereton don’t quit. They work hard.”