Congratulations to West Haven senior Marisa Pacapelli on signing her commitment letter to play soccer at the University of New Haven in the fall.
Marisa is a three sport athlete for the Blue Devils. She has been a starting varsity player all four years on the girls soccer team, the girls hockey team and the girls softball team, and was also named team captain this year for soccer and hockey.
Marisa helped lead the soccer team to three state tournaments in her four years. In 2012, 2013 & 2014 she was selected to the girls soccer SCC All-Quinnipiac Division team and in 2013 and 2014 she was selected to the girls soccer CHSCA Class LL All-State team. She was also selected to play in the CGSCA Senior bowl.
She is a peer advocate, a member of the National Honor Society and a Rotary Club Scholar athlete, and received many academic honors and awards. She volunteers in the learn to skate program, bowling with autistic children as well as other organizations.
She currently plays premiere soccer for CFC- Connecticut Football Club.
Marisa will be attending the University of New Haven in the fall where she will major in Marine Biology. Her parents are Annmarie and Gene (front row), sister Nicole and brother EJ (back row). Also seen in photo is former West Haven coach John Camara.
Photo courtesy of WHHS.
2014 POSTSEASON HONORS
West Haven soccer coach John Camara (c.) with senior Marisa Pacapelli (l.), who earned All-State honors, and sophomore Gabi Prisco (r.), who earned All-Southern Connecticut Conference honors.
West Haven soccer coach John Camara with senior Marisa Pacapelli, who earned All-State honors.
West Haven soccer coach John Camara with sophomore Gabi Prisco, who earned All-Southern Connecticut Conference honors.
Season ends with PK loss to Amity
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (November 4, 2014) - Amity coach Owen Quigley has seen his share of exciting games in his legendary coaching career. The long-time coach will need to add another to his memory.
After playing to a 2-2 tie through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, Amity hit on all four of its shots to defeat West Haven 4-3 in penalty kicks Tuesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament.
With the upset victory, the Spartans advance to the second round, where they will travel to play fifth-seeded South Windsor Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.
“We showed a lot of heart tonight,” Quigley said. “We were up 2-0 and t should have been game over. We gave them that first goal, then that second goal was just a fantastic goal. It goes to PK’s and it is just the luck of the draw. The kids showed a lot of resiliency.”
Gabi Prisco scores on a penalty kick against Amity, November 4, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the game even at two after 80 minutes of regulation and overtime, the thrilling contest would be decided by penalty kicks. Amity’s Zoie Reed, one of the best goalkeepers in the state, would match up against West Haven goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman. Tuinman replaced freshman Betsy Magana who played through regulation and overtime.
“I just had to stay composed and stay within the moment,” Reed said.
Said West Haven coach John Camara of the goalkeeper switch, “We have practiced penalty kicks all week since the SCC tournament. Janiene was better in practice. She saved more.”
Reed looked to seize the moment first as the Westies opened the penalty kicks, but the senior goalkeeper was never tested in the opening round as Marisa Pacapelli shot wide to the right. Amity’s Emma Gehr then set the tone for the Spartans as she beat Tuinman to the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.
West Haven’s Sam Furtak followed with a blast to the top right corner, but Amity’s Georgia Kral followed with a goal after initially being stopped by Tuinman. The ruling was the whistle had not blown to start play and Kral capitalized for a 2-1 Amity lead.
Despite the efforts of Marisa Pacapelli (l.) and Ruchelle Cabral (21), West Haven fell against Amity, November 4, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven’s MacKenzie Holy and Amity’s Alexa Gibbs traded goals before a rocket off the foot of Gabi Prisco to the top left corner evened the kicks at three apiece. When Amity’s Kelsey Morgan scored to put the Spartans on top 4-3, West Haven needed a goal by Alexia Perez to keep the game going.
“My emotions were all over the place,” Gibbs said of the penalty kicks. “I was able to block out everything.”
Perez ripped a shot just over the reach of Reed, but the ball sailed and hit off the crossbar of the football uprights to clinch the win for the Spartans.
“We showed tremendous character,” Camara said. “We were down 2-0 and we were able to come back. We fought to get that winning goal to the very last minute.”
After a scoreless first half in which Reed robbed West Haven’s Alexis Severino in front from 15 yards out just three minutes in, and Prisco off a free kick 11 minutes later, the Spartans were a different team in the second half.
Alexis Severino (5) had a big assist in a loss against Amity, November 4, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Just 20 seconds in, Gibbs sailed a shot just over the goal, before finishing the deal 3 minutes, 26 seconds into the second half. Taking a perfect lead pass from Alissa Beedle, Gibbs ripped a laser to the top of the goal for a 1-0 advantage.
Just 1:35 later, it appeared the Spartans were ready to end West Haven’s season. Gibbs sent a perfect cross in front to Jacquelyn Smith who shot past a diving Magana for a 2-0 lead.
“We were able to pull together,” Gibbs said. “They played well, but we came out ready and scored twice.”
With the season looking as if it was slipping away, Severino and Perez helped change the momentum of the game. A perfect tap from Severino found Perez in front and Perez snuck one by Reed to draw the Westies within 2-1 just 7:51 into the second half.
Prisco then forced the overtime with a brilliant goal. Coming down the right side, the sophomore ripped a bender to the top left corner, just over the fingertips of Reed to even the game at two.
Gabi Prisco shoots (above) and the ball just eludes the fingertips of Amity's Zoie Reed (below) in a loss to Amity in the opening round of the Class LL state tournament. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Each team had scoring opportunities in the remainder of regulation, but Magana saved the game to that point for the Westies when she slid to deny a shot by Smith with 19:50 remaining in regulation.
Magana made 10 saves in the loss for West Haven, while Reed had five saves for the Spartans.
Westies fall to Gaels in SCC Quarterfinals
Shelton gives WH quick exit with 2-1 victory
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
SHELTON (October 24, 2014) - The West Haven girls soccer team had to wait until the last possible day to see if it qualified for the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament. Unfortunately for the Westies, their stay was a short one.
Unable to capitalize on its opportunities, sixth-seeded West Haven watched as third-seeded Shelton scored twice in the second half to defeat the Westies 2-1 at Finn Stadium in Shelton.
This game was a very tough and upsetting loss for the Westies in the quarterfinals of the SCC tournament. The contest was a well fought game by both teams, but the Gaelettes took the win.
The Westies and Gaelettes had many chances throughout the game, but most shots were denied by strong defense, good goalkeeping, or they went wide. Shelton outshot West Haven 36-7 mainly because the Westies could not win a ball.
Freshmen goalkeeper Betsy Magana had 16 saves for the Westies, while Elysia St. George had four saves for the Gaelettes.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, Magana came out to make a save and tripped a Shelton player. giving the Gaelettes a penalty kick. Alexis Zoppi took the kick, shooting the ball into the bottom left corner, out of reach of Magana’s hands for a 1-0 Shelton lead.
With a 1-0 lead and confidence, Shelton added to its lead. Six minutes later, Zoppi was back at it, giving Shelton a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes left to play.
West Haven’s Marisa Pacapelli answered with a goal with 16 minutes left in the game as the ball hit off a Shelton defender, keeping Pacapelli onsides and giving her a breakaway. Pacapelli kicked the ball right past St. George to get the Westies within one goal.
West Haven had a corner kick in the last 30 seconds of the game. Pacapelli and sophomore Gabi Prisco did their set play with Prisco getting a shot off, but St. George made a diving save.
There were many other missed opportunities by both sides, which may have cost the game for the Westies.
Prisco missed two breakaways, one being denied by St, George and the second was denied by the Shelton defense. A pair of corners by Prisco were shot wide off the head of Jolie Morrell.
Alexia Perez also had a good cross to Prisco, but Prisco kept possession of the ball to get a shot off. Shelton’s Laurel Bailey also had a great chance from 15 yards out, but the ball rang off the post
Westies defeat Cross/Hillhouse/Career, 3-0
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 21, 2014) - The West Haven girls soccer team was not in a giving mood Tuesday evening. Fresh off a tough defeat at the hands of Lauralton Hall just a day earlier, the Westies were well aware they had to right the ship.
With an emotional start to the contest due to the seniors being honored on Senior Night, the Westies jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating Cross/Hillhouse/Career 3-0 to improve to 10-4-2.
West Haven's seniors prior to the Senior Night contest against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, October 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies controlled play in the game with a 22-7 shot advantage, but only had a 1-0 lead at the half as MacKenzie Holy scored off an assist from sophomore Gabi Prisco. Prisco had two assists in the game and has a team-leading 12 on the year.
The Westies continued the pressure in the second half and added two more goals.
Halfway through the second half, Prisco gave the Westies a 2-0 lead as she shot a rocket which Cross goalkeeper Kayla Daniels got her hands on, but, due to the rain, the slippery ball went right through her hands.
To fully put the game away, Prisco chipped a ball to senior captain Marisa Pacapelli, giving her a breakaway ball. Pacapelli capitalized on the opportunity, slipping the ball past the defender to increase the margin to 3-0.
Along with the three goals, the Westies had many chances throughout the game, mainly in the second half.
Senior Jaelyn Jones had two opportunities which just went wide, as well as opportunities from Prisco, Alexis Severino and Ruchelle Cabral.
The Governors also had their chances as they would clear the ball from defense, giving it to their forwards, but the forwards were stopped by the senior West Haven defense, including Jolie Morrell and Sam Furtak.
Two of the best opportunities for Cross came in the second half, but West Haven senior goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman got her hands on the ball.
Although the Blue Devils did not fully use their corner kick opportunities, this is where most chances came from. Cabral had three corner kicks, one which curled, just sliding on the top post, one which curled to the front post, and the last which rang off the head of Morrell, but not converted.
Tuinman made four saves while Daniels finished with nine for Cross/Hillhouse/Career.
The Westies needed this win if they wanted to play in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament beginning Saturday. Now, West Haven must wait to see if the help it needs comes through.
Westies fall to Lauralton Hall
Crusaders clinch SCC Quinnipiac Division with win
By MIKE MADERA
(October 20, 2014) - Lauralton Hall senior Sarah Haselkamp and her teammates knew it would be a challenge to play in the tough Southern Connecticut Conference in the team’s first year since moving from the South West Conference.
Haselkamp and her teammates were not going to let a tough schedule get in their way of accomplishing their goals.
Paced by a strong defensive effort and goals by Haselkamp and Grace Healy, the Crusaders took home the SCC Quinnipiac Division title with a 2-0 victory over West Haven at Ken Strong Stadium Monday afternoon.
“This is huge for us,” Haselkamp said after the Crusaders improved to 11-3-1. “We wanted to make an impression in our first year in the league. No one knew us. To win the Quinnipiac Division is a big step. We have played great all season. We have been on a great streak so far.”
The division clincher did not come without a cost for the Crusaders as one of their key players, Jamie Rush, was injured late in the game.
Trying to control the ball, the defender rolled her ankle and had to be helped off the field. While the extent of the injury is not yet known, losing a key defender in Rush is not what the Crusaders were looking for as the postseason approaches.
“I feel for Jamie,” Lauralton coach Pete Trenchard said. “She is someone who has helped us to be in the position we are in today of clinching the Quinnipiac Division.”
After a scoreless first half which was a defensive battle for both teams, West Haven had the early pressure in the second half but could not capitalize. Lauralton’s defense made sure to mark Marisa Pacapelli, Alexis Severino and Gabi Prisco, limiting West Haven’s opportunities.
Gabi Prisco fights for possession against Lauralton Hall, October 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven’s best early opportunity came when senior Alexia Perez fired a shot wide to the right from 20 yards out three minutes into the second half.
“It was a very competitive first half,” West Haven coach John Camara said after his team fell to 9-4-2. “In the second half, we got caught standing on our heels. They got a little help with the wind in the second half and we had a tough time getting out of our end. They score on a nice shot and capitalized on a free kick.”
Alexia Perez (33) battles for control of the ball against Lauralton Hall, October 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Crusaders withstood West Haven’s early pressure in the second half and took over play 14 minutes in. Healy tried to get Lauralton on the board first when her corner found Patricia Gildea in front, but Gildea headed a shot wide.
Caroline Monahan then came close as well one minute later, but West Haven goalkeeper Betsy Magana dove to block a Monahan shot and the rebound by Mia Mulin sailed over the net.
Betsy Magana makes a save against Lauralton Hall, October 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lauralton finally got the only goal it would need with 17:27 remaining in the contest. Haselkamp came down the right side, stopped and fired a bending shot which rang off the far post and into the goal for a 1-0 advantage.
“We kept great possession,” Haselkamp said. “It was a team effort.”
The Westies had two more opportunities to even the game, but Lauralton goalkeeper Colleen McCarthy was up to the challenge.
McCarthy denied Perez from 20 yards out with 16:33 left in the game, then stopped a shot by Pacapelli with 15 minutes to go from 30 yards out.
With McCarthy preserving the lead, Healy clinched the division when she looped a free kick over the hands of Magana and under the crossbar with 4:17 left in the game.
Jolie Morrell (15) played a solid defensive game against Lauralton Hall, October 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We did an excellent job shutting down a tough team,” Trenchard said. “We were able to shut them down and that was the key. It is an honor to win the division. It really is. You look at the teams we have to play in West Haven, Hamden, Mercy and Sacred Heart. They are tough teams to play.”
McCarthy finished with four saves in the shutout, while Magana made nine saves in the loss.
Westies roll past Platt Tech
Perez scores three times in win
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
(October 15, 2014) - The West Haven girls soccer team defeated the Platt Tech Lady Panthers 8-0 Wednesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium. With the win, West Haven improved to 9-3-2 on the year.
Low shots work best for the Westies with four of the goals being nailed on the ground past senior Platt Tech goalkeeper Nathalie Rafael.
In the victory, Alexia Perez had a hat trick, with two goals coming in the first half and one in the second. MacKenzie Holy also had a well-played game , coming up with three assists and some scoring opportunities which were denied. Holy had the assist on goals by Lizi Bowen, Perez and Gabi Prisco.
The Devils also had some good chances which were denied the Lady Panthers' defense and keeper. Perez had a rock from the sideline which was stopped by the keeper.
Marisa Pacapelli got her head on a ball which was bobbled by Rafael, but she recovered and made the save, and Prisco tried to follow up Pacapelli's shot, but was called off sides.
Three of West Haven's goals were unassisted. The three came from Pacapelli, who dribbled down the line through defenders and got a shot off, Perez and Diana Yanez.
After most of the starting lineup came off for West Haven, the Westies continued to get their opportunities. Carlie Tammaro, Ruchelle Cabral, and Precious Szostek had quality opportunities, but these chances were stopped by Platt's defense, went just wide, or were denied by the keeper.
Off the Pace
Westies fall to SHA, 1-0
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 13, 2014) - The West Haven girls soccer team fell to the Sacred Heart Pacers 1-0 in Hamden Monday afternoon. With the loss, West Haven fell to 8-3-2 on the year.
The lone goal of the game came when Kacey Neubauer passed the ball to the outside line to Deanna Sintay, who shot into the top back post.
"This was the type of game where it came down to a mistake, then a goal," West Haven coach John Camara said.
Monday's contest was much different than the first time the Westies played the Pacers on West Haven's home field. West Haven led 3-1 at the end of the first half, but thistime around, West Haven was chasing in the second half.
Sacred Heart outshot West Haven 22-17, and finally, one went in where the Westiescould not capitalize.
Freshman Mackenzie Holy and sophomore Gabi Pricso had many opportunities which were stopped by Sacred Heart keeper Meghan Jerram, or went sailing over the net.
West Haven had trouble with shooting and not taking its chances in this game and that showed in this loss. Most of West Haven's shots went wide on net.
Marisa Pacapelli tries to create offense against Sacred Heart Academy, October 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
There were shots by Alexia Perez, Alexis Severino, Marisa Pacapelli, Holy, and Prisco but no one could seem to put the ball in the back of the net. The final shot by captain Jolie Morrell in the last seconds of the game was a rocket over the net.
The Westies fell to 3-3-1 in the Quinnipiac Division with the loss.
Freshman Betsy Magana stopped nine shots while Jerram stopped eight West Haven shots.
Betsy Magana makes a diving save against Sacred Heart Academy, October 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco leads Westies past Hamden
Sophomore scores once and adds 2 assists in 3-0 win
By MATT CILBRITH
(October 10, 2014) - The West Haven Blue Devils girls soccer team beat rival Hamden on Friday afternoon, 3-0. The Blue Devils, now 8-2-2 on the year, scored all three of their goals in the first half and from there on just tried to control the ball.
“Our game plan coming in to this game was to possess the ball and conserve the legs because of all the day after games we have,” said West Haven head coach John Camara. “We wanted to make good passes and let the ball do the running to conserve energy and avoid any injuries.”
After suffering a tough loss to Mercy two days before, West Haven's defense played much better Friday afternoon, shutting out the Green Dragons.
“We always try to come out hard,” said captain Jolie Morrell. “Against Mercy we had a little bit of a break down. In practice yesterday, we worked on the things we noticed were lacking on defense.”
Jolie Morrell (15), seen here against Lauralton Hall, anchored the defense in a 3-0 win over Hamden, October 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven goalkeepers Janiene Tuinman and Betsy Magana played this game and shutout the Green Dragons, with both having three saves in the game. The Green Dragons outshot the Blue Devils 10-8.
Morrell also notched West Haven's third goal of the game towards the end of the first half. On a corner kick from Gabi Prisco, Morrell found herself in good position in front of the net and got her right foot directly on the ball and slammed it into the net.
“Our defense played really solid all game,” said the defender Morrell. “We knew we wanted to stop everything in front of us so we weren’t chasing. This is just such a hard working team and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Prisco had a big game as the sophomore was involved in all three of the West Haven goals, gathering a goal and two assists. The sophomore started off the scoring in the game with a set play off a corner kick.
Senior Marisa Pacapelli passed the corner to Prisco about ten feet away. Prisco then took a shot from close to the left sideline which she rocketed past the keeper, tucked just inside the far back post of the net.
Gabi Prisco gives West Haven a 1-0 lead over Hamden, October 10, 2014. Video courtesy of Ruchelle Cabral.
"That is a set play that we work on in practice,” Prisco said. “I always try to aim for the back post and it usually doesn’t work, but it did this time. That’s the first time we have been able to score with that play.”
Along with the assist on Morrell's goal, while battling in front of the Hamden net, Prisco got the ball to senior Alexis Severino, who let go a blast from 10 yards out that the Hamden keeper got a piece of but couldn't keep out of the net.
“The other night against Mercy we were just kicking the ball all over the place,” said Prisco. “Tonight we played a lot more composed. We were playing off each other, making passes, getting crosses, and kept our heads up to make plays.”
Coach Camara said the team got back to their strong suit this game after losing to Mercy on Wednesday.
“Our defense played great like they have done all year,” said Camara. “But that is normal for this team this year. We have a lot of shutouts this year.”
West Haven gets the weekend off before the Westies come back to Hamden to take on the Pacers of Sacred Heart Academy Monday afternoon at 3:45 p.m..
Westies fall 4-1 to Tigers
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 8, 2014) - A little less than three weeks ago in Middletown, the Mercy soccer team was unable to get going on offense in a shutout loss to West Haven. The Tigers had no such problem Wednesday evening.
Behind three goals from Olivia Ozycz, including two in the first half, Mercy cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Westies at Ken Strong Stadium. Mercy, which is undefeated in its last five games, improved to 6-2-2, while the Westies fell to 7-2-2.
“This is exciting,”Ozycz said. “We played together tonight. The defense, midfield and forwards all clicked this time.”
Jolie Morrell and the Westies fell to Mercy, October 8, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
The Tigers wasted no time letting the Westies know the second time around would be much different as Mercy scored twice in the first 20 minutes of the game and never looked back.
“This was a game we needed to win,” Mercy coach Marcus Harley said. “We needed a win to stay in the division race.”
Ozycz got the Tigers going early as she took a rebound shot off the post and in for a 1-0 lead 10 minutes 31 seconds into the game.
Exactly nine minutes later, the Tigers were ahead by two goals. Taking a feed from Danielle Richardson, Ozycz raced down the right sideline, cut in, and ripped a rocket off the left post and in for a two-goal lead.
“The problem is the team’s focus was not on this game,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We gave up two easy goals and it took a while before we regrouped.”
Richardson was at it again with 7:20 left in the first half as her cross in front found Katelyn Richardson for a 3-0 advantage.
“It felt awesome to be up two goals,” Ozycz said. “It was a great goal. We knew not to look back at that first game against them.”
Despite being down three goals at the half, the Westies had their opportunities. Gabi Prisco’s shot was stopped by Mercy goalkeeper Alyssa Morrisey from 20 yards out with 16 minutes left in the half, and a Prisco corner found Alexia Perez, but Perez sailed a shot over the goal.
Gabi Prisco played well, but the Westies fell to Mercy, October 8, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Morrisey’s best saves came in the final seconds of the opening half. Prisco’s hooking shot was denied with a diving save by Morrisey with 14 seconds left in the half.
“I am extremely disappointed,” Camara said. “We are in second place and now have no room for error. We need a little help from our competitors.”
Prisco, who created majority of West Haven’s scoring chances in the game, had a golden opportunity 13 minutes into the second half, but her shot and rebound from 10 yards out sailed wide of an open goal.
Prisco was then robbed by a saving save from Morrisey two minutes later.
The Westies finally got on the scoreboard 17:08 into the second half.
With Prisco taking a corner kick, the shot found its way to Jolie Morrell who headed the ball to MacKenzie Holy. The freshman calmly beat Morrisey to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Westies stepped up the attack, but could not get closer. Marisa Pacapelli’s shot from 32 yards out was stopped with 6:10 remaining.“We contained their speed,” Harley said. “Their number 20 (Prisco) is quick and we put our number seven (Victoria Fiore) on her. We worked well as a defensive unit tonight.”
West Haven’s Sam Furtak kept the deficit at two when she took the ball away from a breaking Kristen Dean, preventing a shot in close.
Sam Furtak (c.) makes the play, but the Westies fell to Mercy, October 8, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Mercy and Ozycz iced the contest in the final 7:45 as Haley Vanty’s shot was denied by West Haven’s Betsy Magana, but Ozycz knocked in the rebound.
Morrisey finished with nine saves in the win for Mercy. Magana, who replaced Janiene Tuinman in the first half, made five saves in the loss for the Westies.
MacKenzie Holy scores against Mercy, October 8, 2014. Double click on video to see full screen.
Gabi Prisco scores on a penalty kick against Amity, November 4, 2014. Double click to watch full screen.
GIRLS SOCCER 2014
All-State players - Carlin Guarneri '96; Danielle Lacroix '99; Rebecca Sampara '07; Nicole Pacapelli '09; Gabriella Reis '11; Marisa Pacapelli '13; Marisa Pacapelli '14
Retired numbers - Carlin Guarneri (Class of 1997) #1
Sam Furtak scores on a penalty kick against Amity, November 4, 2014. Double click to watch full screen.
Congratulations to the West Haven girls soccer team for winning the female soccer sportsmanship award from the GNHSOA (Greater New Haven Soccer Officials Association). The coach and the captains have been invited to attend a dinner at the Country House in East Haven to receive the award for the team.
Congratulations on the following individual awards:
Marisa Pacapelli - 2014 All-State
Gabi Prisco - 2014 All-Southern Connecticut Conference
Westies beat Trojans
Severino and Prisco each score twice in win
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 6, 2014) - The West Haven girls soccer team is back at it again with another win. West Haven, which qualified for the postseason with a win against the Trojans, defeated Lyman Hall 4-2 Monday afternoon in Wallingford to improve to 7-1-2 on the season.
"We expected it to be tougher than Saturday, but we were able to prevail with patience," West Haven coach John Camara said.
Alexis Severino and Gabi Prisco were the offense for the Westies as each scored two goals.
Severino fed Prisco for West Haven's first goal as Prisco took on the Lyman Hall defense and scored with 32:44 gone in the first half.
Gabi Prisco, seen here against Lauralton Hall, scored twice as the Westies defeated Lyman Hall, October 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Severino and Prisco were back at it again when Prisco got a through ball from Severino and gave the Westies a 2-0 advantage.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, West Haven got a free kick. Jolie Morrell quickly took the free kick, getting it to Severino for a scoring opportunity. Severino capitalized fora 3-0 West Haven lead.
The final West Haven goal came in the second half. A cross ball by Ruchelle Cabral to the back post found Severino for a four-goal lead.
Alexis Severino, seen here against Lauralton Hall, scored twice as the Westies defeated Lyman Hall, October 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lyman Hall answered with a pair of goals midway through the second half.
The Westies had many opportunities in the game coming from Cabral, Marisa Pacapelli and Diana Yanez, but Lyman Hall denied the Westies.
The Trojans also had their opportunities when they got a cross, putting players in the West Haven box, but West Haven freshman goalkeeper Betsy Magana denied the Lyman Hall opportunity.
Magana made nine saves in the win for the Westies.
Westies score 6 in first half to defeat Lyman Hall
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 4, 2014) - For three games, the West Haven girls soccer team has been searching for that winning feeling. Two ties by the Westies had to feel like losses with the Westies holding late leads in both.
West Haven made sure there would be no such ending Saturday evening. Scoring six times in the first half, two by Alexis Severino, the Westies easily defeated Lyman Hall 6-0 at Ken Strong Stadium.
Alexis Severino scores one of her two goals off a header against Lyman Hall, October 4, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
With the win, West Haven improved to 6-1-2 and inched closer to playing in the postseason.
"It was a good game to have with a long week coming up," West Haven coach John Camara said.
The Westies put the game away early, scoring four times in less than eight minutes.
The normally defensive-minded Sam Furtak started the scoring spree just 9 minutes, 59 seconds into the contest for a 1-0 lead.
Sam Furtak scored against Lyman Hall, October 4, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Just 4:42 later, Severino continued to find the back of the goal. Severino's header 14:41 into the game increased the lead to 2-0, before she added her eighth goal of the year 1:23 later for a 3-0 margin.
The Westies kept the pressure on and capitalized with 17:41 gone by as Gabi Prisco followed her own shot with a rebound goal for a 4-0 lead.
Gabi Prisco added a goal against Lyman Hall, October 4, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
The Westies wrapped up the scoring with two goals in the final 14:16 of the opening half. Rachel Cabral gave West Haven a 5-0 lead, before Andrea Lopez set up Diana Yanez for a 6-0 lead with 6:38 left in the half.
Janiene Tuinman (one save) and Betsy Magana (3 saves) combined for the shutout.
All tied Up
Late goal by Lions knots Westies
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(October 2, 2014) - After defeating Hamden three games ago to remain perfect after five games, the West Haven girls soccer team was in a great position.
Things have changed since the Green Dragons came to town. Playing to a 1-1 tie at Foran Thursday evening, the Westries dropped to 0-1-2 in the last three games, falling to 5-1-2 on the season.
"We need to understand that we have to play 100 percent all the time," West Haven coach John Camara said. "Teams are not just going to lay down for us."
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the second half when a perfect ball by Gabi Prisco to Alexis Severino forced Foran goalkeeper Carly Pala out of position, allowing Severino to score.
Alexis Severino, seen here earlier in the season against Cross, continued her stellar play with another goal in a 1-1 tie against Foran. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Lions answered to force the tie later in the half. After a free kick by the Lions was stopped, the rebound went to Kali Borden, who beat West Haven goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman for the equalizer.
Sam Furtak battles for possession against Foran, October 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
The Westies had their opportunities with 18 shots, but could not put the ball in the net. In the first half, West Haven had good movement, but didn't capitalize on a crossed ball by Severino.
West Haven's Andrea Lopez (29) and Gabi Prisco (r.) celebrate Alexis Severino's (5) goal against Foran, October 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Most of West Haven's opportunities came by Prisco in the first half and were just wide of the net. Prisco's free kick from 25 yards out sailed outside of the post.
Foran had an opportunity when Meghan Sengstacken crossed the ball, but it was just in the reach of Tuinman.
Marisa Pacapelli had a breakaway in the second half, which was denied by the Foran defense.
Marisa Pacapelli controls the ball against Foran, October 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Tuinman made seven saves in the tie for West Haven.
Lauralton Hall scores in final four minutes to send Westies to first defeat
By MIKE MADERA
MILFORD (September 29, 2014) - Dominating for a majority of the contest, the Lauralton Hall soccer team came within minutes of squandering a brilliant effort. Gigi Mecca made sure that was not the case.
Finding open space on a fatigued West Haven team, Mecca fired a rocket just over the outstretched arm of West Haven goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman to the top right corner with 3 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the game as Lauralton defeated West Haven 1-0 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division contest at Lauralton Hall Monday afternoon.
"We worked really hard all game," Mecca said after her team improved to 5-2. "We had a few chances, but did not find a way to finish. This is a big win for us. We all really wanted this game. We want to make our mark in the SCC."
Until Mecca's goal, it looked as if the Crusaders would squander an opportunity to send West Haven to its first defeat. Holding West Haven to just two shots on goal, both in the first half, Lauralton Hall controlled the contest.
"We had a game plan to shut them down," Lauralton coach Pete Trenchard said. "We wanted to keep Marisa (Pacapelli) and Gabi (Prisco) away from kicking. We wanted to make sure we marked Jolie (Morrell) on any corner they had. We did a good job with that.West Haven is a good team. I just said at halftime not to let this game be one we regret later. We wanted to get that one goal."
Tuinman was the story of the game as she finished with 13 saves, several in outstanding fashion.The senior goalkeeper made four point blank stops in the first half, keeping the Westies in the game.
Janiene Tuinman makes one of her 13 saves against Lauralton Hall, September 29, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Overall, I thought they all played well," West Haven coach John Camara said after his team fell to 5-1-1. "We came into the game with quite a few injuries and we had to move players in different spots they may not have been comfortable with. We held them off. We wanted to play more of a possession type game.
"I am disappointed the streak is over, but not highly disappointed like the season is over. We have a lot of soccer still to play."
Lizi Bowen against Lauralton Hall, September 29, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Crusaders had plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half, none better than the sequence with 21:19 remaining in the first half. Caroline Monahan broke in and was denied by Tuinman from 10 yards out, before Tuinman denied the rebound from Catherine Dobensky.
Monahan was at it again 1:49 later when she got through the West Haven defense, but was denied by Tuinman's diving save., Tuinman had her trifecta in the first 40 minutes as she again denied Monahan within 15 yards with 7:41 left in the opening half.
West Haven had limited opportunities in the first half as Alexis Severino was denied from an angle 10 yards out with 12:25 remaining. Sophomore Gabi Prisco sent a corner to Alexia Perez in the final four minutes of the half, but a shot by Perez sailed wide.
The Crusaders continued to pressure in the second half with six more shots. Tuinman charged out to make a brilliant leg save on a shot by Monahan 7:05 into the second half and a direct kick by Sarah Haselkamp sailed wide from 30 yards out with 26 minutes to go.
Gabi Prisco can not convert against Lauralton Hall, September 29, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven's best scoring opportunity of the second half came with 12:37 left as a free kick by Sam Furtak found Marisa Pacapelli, but Pacapelli shot wide. Pacapelli was also hurt on the play and did not return for precautionary reasons.
Jolie Morrell against Lauralton Hall, September 29, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Colleen McCarthy made two saves in the shutout win for the Crusaders.
Fit to be Tied
Westies blow early lead in 3-3 tie with SHA
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 27, 2014) - Looking to get off to its best start in recent memory, the West Haven girls soccer team had Sacred Heart Academy right where it wanted. Ahead by a pair of goals, the Westies could not hang on.
Behind a pair of second half goals by the Pacers, Sacred Heart rallied to tie the Westies, 3-3, at Ken Strong Stadium Saturday evening. With the tie, West Haven moved to 5-0-1.
Alexis Severino celebrates her first half goal against Sacred Heart Academy, September 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
All three of the West Haven goals were scored in the first half by the three captains, Marisa Pacapelli, Alexis Severino and Jolie Morrell.
Severino had a shot laid back by Pacapelli and one-timed it into the net. Pacapelli's unassisted goal was shot from in the box into the right corner after she dribbled through five Sacred Heart players. Morrell continued her solid play as she scored off a corner kick from Gabi Prisco.
Marisa Pacapelli scores against Sacred Heart Academy, September 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven had most of its chances in the first half. A chipped ball from Severino sent Prisco on a breakaway, but Pacers' sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Fiala put pressure on Prisco and Prisco's chipped shot over Fiala hit the post.
West Haven had another great opportunity when Morrell's header off a corner kick from Prisco hit off the crossbar.
The Pacers scored once in the first half and twice in the second half . The Pacers also had their opportunities in the second half, but two free kicks went over the net.
Marisa Pacapelli and Jolie Morrell (15) celebrate Morrell's goal against Sacred Heart Academy, September 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Janiene Tuinman made 11 saves for West Haven, while Fiala made seven for the Pacers.
On a Roll
Westies making all the right moves
By MIKE MADERA
(September 23, 2014) - West Haven girls soccer coach John Camara hoped to be 4-0 one quarter of the way through the season. When the contest against Lyman Hall was cancelled due to a power outage, the goal of four wins in four games became a bit more difficult.
With a contest in Middletown against a tough Mercy team now on the agenda, Camara and his team knew the goal of a perfect four games was not going to come easy.
Camara was right. The game may not have been easy, but, unlike in past years, the Westies found a way to win, which has become a trademark of the 2014 team early in the season.
“That win was a bonus game,” Camara said. “Before the season, I calculated making the tournament at .500. With the way we have started and the Mercy win, it looks different. Hopefully we don’t give back the Mercy win with a foolish loss against a team we should beat.
Lose your starting goalkeeper in Janiene Tuinman to injury. No worries. Just put in a freshman, Betsy Magana, who stops nine of 11 shots in two victories.
Lose a prolific scorer in Lauren Lewis to a knee injury before the season begins and West Haven has had answers. Those answers have formed a balanced scoring attack as the Westies have scored 10 times already.
Have one of your best attackers and scorers in Gabi Prisco limited with an injury. Still not a worry as the Westies have had six different goal scorers thus far in the season.
“We lost six starting seniors to graduation,” Camara said. “One of our higher goal scorers is lost with an ACL injury. The girls are just willing to step up. They have each taken a small bit, which has helped immensely.
“We are happy. We have a good group in net. Betsy (Magana) did a great job filling in while Janiene Tuinman was hurt.”
Alexis Severino, who showed off her vast array of skills towards the end of last season and has brought those skills back her senior season, leads the way with four goals, while also adding an assist.
Alexis Severino (5) celebrates her goal against Hamden with Alexia Perez (33) and Ruchelle Cabral (l.) Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Severino has been clutch all season long, as she got the season going with a big goal in a win against East Haven, added another goal against Foran, then got the Westies on the scoreboard in a shutout win over Cross/Hillhouse/Career with a goal and an assist.
“Alex was always the first person off the bench,” Camara said. “She was younger. She waited her time and not only is she a starter, she is a leader and a captain. She has earned it. She works hard.”
The West Haven offense has used a well-executed strategy so far, trying to get offensive threats Marisa Pacapelli, Alexia Perez, Prisco, Severino and Lizi Bowen as many touches as possible. Throw in the queen of scoring off corner kicks, Jolie Morrell, this West Haven team has the makings of something special.
Gabi Prisco continues to be a play-maker for the Westies early in 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It is good for us because other teams can’t isolate on just one player,” Camara said. “We have gotten goals on all different angles. We have a different person doing it for us on different days.”
Severino leads the offense thus far with 9 points (4 goals, 1 assist), while Prisco (2 goals, 4 assists) has eight points and Alexia Perez (3 goals) has six points.
“The girls are dedicated,” Camara said. “They come in every day and follow my lead every day. They listen. We may be playing a team with one style on a Tuesday and a team with another on a Thursday. We have one day to change strategies.”
With the primary focus on the West Haven offense, the Westies’ defense has flown under the radar a bit. Anchored by Sam Furtak and Morrell, West Haven has allowed just three goals thus far and has posted a pair of shutouts.
“Sam Furtak and Jolie Morrell have anchored the defense,” Camara said. “They have been very helpful on the defensive end. Julia Patterson is one of three seniors back there. They have waited their turn. They have fit right in.”
Adding to the success is the fact the girls are a close-knit group. Many believe a cohesive group becomes a productive group.
“I have been very fortunate over the years to have different groups come together for the benefit of the team,” Camara said. “They are a close group. I am lucky there have been no indications of any animosity amongst the girls. 4-0 always helps.”
Westies improve to 5-0 with 2-0 win over Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
(September 23, 2014) - West Haven senior captain Alexis Severino has watched her team grow since the summer. Severino has liked what she has seen.
Behind Severino's fourth goal of the season, great overall play by Gabi Prisco and a solid defensive effort led by Sam Furtak and Jolie Morrell, West Haven improved to 5-0 with a 2-0 victory over Hamden at Ken Strong Stadium Tuesday evening.
"We have come very far since the beginning of the year," Severino said after scoring in her fourth game this season. "We are really playing like a team. We have a lot of chemistry now."
After a sluggish start against a Hamden team which has struggled to score on the road, West Haven started to pressure 15 minutes into the contest.
Marisa Pacapelli battles for possession against Hamden, September 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
header by Marisa Pacapelli from 15 yards out sailed over the goal 15 minutes in, before Prisco made two great moves to get by the defense, but was denied a shot in front.
"This was a tough game," West Haven coach John Camara said. "We had some nervousness to start the game."
The Westies finally got on the scoreboard with 12 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the half as Prisco's corner kick was headed forward by Morrell. Severino grabbed the loose ball in front and ripped a shot to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Alexis Severino scores against Hamden, September 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
"It is always important to get the first goal," Severino said. "You do not want to fall behind."
With the way Hamden has scored on the road this season, the goal by Severino may have looked like ten to the Green Dragons. Outscored 14-0 away from home this season, the Green Dragons have struggled to find any consistency on the road.
"We are not playing badly," Hamden coach Gary Collins said after his team fell to 1-5. "We have momentum, make that one bad mistake, the other team capitalizes and the momentum goes away.
"We just need to have somebody get the ball in the right spot. We are working hard. We just need to keep the game simple."
Hamden had a golden opportunity to knot the game six minutes into the second half, but West Haven goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman denied a shot in front.
"We are getting our chances," Collins said. "We just need that one goal."
Prisco then gave the Westies the insurance goal they would need when she scored with 21:58 remaining. Positioned in front, Prisco turned around and fired a shot from 30 yards out past Hamden goalkeeper Gabriella Panayotakis to the top left corner.
"Gabi took the pressure off the team," Camara said. "She was able to handle the ball. She did a nice job."
Gabi Prisco against Hamden, September 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
West Haven's defense kept Hamden off the scoreboard the rest of the contest. Led by Morrell and Furtak, West Haven limited Hamden to one quality scoring chance the rest of the way as Sarah Vita hit the crossbar from 20 yards out with 14:10 left.
Sam Furtak against Hamden, September 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Tuinman made seven saves in the shutout for the Westies, while Panayotakis made four saves for Hamden.
Westies improve to 4-0 with win over Mercy
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
Mike Madera contributed to this article
(September 19, 2014) - Starting the season with three straight wins, the West Haven girls soccer team knew a big test awaited Friday afternoon as the team traveled to play Mercy. The Westies moved to 4-0 with a 1-0 defeat of Mercy.
"We had a little momentum going into the game 3-0," West Haven coach John Camara said. "We talked about what we had to do. We had a strategy set up and we followed it.
"The first few minutes we had difficulty adjusting. We could not get the ball out. We were able to get to their end and we gained some confidence,"
Senior Jolie Morrell scored the lone goal of the contest on a back-post header, off a corner kick from Gabi Prisco with 3:43 left in the first half.
Jolie Morrell, seen here earlier in the season, scored the lone West Haven goal in a 1-0 upset victory over Mercy, September 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We had a corner kick and Jolie was able to bury it," Camara said of Morrell's goal. "We stuck to the game plan. We were going to clog the middle, give them space in their end and nothing in ours."
Morrell's goal would be all West Haven would need to gain its fourth straight victory, but Mercy did not make things easy.
Mercy came out strong, but the West Haven defense and senior goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman held their ground, not letting the Tigers through despite Mercy having good chances.
Mercy had its opportunities, but a powerful shot by Danielle Richardson was sent over the top of the net, and after a save by Tuinman, an open Richardson saw her header sail over the net.
Mercy played an aggressive game, getting many great shots, but Tuinman cane up with some big saves for her team.
The Tigers also relied on their goalkeeper as Alyssa Morrisey denied Prisco on a breakaway after a great feed from Marisa Pacapelli. Morrisey also denied Alexia Perez several times.
With a 1-0 lead, West Haven played a very defensive game and held up well.
Sam Furtak, seen here earlier in the season against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, set the tone of the defense against Mercy with a strong game, as the Westies defeated Mercy 1-0, September 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"The defense played well with the help of the midfield," Camara said. "We did not give up much. We cleared the ball when we had to and we played it out when we had to."
Tuinman made eight saves in the win for West Haven, which is now 1-0 in division play, while Morrisey finished with seven saves in the loss for Mercy.
Severino leads WH
Senior's third goal of year key to 2-0 win over Cross/Hillhouse/Career
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
(September 15, 2014) - The West Haven girls soccer team continues to dominate on the road as it posted its second road victory of the year, defeating Cross/Hillhouse/Career 2-0 Tuesday afternoon in New Haven.
The win helped West Haven improve to 3-0. In two road games this season, West Haven has outscored its opponents 5-1.
Ruchelle Cabral (21) applies pressure against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, September 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven scored the only goal it would need in the contest at the 25 minute mark of the first half. Alexis Severino, who has scored a goal in each of West Haven's first three games, continued her torrid start as she took advantage of a Cross miscue for and unassisted goal from an open spot at the back post.
Alexis Severino (5) and Lizi Bowen (r.) celebrate a West Haven goal against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, September 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies had their chances in the first half, but failed to capitalize. Ruchelle Cabral vollied a cross by Marisa Pacapelli, but just missed wide of the net in the first half. Gabi Prisco sent Pacapelli on a breakaway but Cross goalkeeper Kayla Daniels shut the opportunity down.
Cross also had its opportunities, including a bobbled ball by freshman goalkeeper Betsy Magana, but Magana prevented a goal. Magana, who also stopped a great corner kick by Cross/Hillhouse/Career, finished with six saves in the game.
West Haven freshman goalkeeper Betsy Magana made 6 saves in a shutout win over Cross/Hillhouse/Career, September 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven wasted little time extending the lead in the second half as Lizi Bowen scores at the top of the box on a ball from Severino for a 2-0 lead.
The Westies also had other scoring opportunities in the second half as Jolie Morrell just headed the ball wide off a nice corner by Prisco, then headed another off the crossbar.
Marisa Pacapelli (10) is stopped in front of the goal against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, September 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven had 18 shots in the game.
Westies open season 2-0 after win over Foran
By RUCHELLE CABRAL
(September 13, 2014) - With it being the seniors last first home game, the group wanted to come out playing strong. That is exactly what the seniors did.
Scoring on two of the opportunities they had in the first half, the group helped West Haven defeat Foran 4-2 at Ken Strong Stadium Saturday evening. With the win, West Haven improved to 2-0 early in the season.
Gabi Prisco scores against Foran, September 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Ruchelle Cabral.
"I forewarned them that 2-0 is a dangerous score," West Haven coach John Camara said. "The girls showed a lot of character to come back with two goals to win the game."
Senior Marisa Pacapelli led the way in the first half with a pair of assists as she set up senior Alexis Severino with 10 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first half for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Severino's second of the season.
Pacapelli was at it again nearly six minutes later as she fed senior Lizi Bowen on top of the box with 4:33 to go in the first half for a 2-0 lead.
Marisa Pacapelli battles against Foran, September 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
The Westies went to halftime with a 2-0 lead and also had other scoring opportunities. One of the better chances came from Alexia Perez, who had a great shot, but hit the crossbar.
"Offensively, we are playing well," Camara said. "Defense is working hard. We are working on some glitches. We are coming along."
Foran tied the game with two goals in two minutes in the second half as the Lions evened the game with 26 minutes remaining against freshman goalkeeper Betsy Magana.
The Westies came back and got the win for the freshman keeper as sophomore Gabi Prisco scored off a through ball by junior Andrea Lopez with 11:01 left in the game.
The goal by Prisco would prove to be the winner as Perez added insurance when she scored on a breakaway off a perfect feed from Prisco over top of the Foran defense with 1.4 seconds left in the game.
Sam Furtak battles for possession against Foran, September 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Magana made three saves in the win for West Haven, while Foran goalkeeper Carly Pala had five saves.
"She (Magana) played well," Camara said. "With the help of the defense, she did well."
Mike Madera contributed to this article.
Westies defeat East Haven in Opener
Season begins with 3-1 win
By MIKE MADERA
(September 9, 2014) - West Haven head coach John Camara continually talks about getting off to a quick start. Looking to set the tone early in 2014, Camara wanted his team to dicatte play in the season opener at East Haven.
Behind two goals from senior forward Alexia Perez and two assists from sophomore Gabi Prisco, West Haven defeated East Haven 3-1 Tuesday evening in the season opener for both teams at East Haven High.
"I did not know what to expect," West Haven coach John Camara said. "We knew they had a good forward. I thought we played well."
With the teams looking to establish a pace in the first half, Prisco started her second campaign where she left off last season as she fed Alexis Severino. The West Haven senior did the rest as she beat East Haven junior goalkeeper Caitlin Esposito 17 minutes, 46 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
West Haven senior captain Alexis Severino (blue) and the Westies started the season with a win over East Haven, September 9, 2014. File photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
The Westies would hold the slim lead until the second half. Marisa Pacapelli set up Perez 24:11 into the second half and Perez beat Esposito for her first of the game, giving West Haven a 2-0 lead.
The Westies looked as if they would cruie to the win in the final 10 minutes, but East Haven's Alyson Fotheringhame beat West Haven senior goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman with 8:27 remaining to get the Easties within a goal.
That would be as close as East Haven would get as West Haven capitalized when East Haven pushed up the offense in the final minutes. Prisco picked up her second assist when she set up the second goal for Perez with 3:28 remaining for the 3-1 lead.
West Haven outshot East Haven 18-13 in the contest. Tuinman picked up her first win of the year with four saves. Esposito finished with nine saves in the loss for East Haven.
Westies looking to build off solid end to last season
By MIKE MADERA
(September 4, 2014) – The West Haven girls soccer team was playing its best soccer towards the end of the 2013 season, having given Guilford all it could handle in the Southern Connecticut Conference quarterfinals, before falling to South Windsor in double overtime in the opening round of the state tournament.
While the anticipation has grown to get the 2014 campaign started, much has changed since that last bus ride home which ended West Haven's season with an 8-9-1 record.
Gone to graduation are solid players in Allyson Hemstock, Tory Lavery, Melanie Reiss, Alexis Campbell and Maggie Borer.
With the losses to graduation, West Haven will need to replace some offense from Lavery and Reiss, the defensive play of Campbell and the goalkeeping of Borer.
Coach John Camara also received another jolt when it was revealed last season's freshman sensation, Lauren Lewis, would miss significant time with a knee injury. The loss of Lewis could be the biggest void as the talented sophomore had 10 goals and two assists in her first varsity season.
"We lost some scoring and we lost some strong kids," Camara said. "We are a small team this year. We are very small. We don't have those strong girls like an Alexis Campbell or an Ava Gambardella this year."
Senior Marisa Pacapelli leads the West Haven offense into the 2014 season. File photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Although the loss of Lewis hurts, there are plenty of reasons for the Westies to be excited. Two of those reasons are senior forward Marisa Pacapelli and sophomore forward Gabi Prisco.
The pair tied tied for second on the team with seven goals apiece last year, with Prisco also adding seven assists and Pacapelli adding six.
Sophomore Gabi Prisco (20) will be counted on to lead the West Haven offense in 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I like our attack so far," Camara said. "Gabi (Prisco) has been unbelievable and Marisa (Pacapelli) has been playing well. They feed off each other.
"For a sophomore, Gabi is playing tremendous. I would not be surprised if you see her name for doing something in every game we play. She plays fast. She is strong. She has developed her shot. She is playing very well."
Seniors Jolie Morrell (defense) and Alexia Perez (midfield) each scored five goals last season and will be counted on to provide some punch this year as well. Morrell was a scoring threat positioned out front on West Haven's corner kicks and will need to do the same this season.
The Westies also have threats at the midfield position with seniors Adriana Yanez and Alexis Severino. Each scored once last season and both showed the ability to create plays in open space as well.
Senior Alexis Severino (5) is expected to be a play maker for the 2014 Westies. File photo courtesy of Craig Lemay.
Defensively, the Westies will be led in the back by senior Samantha Furtak. An aggressive player, Furtak has showed a tremendous awareness of the game and will need to lead the way as the Westies look to support their goalkeepers.
Sam Furtak (13) will play a big role on defense for the 2014 Westies. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Defense will be the key," Camara said. "Can we hold off some of these teams? Defensively, we have to hold off other teams and offensively, we have to get it done."
Janiene Tuinman saw action in goal last year, finishing with 34 saves and a save percentage of 83%. With Borer graduated, Tuinman likely will be counted on heavily to keep the Westies in the game.
"We have twelve seniors," Camara said. "Some seniors will alternate and contribute from various positions on the field. No one has a set position just yet."
Along with Furtak to anchor the back are Morrell and fellow seniors Lizi Bowen and Rachel Cabral.
Senior Ruchelle Cabral and juniors Precious Szostek and Andrea Lopez will also be key players from the midfield position.
"I will be disappointed if we do not make the state tournament," Camara said. "I think we can get the eight games. Winning the division will be a challenge now that we have three private schools in there. Mercy is always a top team and Lauralton Hall and Sacred Heart are tough as well."
Camara has been impressed with the leadership of his captains, Morrell, Pacapelli and Severino.
"So far, they have done a good job leading," Camara said. "They have done a good job getting everyone together for the season."
West Haven opens the season, Tuesday, September 9 at East Haven at 7 p.m.
MacKenzie Holy scores on a penalty kick against Amity, November 4, 2014. Double click to watch full screen.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Alexia Perez scores against Amity, November 4, 2014. Double click to watch full screen.
Gabi Prisco scores against Amity, November 4, 2014. Double click to watch full screen.