West Haven and SHA play to scoreless draw
By MIKE MADERA
(September 10, 2016) - Defense and missed opportunities were the names of the game in the season opener for both West Haven and Sacred Heart Academy Saturday evening.
With neither team able to get into a flow, the teams played to a scoreless draw in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision game at Ken Strong Stadium.
Keegan Riccio (17) makes a play against Sacred Heart Academy, September 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“Being a first year coach and not knowing the teams, we go into the games with a whole team defense and a whole team offense,” Sacred Heart coach Larry Bright said after his team moved to 0-0-1. “We played good defense and we were able to all push up to play a whole team offense.”
Bright and his team were well aware of West Haven senior sniper Gabi Prisco and had Prisco marked the entire contest. The West Haven senior had scoring opportunities, but was under pressure throughout the game.
“We knew that 20 (Prisco) was quick up top,” Bright said. “We just kept two around her. This is a great start. I loved the way we played the last 15 to 20 minutes. We played all out.”
While Bright and his squad will take the draw in the opener on the road, the feeling on the opposite side of the field was completely different. Assistant coach Liam Leapley and his squad were not happy with the way they played, particularly in the second half.
“We just fell apart in the second half,” Leapley said. “We did not possess the ball. We wanted to kick and run, and I think that exhausted the girls. We gave them a lot of opportunities.”
West Haven junior goalkeeper Betsy Magana came up big throughout the game, making nine saves in the shutout. Magana was at her best in the second half when she denied a blast off the foot of Allie Brennan from an angle five yards out with 27 minutes, 20seconds remaining in the game.
Betsy Magana made nines saves against Sacred Heart Academy, September 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Magana turned aside a shot by Adriana Bogen from 20 yards away just one minute later and made a sliding save off a shot by Annie Cunningham with 8:40 to go.
“I thought Betsy played a really good game,” Leapley said of Magana. “She was in the right position and was under control the whole time.”
Magana’s counterpart in goal, Alexa Fiala, was just as good with eight saves in her shutout. After Fiala denied Keegan Riccio with West Haven’s best opportunity in the first half, she made more tough saves in the second half.
Gabi Prisco (20) against Sacred Heart Academy, September 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Fiala stopped Prisco twice within 6 minutes from 30 yards out, then made a strong save off a hard shot by Lauren Lewis from in close with 23:50 remaining.
West Haven looked as if it would notch the go-ahead goal with 13:10 remaining as a bending shot off the foot of sophomore Kelsey Gilmore tailed just wide of the goal. Gilmore then had another solid opportunity five minutes later, but her shot off an angle from 22 yards out again tailed wide.
“Without a doubt, we are disappointed with this result,” Leapley said. “We can play a lot better than that. Maybe it was nerves. That is not the way we expect to play. But, we are still young.”Lewis, Riccio and MacKenzie Holy led West Haven with three shots apiece, while Brennan led Sacred Heart Academy with three shots as well.
Prisco leads Westies
Senior scores 4 goals in 5-2 win over Cross/Hillhouse/Career
By MIKE MADERA
(September 13, 2016) - Not happy with the result of Saturday's opening contest, seniors Gabi Prisco and Lauren Lewis decided to do something about it.
Behind four goals and an assist from Prisco, and one goal and three assists from Lewis, West Haven picked up its first win of the season with a 5-2 decision over Cross/Hillhouse/Career in New Haven Tuesday afternoon.
Gabi Prisco (20), seen here against Sacred Heart Academy, helped the Westies past Cross/Hillhouse/Career, September 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"She was cool and calm under pressure," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said of Prisco. "She scored with both feet, and put in a brilliant cross for Lauren Lewis to head home. Cross tried to always have someone on her, but she found a way to create space for herself and finish."
Prisco, who was under the weather in the season opener, showed signs of feeling better almost immediately as she gave West Haven a 3-1 first half lead with three tallies in the opening half. Prisco scored the first four goals for the Westies.
Prisco's first goal was unassisted, but her next three, including the final two of the first half, came off assists from Lewis.
After Prisco increased the lead to 4-1 early in the second half off an assist from Lewis, the two seniors returned the favor as Prisco set up a header by Lewis for a 5-1 lead.
Lauren Lewis (23), seen here against Sacred Heart Academy, helped the Westies past Cross/Hillhouse/Career, September 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Betsy Magana and Alycia Morales split time in goal, with each making one save.
Westies fall to Guilford
Indians blank West Haven 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
(September 16, 2016) - Just three games into the regular season, the West Haven girls soccer team has experienced a bit of everything. A tie and a win opened the season, before West Haven traveled to play Guilford Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately for coach Pete Trenchard, the Westies could not muster any offense and fell to Guilford 2-0. The loss dropped West Haven to 1-1-1 on the season.
West Haven goalkeeper Betsy Magana prepares to punch a shot away against Guilford, September 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Indians scored twice in the first half and never looked back in controlling the contest.
Chloe Shaw scored the lone goal the Indians needed just six minutes in, and Izzy Nerney scored again 24 minutes later to increase the margin to two goals.
Erin Smith (13) battles for possession against Guilford, September 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Faren Roth made five saves to post the shutout for Guilford as West Haven managed just eight shots.
"We played well," Trenchard said. "We were with them the whole time. We forced their keeper to make some great saves. They were able to sneak two by us. I'm upset with the result, but not the effort."
West Haven goalkeeper Betsy Magana made 12 saves in the loss.
Prisco a dominant force for Westies
Senior leading way in her final season at WH
By MIKE MADERA
(September 18, 2016) - As the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net echoed in what was a tense silence, Gabi Prisco had delivered one of the biggest goals of her career. Prisco, just 14 years old at the time and a student at Bailey Middle School in West Haven, was giving a glimpse of what was to come.
That crucial goal was not scored in West Haven or even Connecticut for that matter. The laser shot with pin-point accuracy was fired from half a world away in front of a packed crowd in Sweden as Prisco’s tally propelled her Team NOGA to a Sweet Sixteen victory over the host team in the chase for the Gothia Cup, before being eliminated by Iceland in the Elite Eight.
For some, that experience would be a thrill of a lifetime. For Prisco, it is quietly just a part of another day’s work.
“I think playing there (Sweden) helped me because I got to experience soccer from around the world,” Prisco said. “It helped me seeing the style and the speed of play. It is so different from one country to another.”
Fast forward a handful of years later as the superstar from West Haven High starts the final season of her sensational four-year run for the Westies. Cast onto the scene as a high-profile scorer, Prisco has not disappointed.
Gabi Prisco has been a dominant force in her four years at West Haven. Photo courtesy of Catherine Avalone and the New Haven Register.
Prisco’s first three years have been nothing short of remarkable, seeing she has been marked all over the field since joining the squad as a freshman. Her current coach, Pete Trenchard, was coaching at Lauralton Hall and had to devise a plan around stopping Prisco in her first two years.
“We were not going to let her beat us,” Trenchard stated after a Lauralton victory over West Haven in Prisco’s sophomore year. “We were going to take our shot with anyone else, but it was not going to be her. We all know who she is and how good she is.”
As a freshman, Prisco introduced herself to the high school level with seven goals and seven assists, then followed with nine goals and 12 assists a year later. In Trenchard’s first year back coaching the girls at West Haven last season, he then had the pleasure of coaching Prisco in her junior campaign, and all she did was respond with 12 more goals and four assists.
“Coaching against her is very difficult,” Trenchard said of Prisco. “She is such a dynamic player and she can do so many things well. It was very hard to prepare to play against her. I am very thankful to be coaching her, not against her.
“How she plays in the game is how hard she practices. She goes all out on the field. She was one player along with Lauren Lewis and the core group we have now, which made a difficult decision easier when I decided to come here.”
Don’t let the calm demeanor you see on the field fool you. Prisco is as competitive as anyone, refuses to give in, and is all about winning, not individual statistics.
While she has scored 28 goals in her first three years, the tallies take a back seat as Prisco has led her team all three years in assists.
“Any coach would be lucky to have a player like her,” former West Haven coach John Camara said. “She played extremely well. As a freshman, she was not afraid to be a go-to player. She was not afraid to have the ball on her foot. Usually freshmen are timid. Gabi wanted to have the ball on her foot. I knew the talent she had and I used it to help the team tremendously. I knew she was not afraid to have the ball on her foot. She helped the team as a freshman.”
Said Prisco: “If I have two people on me, I know someone will be open. I can find them. I don’t like to be selfish out there. If I don’t have the shot or a good angle, I won’t take it. I will look to pass to someone who has a better angle and a better shot.”
Need a big goal and Prisco has been there. Prisco’s first career goal at the high school level came three years ago in a win over Platt Tech. As a sophomore, Camara called on Prisco in the penalty kick portion of the opening round of the Class LL state tournament against Amity and its former Register All-Area goalkeeper Zoie Reed.
Prisco calmly rifled a shot past Reed to the top left corner to even the penalty kicks before Amity eventually won.
“I feel some people put too much pressure on themselves,” Prisco said. “I just want to relax and focus on picking a corner.”
As a junior, Prisco saw a younger team take a step back in terms of record (3-9-4). The senior clearly recognizes last season’s losses will translate into a positive as the youngsters who gained valuable playing time are now seasoned veterans.
“Last year was a rebuilding year,” Prisco said. “This year, we are really bringing it. We are putting it all out there. The younger girls are stepping up and contributing to the team.”
With an influx of new faces, Prisco has remained steady in her role, whether it be scoring, dishing off to an open teammate, or helping in any other way.
That unselfish play has also translated on the ice and the lacrosse field.
In hockey, Prisco was the first female player in West Haven history to be named to the coaches All-State team. She was also the SCC Player of the Year last season.
Prisco led the team in assists as a freshman (16) and sophomore (7), while scoring nine and 19 goals respectively in those years. Prisco led the team in points last year as she had 11 goals and seven assists as a defenseman.
After scoring 24 goals and adding 14 assists as a freshman on the lacrosse field, Prisco led the team in assists as a sophomore (10), added a team-leading 37 goals, then followed as a junior with 52 goals and 20 assists. She was named to the All-SCC team after her sophomore and junior seasons and added an All-State selection to lacrosse following last season.
“She’s a great all-around athlete,” West Haven athletic director Jon Capone said of Prisco. “She is a three-sport star. She has great character and is a great leader. She is a top kid academically too. She is the total package.”
Prisco has been named an All-SCC and All-Area selection the last two years for soccer and is a two-year captain on the team.
All that is left for Prisco is for her name to hang in the gymnasium with the likes of Carlin Guarneri, Danielle LaCroix, Rebecca Sampara, Nicole Pacapelli, Gabi Reis and Marisa Pacapelli as All-State selections.
“I thought she deserved it (All-State) last year,” Trenchard said of Prisco. “She was definitely not only one of the top players in our division, but in the SCC as well. That says a lot about her as an athlete to be good enough to potentially be an All-State player in three sports.”
Prisco has not yet made a college decision, but would like to play both lacrosse and soccer. She is currently looking at Endicott (Massachusetts), St. Lawrence (Kingston, Ontario), Lynchburg (Virginia). Roanoke (Salem, Virginia), University of New Haven and Queens College in New York.
“It is very stressful, but at the same time, it is very exciting to decide where I will be going the next four years,” Prisco said.
One thing is for certain and that is Prisco will make an impact wherever she goes.
Mercy shuts out Westies
By MIKE MADERA
(September 19, 2016) - Since scoring five goals in a win over Cross/Hillhouse/Career, the West Haven offense has struggled to get going.
Monday evening was no exception as the Westies suffered their second straight shutout defeat, losing to Mercy 1-0 at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven. With the loss, West Haven fell to 1-2-1 on the season.
"We played well," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said. "We just couldn't score. We outplayed them for large stretches of the game and created the better chances. They were a tough, physical team, but we were with them the whole way. The ball just didn't bounce right for us tonight."
Alycia Morales made eight saves in a 1-0 loss against Mercy, September 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mercy scored the only goal of the contest in the 68th minute off a free kick as Katelyn Richardson beat West Haven goalkeeper Alycia Morales. The goal allowed by Morales was the only one of the evening as she finished with eight saves.
Madison Barbieri (18) hustles for a loose ball against Mercy, September 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven had its opportunities in the game with ten shots, but could not get one to find the back of the net.
Foran ties Westies
Prisco scores twice in 2-2 draw
By MIKE MADERA
(September 21, 2016) - Losing two games in a row by way of shutout, West Haven coach Pete Trenchard and his squad were eager to get back on the field Tuesday evening. Senior Gabi Prisco made sure it was not another loss.
Scoring a pair of goals, one from 27 yards out and another by way of penalty kick, Prisco helped the Westies to a 2-2 draw against Foran Wednesday evening at Ken Strong Stadium.
West Haven celebrates a penalty kick goal by Gabi Prisco (c.) against Foran, September 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We did not play well in the first half and gave up a goal on a free kick off a mental mistake," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team moved to 1-2-2. "In the second half, we outplayed them and came back to get two goals. Another mental mistake cost us the tying goal with about ten minutes left. You take those away and we controlled the game."
Foran scored the lone goal of the first half off a direct kick just 4 minutes, 30 seconds into the contest. The goal by Hayley Byers held up, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead at the break.
Taylor Nowak (33) keeps the ball in play against Foran, September 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco and the Westies took over in the second half. Just six minutes in, Prisco drilled in the equalizer off a penalty kick to knot the game at one.
Prisco was not done. Off an assist from Kelsey Gilmore, Prisco nailed a shot from 27 yards out with 11:50 remaining to give West Haven a 2-1 lead.
Looking as if they would pick up their second win of the season, the Westies could not hold on as Foran needed just two minutes to get the equakizer on a goal by Ariana Montero.
Alycia Morales made three saves in the draw for the Westies. West Haven held an 11-5 short advantage in the contest.
Prisco, Lewis lead Westies to 3-2 win over Branford
By MIKE MADERA
(September 23, 2016) - Just six games into the regular season, the West Haven girls soccer team has seen just about everything. In those six games, it has become quite apparent this team has plenty of fight.
Leading the way are seniors Gabi Prisco and Lauren Lewis. Both came up with big plays again as the Westies topped Branford 3-2 Friday afternoon in Branford.
Lauren Lewis (23) scores against Branford, September 23, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We'll take the win," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team improved to 2-2-2. "It was our third tough game in five days. We were battling heat and a couple of injuries. It was just the type of game that you had to grind out, and we were able to. It wasn't our prettiest game, but I am proud of how hard the girls worked."
Prisco scored her team-leading seventh and eighth goals of the season, including the game-winner late in the second half, and Lewis scored a big goal in the first half to give the Westies their first lead of the game.
Prisco's second goal of the game and eighth of the season came at the 50 minute mark off an assist from MacKenzie Holy, giving West Haven a 3-2 lead.
The goal by Prisco helped secure West Haven's second win of the year and also led a comeback by the Westies.
Branford's Morgan Ashby put the Hornets on top with a goal just six minutes, 45 seconds into the contest. Less than four minutes later, off an assist from Jessica Robinson, Prisco responded with the equalizer.
Lauren Lewis (23), Caitlin Walker (21) and Kaylee Pliszka (4) form a wall against Branford, September 23, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the game even at one, Prisco fed Lewis, who put West Haven on top 6:09 later. Branford's Rose Lockery tied the game less than two minutes into the second half.
West Haven had a 10-7 advantage in shots and goalkeeper Betsy Magana made three saves in the win.
Two in a Row
Prisco,Lewis lead Westies to 5-1 win over North Haven
By MIKE MADERA
(September 26, 2016) - If there were ever any questions of how good the duo of Lauren Lewis and Gabi Prisco are, the answers are coming in quickly.
Led by the leadership of the senior captains, West Haven picked up its third victory of the season with a 5-1 victory over North Haven Monday evening at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
"This was probably our best game of the season," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team moved to 3-2-2. "We moved the ball well, created shooting opportunities, and finished our chances. North Haven was a tough team to break down, but we were at our best tonight."
Gabi Prisco (20) scores against North Haven, September 26, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco and Lewis were also at their best as the pair combined to score three times and added four assists in the win.
Prisco scored twice and added three assists to raise her season total to 25 points with 10 goals and five assists on the season. Lewis finished with a goal and an assist to improve her point total to 10 points with three goals and four assists on the year.
The seniors took control in the opening half, leading the Westies to a 4-0 advantage. Prisco gave West Haven a 1-0 lead when she settled a ball from Lewis and drilled a shot home from 15 yards out with 15:03 remaining,
Prisco increased the lead to a pair of goals 6:45 later when she took a lead pass from MacKenzie Holy and struck a perfect ball from 12 yards out with 8:16 remaining in the opening half.
Prisco was at it again with 5:08 remaining in the half when she tapped a perfect pass to Keegan Riccio, and Riccio fired a shot in for a 3-0 lead.
Prisco and Lewis were not done. Taking a pass in front from Prisco, Lewis delivered a tipped shot with 2:16 to go in the half for a four-goal lead.
Keegan Riccio (17) celebrates her goal against North Haven with Kaylee Pliszka (4), September 26, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prisco capped her brilliant night by assisting on freshman Taylor Nowak's first career varsity goal in the second half.
The Westies controlled play in the first half, but did not score until the final 15 minutes.
Holy was stopped from 27 yards out 13:30 in, Kelsey Gilmore was denied from 26 yards away off an angle minutes later, and Riccio's corner kick was tapped wide by Prisco from in close with 20:10 to go in the opening half.
A blast from Lewis from 21 yards out was denied and the rebound went just over the head of Prisco with 18:25 remaining in the opening half.
Alycia Morales made four saves in the win for the Westies.
Gabi Prisco (20) gives West Haven a 1-0 lead over North Haven, September 26, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Gabi Prisco (20) gives West Haven a 2-0 lead over North Haven, September 26, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Keegan Riccio (17) gives West Haven a 3-0 lead over North Haven, September 26, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Lauren Lewis (23) gives West Haven a 4-0 lead over North Haven, September 26, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Westies win third Straight
WH tops Lyman Hall 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
(October 1, 2016) - Pete Trenchard and his West Haven girls soccer team are trending in the right direction. Saturday evening was another step forward.
Behind goals from Gabi Prisco and MacKenzie Holy, and twp saves from Betsy Magana, West Haven blanked Lyman Hall 2-0 at Ken Strong Stadium.
MacKenzie Holy (15) scored in West Haven's 2-0 win against Lyman Hall, October 1, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We played well against a tough, physical team," Trenchard said after his team improved to 4-2-2 with the win. "They were very organized and made it hard on us, but we played well, put shots on target, and pulled out the win. Being 4-2-2 halfway through the season puts us right on track to qualify for postseason play."
Prisco's eleventh goal of the year would be all the Westies needed as she scored at the 37:30 mark of the first half off an assist from Lauren Lewis.
Gabi Prisco (20) scored in West Haven's 2-0 win against Lyman Hall, October 1, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With a stellar defensive effort, the Westies went to the break up a goal and never looked back.
Prisco assisted on Holy's goal one minute into the second half for a 2-0 advantage.
West Haven held a 10-2 shot advantage in the game.
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Kaylee Pliszka (4) against Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
GIRLS SOCCER 2016
Keegan Riccio (17) against Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven seniors against Branford, October 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies score twice in second half to force 2-2 tie
By MIKE MADERA
(October 3, 2016) - There are ties that feel like wins and ties that feel like losses. Both the West Haven and Sacred Heart Academy girls soccer teams experienced these feelings Monday afternoon.
Trailing by two goals with 20 minutes remaining in the game, West Haven scored twice in the final 18 minutes, 50 seconds to force a 2-2 tie in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivsion contest at Sacred Heart Academy.
"We never felt like the game was over," West Haven senior captain Gabi Prisco said after the Westies moved to 4-2-3. "We never gave up and we were finally able to score and tie it up.
"We knew we had to come out strong in the second half. We had to fight to the end and we got two big goals."
Trailing 2-0 after the Pacers used goals by Olivia Franco and Caitlyn Buckley, the Westies were a different team in the second half.
With constant pressure from the start of the half, the Westies were unable to get on the board early and watched as an odd man rush by the Pacers resulted in Buckley's goal off a perfect pass from Megan McMillen 8:32 into the second half.
Buckley's goal forced West Haven coach Pete Trenchard to move senior captain Lauren Lewis up and that move, which paired her with Prisco, forced the play for the Westies.
"We had to make adjustments," Trenchard said. "We pushed Lauren Lewis up a little higher. That was the difference maker. We started to get a lot of chances. I am very proud of this team. We never gave up. We climbed back from two goals down. We were able to pull it out."
After Lewis sailed a direct kick high and wide 16:05 into the half, she was denied by a great save from Sacred Heart Academy's Alexa Fiala off a throw-in from Prisco with 20:05 to go.
"If we play the entire game like we did the last 20 minutes, the result would have been much different," Trenchard said. "In the first half, we sat back and let them dictate play. At the half, we said we are not making excuses. We went out and had a better effort in the second half."
West Haven's pressure finally paid off with 18:50 to go as Kelsey Gilmore set up Keegan Riccio in front and Riccio drilled a shot past Fiala to cut the deficit to 2-1.
West Haven celebrates a goal by Keegan Riccio (17), October 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After the Pacers' Annie Cunningham shot wide from in close with 13:45 to go, West Haven again mounted the pressure.
Fiala made a diving save off a Lewis shot from 10 yards out with 12:40 to go, then stopped another Lewis shot off a direct kick 2:25 later.
Sophomore Erin Smith finally got the equalizer the Westies were looking for with 3:26 to go. A corner by Lewis found its way in the box where it tipped off MacKenzie Holy over to Smith. Smith quickly shot past Fiala to even the game for the Westies.
West Haven celebrates a goal by Erin Smith (13), October 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It feels great," Smith said. "I was just at the right place at the right time. I am overjoyed. I think we wanted it more in the second half. We are a team that is not going to back down."
Sacred Heart Academy got on the scoreboard first in the game when Franco just got a shot by West Haven goalkeeper Alycia Morales 10:51 into the contest.
The Pacers controlled play in the opening half, holding a 7-5 shot advantage, including more quality shots. Morales was up to the task in the first half with six saves.
"That is how this conference is," Sacred Heart coach Larry Bright said after his team moved to 1-5-2. "You have to fight until the end. We have more or less been in every game. You have to have a four or five goal lead to feel comfortable in this conference."
West Haven's best scoring opportunity in the first 40 minutes came when Lewis hit the post and Prisco shot the rebound wide with 18:15 remaining.
Fiala finished with 10 saves in the loss for the Pacers, while Morales made eight saves in the win for West Haven.
Keegan Riccio (17) scores against Sacred Heart Academy, October 3, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Erin Smith (13) scores against Sacred Heart Academy, October 3, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
On to the Postseason
WH qualifies with 5-1 win over Cross
By MIKE MADERA
(October 8, 2016) - With preseason goals of qualifying for both the league and state tournaments, West Haven coach Pete Trenchard can exhale a bit.
Needing one more win to play in the postseason, West Haven got that victory Saturday evening with a 5-1 victory over Cross/Hillhouse/Career at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
"We played a good game again in less than ideal conditions," Trenchard said. "The girls knew what this game meant, and went out and got the job done. It's nice to secure a spot in the state tournament with six games to go. Now we need to keep performing and finish the season strong."
As has been the case all season, West Haven's offense ran through senior captains Gabi Prisco and Lauren Lewis. Prisco finished the game with three goals and an assist, while Lewis had two goals and an assist in the win.
Lauren Lewis (23) scored twice against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, October 8, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
For Prisco, the three tallies increased her team lead to 14 on the season. Lewis upped her season total to five goals on the season and each have seven assists on the year.
The Westies made sure Saturday evening was the clincher as they took a 3-0 first half lead.
Prisco got things going when she scored off an assist from Kelsey Gilmore 14 minutes, 10 seconds into the game. McKenzie Holy set up Lewis 15:21 later for a 2-0 lead, before Lewis assisted on Prisco's second of the day at the 30:50 mark.
Gabi Prisco (20) scored three times against Cross/Hillhouse/Career, October 8, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Leading 3-1 in the second half, Prisco scored off another assist from Gilmore 12:15 into the half, before Lewis rounded out the scoring 13:27 later off an assist from Prisco.
Betsy Magana made two saves in the win.
West Haven tops Guilford 3-2
By MIKE MADERA
(October 10, 2016) - There are wins and there are big wins. The West Haven girls soccer team picked up one of its biggest wins of the season Monday evening.
Behind two goals from junior MacKenzie Holy and three assists from senior Lauren Lewis, the Westies topped Guilford 3-2 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division contest at Ken Strong Stadium.
MacKenzie Holy (15) scores one of her two goals against Guilford, October 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This is really big for us," Hoy said after West Haven improved to 6-2-3. "We want to get home games in the states. They beat us last time we played them. To beat them tonight is big for us."
With teams clearly marking senior star Gabi Prisco, West Haven coach Pete Trenchard moved Lewis up to create defensive problems for opponents. That move has worked as now either Lewis or Prisco have open space or others have room to shoot.
That is exactly what happened Monday evening as the Guilford defense dropped to mark Prisco, leaving Lewis to help set up all three goals.
"We have been doing that, pushing Lauren up, to help free up Gabi (Prisco)," Trenchard said. "If teams focus on Lauren, Gabi is open, and if they focus on Gabi, Lauren is open. It is a nice one-two punch to have. It opens things up for others as well."
Lauren Lewis (23) had three assists against Guilford, October 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven, which moved to 5-0-2 in its last seven games, acted quickly in the contest, taking a 1-0 lead just 3 minutes, 42 seconds in. Off the wing, Lewis found Holy in front and the junior drilled a low shot past Guilford goalkeeper Faren Roth for a 1-0 advantage.
The Indians controlled a good part of the time of possession in the game and evened the contest with 19:14 gone by. Tatum Meder fed Chloe Shaw in front and Shaw put one home from 10 yards out to even the contest at one.
"It is disappointing because it is a league game," Guilford coach Scott McMahon said. "We will learn from it. We are capable of being very good."
West Haven took the lead for good with 17:58 remaining in the first half. Perfect passing between Prisco and Lewis helped create the opportunity, before Lewis put a perfect ball in front which Holy one-timed off the post and in for a 2-1 lead.
"MacKenzie Holy has been playing great for us all year," Trenchard said. "She has been solid in midfield. She breaks down a lot of the other teams' attempts and sparks ours. She scored two huge goals for us today."
The Westies were not done in the first half. After Lewis sent in Keegan Riccio with a perfect feed which was denied by Roth with 12:!5 to go in the half, West Haven waited until the final minute to score the eventual goal which would be the difference.
Lewis dropped a ball back for Kelsey Gilmore and Gilmore lofted a ball from 25 yards out which just went off the fingertips of Roth and into the goal for a 3-1 lead.
"I thought we gave up some goals we probably should not have today," McMahon said. "We have to pack it in more and play more defense."
The Indians controlled play in the second half as West Haven's only shots in the half came off set pieces.
After West Haven goalkeeper Alycia Morales punched away a shot by Izzy Nerney 5:15 in, Guilford finally got closer 26 seconds later when Nerney's shot was deflected in front by Kayley McLaughlin to get within 3-2.
Morales did the rest for West Haven, stopping Andrea Basilicato from 15 yards out and 25 yards out 27 minutes apart, before denying McLaughlin from long range with four minutes to go.
Mercy tops Westies
WH drops 3-1 decision to Tigers
By MIKE MADERA
(October 14, 2016) - The last time the West Haven and Mercy girls soccer teams met, the Tigers squeaked out a 1-0 victory in West Haven. Much has changed for West Haven since then.
Going on a run of 5-0-2 since that loss, West Haven was eager to increase the streak when it faced the Tigers once again in Middletown. That streak for the Westies ended with a 3-1 loss to the Tigers Friday afternoon as West Haven fell to 6-3-3 on the season.
"It was a frustrating game for us," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said. "We didn't play to our potential in the first half and went down two goals. We were much better in the second half and got one back. We outshot them and were better than them in the second half, but we just couldn't get it done today."
West Haven never led in the contest and received only a goal from Gabi Prisco off an assist from Keegan Riccio 17:58 into the second half in the contest.
Mercy took a 1-0 lead when Jacqueline Egidio beat West Haven goalkeeper Betsy Magana at the 34:39 mark. Just 2:37 later, Mercy had a 2-0 advantage as Ryan Miela scored at the 37:16 mark.
Prisco got the Westies within a goal 17:58 into the second half, but Sheehan added an insurance tally later in the game.
Magana made 10 saves in the loss for West Haven.
All tied Up
Westies tie Foran on Barbieri's goal
By MIKE MADERA
(October 17, 2016) - After a seven game winless streak was snapped against Mercy, the West Haven girls soccer team wanted to get back on track Monday evening.
Traveling to Milford to play a tough Foran team, the Westies used a late goal by Madison Barbieri to come away with a 1-1 draw with the Lions at Foran High.
Madison Barbieri (18) against Foran, October 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Foran is a strong team, and I think the tie is a fair result," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team moved to 6-3-4. "Both teams had moments when they dominated the game, and there was a lot of back and forth play."
After a scoreless first half, Foran took a 1-0 lead with 16:30 remaining in the game on a goal by Ariana Montero. That goal would hold up for just 10:17 as Madison Barbieri scored off an assist from Gabi Prisco to even the game at one.
Alycia Morales against Foran, October 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Alycia (Morales) played excellent in goal tonight, kept us in the game and helped us come out with a tie. Madison (Barbieri) finished her chance well, and we played well down the stretch."
Alycia Morales made six saves in the draw for West Haven.
Robinson scores twice to help send seniors off in style
By MIKE MADERA
(October 19, 2016) - In the final regular season home game for the West Haven girls soccer team, it is only fitting that senior star Gabi Prisco scored once again.
What may be more impressive is a younger player who sees Prisco as a mentor, assured the Westies they would not leave the field without a victory in the seniors’ final regular season home contest.
Freshman Jessica Robinson and her teammates wanted to be sure to send the seniors off in proper fashion. Robinson more than held up her end of the deal.
Scoring twice in the second half, both off assists from Prisco, Robinson helped the Westies defeat Branford 3-2 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division contest at Ken Strong Stadium Wednesday evening.
Lauren Lewis (23) against Branford, October 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“It is really great to help the seniors go out with a win,” Robinson said. “She (Prisco) has taught me so much. I hope to use everything she has taught me over the next three years. This was a special night for the seniors, and we wanted to be sure we won for them. I got two perfect passes from Gabi.”
Trailing 1-0 after Keeley Ann Lepre scored for the Hornets with 18 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the first half, the Westies got an earful from the coaching staff at halftime and immediately showed they would come out stronger in the second half.
Just 5:06 into the second half, Robinson picked up her first goal of the night when Prisco fed the freshman in front and Robinson knocked in a loose ball past Branford goalkeeper Nina Grabowiecki to even the game at one.
“We got a nice talking to at halftime,” Prisco said. “We had to pull ourselves together and play together. We came out and played hard.”
With West Haven putting on all the pressure in the second half, Branford used a counter attack to take a 2-1 lead 10:19 inti the second half.
Senior Morgan Ashby fed a nice ball to Bridget Wirtz, who had her shot stopped by West Haven goalkeeper Betsy Magana. The rebound went out front to Wyntre Fries who knocked in the loose ball for a 2-1 Branford lead.
“This is our seventh game we lost by one goal,” Branford coach Jen Kohut said after her team fell to 2-12. “We worked hard. We are a scrappy team. In the first half, I think we took it to them. But, it was their Senior Night and they were not going to go away easy. They came out with a lot of fire in the second half.”
The lead for the Hornets lasted just 1:45 as Prisco scored her team-leading 16th goal of the season. Junior MacKenzie Holy made the play as she went through the Branford defense and fired a shot towards the net which Prisco deflected home.
Gabi Prisco (20) scored against Branford, October 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first half,” West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team improved to 7-3-4. “The second half was a better example of how we have been playing. It (goal) was what we have come to expect from Gabi (Prisco) and Lauren (Lewis). They give everything they have. When you have that, you always have a chance.”
That hard work of the Westies continued and paid dividends just over eight minutes later as Prisco once again fed a ball in front. Robinson was in the perfect spot next to the left post as she tapped in her second goal with 19:36 to go for a 3-2 West Haven lead.
“She has been working hard all year,” Trenchard said of Robinson. “She had done everything but score. She was able to get two big goals today.”
West Haven, which is 6-1-3 in its last ten games and is still in contention for the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, survived a late scare as Branford’s Wirtz sailed a shot just wide from 12 yards out with 9:40 to go in the game.
“Tonight was very emotional,” Prisco said as she upped her point total on the season to 43. “It was good to come away with a win on Senior Night. We had a challenge tonight.”Magana made three saves in the win for West Haven, while Grabowiecki made seven saves for the Hornets.
Jessica Robinson (6) scores against Branford, October 19, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Gabi Prisco (20) scores against Branford, October 19, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Jessica Robinson (6) scores her second goal of the game against Branford, October 19, 2016. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
Ready to Go
Westies improve to 7-1-3 in last 11 games with win
By MIKE MADERA
(October 24, 2016) - West Haven coach Pete Trenchard could not be any happier with the way his girls soccer team is concluding the regular season. With just one loss in its last 11 games and one regular season contest to go, the Westies are peaking at just the right time.
With a 4-1 victory over Lyman Hall in Wallingford Monday afternoon, West Haven improved to 8-3-4 on the season.
The Westies celebrate a goal by Kaylee Pliszka (r.) against Lyman Hall, October 24, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We played well today," Trenchard said. "Lyman Hall was physical and made it hard on us. Our team played strong today. It was great to get goals from Kaylee (Pliszka), Kelsey (Gilmore) and MacKenzie (Holy). That, combined with the strong play of our defense, and Gabi (Prisco) and Lauren (Lewis) at forward. We put ourselves in a good place for the postseason with today's win."
The Westies wasted no time setting the tone as Gabi Prisco scored off an assist from Keegan Riccio 9 minutes, 7 seconds into the game, before Prisco set up Gilmore 8:33 later.
West Haven scored twice in the second half as Pliszka scored off an assist from Holy 20:30 into the second half, and Pliszka set up Holy 16:13 later.
The Westies celebrate a goal by Kelsey Gilmore (16) against Lyman Hall, October 24, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven held an advantage in shots, 11-6. Alycia Morales made five saves in the win for West Haven.
Lewis leads Westies in Finale
Senior scores lone goal in 1-0 win over North Haven
By MIKE MADERA
(October 25, 2016) - West Haven coach Pete Trenchard could not have drawn up a better script to end the 2016 season.
Looking to enter the postseason playing their best soccer, the Westies capped a terrific 12-game run to end the season, which included just one loss in their final 12 games, with a 1-0 victory at North Haven Tuesday afternoon.
Lauren Lewis, seen here against Lyman Hall, scored the lone West Haven goal in a 1-0 victory over North Haven, October 25, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the victory West Haven closes the regular season with a 9-3-4 record, including a run of 8-1-3 to end the season.
"Tonight was a good way to end the regular season," Trenchard said. "It was a tough, even game. It was just what you need to prepare you for the postseason. Hopefully, this will be a good springboard for some positive results in the SCC and state tournaments."
The Westies played a solid defensive game and goalkeeper Betsy Magana did the rest, turning aside all three shots she faced.
West Haven gave Magana all the support she needed on the offensive side in the first half as senior Lauren Lewis scored her sixth goal of the season off an assist from MacKenzie Holy. The helper was Holy's seventh on the year.
Keegan Riccio (l.), seen here against Lyman Hall, and the Westies defeated North Haven, October 25, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
From that point on, it was all about West Haven's team play as the Westies continued the pressure and limited the North Haven scoring opportunities.
Trenchard hopes to use that formula for deep runs in both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments.
Junior scores to propel WH to SCC semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
(October 29, 2016) - Junior MacKenzie Holy has been a key player for the West Haven girls soccer team all season. In Saturday's Southern Connecticut Conference semifinal contest, Holy again rose to the occasion.
Scoring her fifth goal of the season with 17 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the second half, Holy propelled her fifth-seeded Westies to a 1-0 upset victory over fourth-seeded Sheehan in the quarterfinals of the SCC tournament in Wallingford.
With the win, West Haven will meet top-seeded Hand of Madison in the SCC semifinals Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Surf Club in Madison.
"It was a very even game," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team improved to 10-3-4. "Both teams had some quality chances. In the end, we were able to get one in, and did a good job of putting the game away."
MacKenzie Holy (15) scores against Sheehan, October 29, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The win by West Haven kept the team rolling as the Westies are 9-1--3 in their last 13 games.
After a scoreless first half in which the Westies controlled play, West Haven put on more pressure in the second half.
Holy then stepped up, scoring off an assist from senior Gabi Prisco for a 1-0 lead.
The Westies kept Sheehan at bay and nearly extended the lead to a pair of goals, but Prisco rang a shot off the crossbar in the final 10 minutes.
West Haven seniors Gabi Prisco (20) and Lauren Lewis (23) advance to the SCC semifinals after the Westies posted a win against Sheehan, October 29, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"MacKenzie (Holy) was able to nail home the winner, and Alycia (Morales) and our back four did a great job of keeping Sheehan off the score sheet." Trenchard said. "We took advantage of the opportunity and we are looking forward to the semifinals against Hand.
The West Haven defense did the rest, not allowing the equalizer, and sending the Westies to the semifinals.
Alycia Morales made four saves in the win.
Hand tames Westies
Tigers score 5 times in second half to post 6-0 victory over WH
By MIKE MADERA
(November 1, 2016) - Having posted 12 shutouts and allowed just six goals all season heading into Tuesday evening’s postseason contest, the Hand Tigers had to like the position they were in.
When freshman Kayla Howard scored late in the first half against West Haven, the Tigers were in a prime position. Scoring five times in the second half, top-seeded Hand defeated fifth-seeded West Haven 6-0 in a Southern Connecticut Conference semifinal contest at the Surf Club in Madison Tuesday evening.
With their tenth win in a row, including a fourth straight shutout, the Tigers advance to the SCC finals Thursday evening against second-seeded Cheshire, a 2-1 overtime winner over Amity, at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven at 5:30 p.m.
Gabi Prisco (20) and the Westies fell in the SCC semifinals against Hand, November 1, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We have defended well,” Hand coach David Dikranian said after his team improved to 14-1-3. “We have a great keeper (Lily Geshwind). As a group, we try to have everyone go up the field as a group and come back as a team.”
Howard was the center piece of the first two Hand goals as she scored in the first half and made a beautiful move in the second half to set up a goal by Vivianna Mazzarella.
The Tigers controlled play in the opening half in terms of possession and shots. Hand had six quality shots on goal, but needed until 10:02 remained in the opening half to capitalize.
Off their third corner kick of the opening half, the Tigers capitalized when Mazzarella’s corner bounced in front of West Haven goalkeeper Alycia Morales. Howard was in the right spot and buried a shot in the back of the net for the only goal the Tigers would need.
“We have a strong defense and offense,” Howard said of her team. “We come out strong every game.”
The Westies fell in the SCC semifinals against Hand, November 1, 2016. Keegan Riccio (17) and Gabi Prisco (20) get ready for a rebound. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Tigers had another golden opportunity to extend the lead off another corner kick with 3:15 left in the first half. Morales, who made five saves in the opening half, came up big with a diving stop off a shot by Riley Kokoruda in front.
Hand continued the pressure in the second half and increased the margin to a pair of goals just 7:58 in. Howard made a sensational move, pulling the ball back and tapping a pass to Mazzarella. With a clear shot in front, Mazzarella blasted a shot past Morales for a 2-0 advantage.
“I thought that was the key for us,” Dikranian said of the two-goal lead. “We wanted to get that second goal to open the game up. Give Pete (Trenchard) credit. He is a smart coach. He defended well and did not make it easy for us to get going. Once we got that second goal, we knew they would have to open up the game.”
The Tigers put the game away with two goals in a span of 1:03 late in the second half. Sophomore Sophia Dickman blasted a shot by Morales with 15:33 to go and Mazzarella followed suit with a blast from 30 yards out with 14:30 to go.
The Tigers’ defense was exceptional in the contest, not allowing a quality scoring attempt by West Haven seniors Lauren Lewis and Gabi Prisco.
“We did not show up to play,” West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team saw its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 10-4-4. “They were more aggressive. They wanted it more. They are a good team.
“They are a very high pressure team. As soon as we had the ball, they were all over us. One of our strengths is possession and working the ball around. They did not give us the chance to do that.”
The Tigers capped the scoring with two goals in the final 5:15 as Delaney Skelly and Helena Stein both scored.
After shots by Hand’s Ashleigh Violette and Kokoruda sailed wide in the opening eight minutes of the contest, Taylor Scully’s shot from 17 yards out with 8:50 gone by in the game was turned aside by Morales. Gabriella Egidio was then denied in front by Morales 13 minutes in.
The Westies immediately tried to lead Lewis in on a break one minute later, but the senior could not catch up.
Over and Out
Westies fall in opening round of state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
(November 9, 2016) - It was not supposed to end this way for the West Haven girls soccer team. With a season full of memorable moments, the magic ran out Wednesday afternoon.
Surrendering five first half goals, No. 15 West Haven was upset by No. 18 Fairfield Warde, 5-0, in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
The loss, West Haven's second in a row in the postseason, ends a solid season at 10-5-4. The Westies have not won a state tournament game since 2008 when Nicole Pacapelli scored the game-winner at home against Westhill.
Lauren Lewis (23) against Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It is very disappointing," West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said. "We worked really hard as a team this year. We are capable of playing much better than we showed today.
"I have never been a part of something like that where they scored that many times in succession in that short of a time. They had five goals in twelve minutes. We had a very weak point and we could not get going again. They were able to take advantage of our mistakes."
Warde improves to 8-5-4 and advances to the second round at second-seeded Suffield Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
The loss also ends the high school careers of Lauren Lewis and Gabi Prisco, two of the most prolific players in the area.
"It is really disappointing to go out like that," Prisco said after finishing the season with a team-leading 17 goals, 13 assists and 47 points. "I thought we played better in the second half, but we came out flat to start and sat back. We did not play our game."
Gabi Prisco (20) against Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Mustangs were well aware of the lethal combination of Lewis and Prisco and were well prepared to deny the pair any solid scoring opportunities.
The Westies did not pose much of a challenge offensively in the game, not forcing any runs or through balls. The first half was completely dominated by the Mustangs with West Haven barely threatening.
While that was the case, Fairfield Warde did not really need to worry much about the West Haven offense as the Mustangs dictated play in the first half and never let the Westies get on track.
Warde dismissed any possibility of West Haven's offense being a factor, scoring five times in a span of 12:50 of the opening half to take a 5-0 lead.
"They scored quickly," Trenchard said of the defensive breakdowns."We could not get our offense going and we could not generate anything. When we got the ball in the final third, we made poor decisions or their defense cleaned it up."
Warde wasted no time taking charge of the game as the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead 11:07 into the contest when Anna Glovin beat West Haven goalkeeper Betsy Magana 11:07 in.
Just 3:01 later, the combination of Lauren Tangney and Alexa Montani got going. Montani, who finished with a goal and two assists, set up Tangney for a 2-0 advantage, and Tangney returned the favor setting up Montani 2:52 later.
Just when it looked as if things could not get worse for the Westies, they did as Montani fed Clare Corcoran for a 4-0 lead with 17:24 remaining in the half.
Any faint hope of a West Haven comeback ended 1:21 later when Montani scored an unassisted goal.
"We worked so hard all summer and this season," Prisco said. "We had such a good year compared to last year. We only lost three games (regular season) as opposed to last year where we only won three."
Magana made three saves in the loss for West Haven, while Fairfield Warde's Megan Christenson finished with four saves.
Betsy Magana against Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
All-State players - Carlin Guarneri '96; Danielle Lacroix '99; Rebecca Sampara '07; Nicole Pacapelli '09; Gabriella Reis '11; Marisa Pacapelli '13; Marisa Pacapelli '14; Gabi Prisco '16
Retired numbers - Carlin Guarneri (Class of 1997) #1
MacKenzie Holy (15) against Fairfield Warde in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies looking to bounce back in 2016
By MIKE MADERA
(August 15, 2016) - The West Haven girls soccer team ended the 2015 campaign in less than thrilling fashion. With an 0-5-2 run to end the year, the Westies finished 2015 in disappointing fashion at 3-9-4.
A new season brings plenty of optimism and the Westies certainly have that optimism as the new soccer season approaches. With the likes of Gabi Prisco, Lauren Lewis and Keegan Riccio looking to make 2016 a season to remember, the Westies are cautiously optimistic entering the fall season.
Gabi Prisco and the Westies are looking for a rebound season in 2016. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Leading the way in 2016 are senior captains Prisco and Lewis. Prisco, who led the team with 12 goals and four assists for 28 points last season, will play forward, while Lewis will be a strong player at the midfield position.
"They were definitely our two shining stars from last season," Trenchard said of Prisco and Lewis. "Both return very fit and very strong. They are the best players on the team and their leadership is outstanding. They are very encouraging with the new girls. They are always helping them and are very supportive. They are great kids and great athletes. I am very lucky to have them."
While his team may have struggled last season, Trenchard had an eye out for the future and that mindset may play huge dividends in 2016. Trenchard had his share of freshmen on the field in 2015 and those players will now be counted on to play key positions one year later.
Sophomores Keegan Riccio, Kelsey Gilmore, Erin Smith and Madison Barbieri will have important roles in 2016 as Barbieri and Smith will play defense, and Riccio and Gilmore will be at midfield.
Smith played midfield last year and is being moved to defense, while Riccio scored three goals and added four assists for 10 points last season. Gilmore scored twice and added two assists last year.
"We need to score goals," Trenchard said. "Last year, we were overly dependent on Gabi. Part of that was how young we were and how strong Gabi is. A lot of the time we would just get it in to Gabi and figure she would score.
"This year, we need to be more spread out. We have the right pieces in place. Lauren Lewis will be at midfield and Keegan (Riccio) and Kelsey (Gilmore) have a year of experience. MacKenzie Holy has been playing very strong. The pieces are there. We will need a complete team effort."
Trenchard has solid veterans returning as well as junior MacKenzie Holy will play midfield and senior April Bowen will be on defense.
"I have liked what I have seen," Trenchard said. "I like the attitude around the team. Everybody is very positive. They have all seemed to have bought in to what we are trying to accomplish. They understand we are not only trying to build for this year, but build the program as well. This is a great group of girls."
Trenchard also has a pair of freshmen who will contribute immediately as Taylor Nowak and Jessica Robinson will make an immediate impact on the team. Nowak will play defense, while Robinson will be at midfield.
"It is a good, young core still," Trenchard said. "We are optimistic. They play well together. They work hard together. Last year we were also playing for this year. We knew we were young and might have a rough year. That experience will pay off this year. The girls are playing well. From where we were a year ago to now is night and day."
With a mix of youth and experience, the Westies will look to play into the postseason.
One key factor will be the play in goal, where the Westies will have a battle between juniors Betsy Magana and Aiycia Morales. Both have played extremely well, making a decision tough on the coaching staff.
"We have a good battle in goal," Trenchard said. "Both have different strengths. Both are juniors and both have experience. All things considered, we will probably have to split them. Both have played well and both deserve to play at the varsity level."
Despite plenty of new faces, Trenchard says a successful season will only occur if the team plays in the postseason.
"We have to make the tournament for this to be a successful year," Trenchard said. "We will judge the season by how we are playing at the beginning of the year and at the end. It will take time and we will improve. This year, we need to take it to another level."
West Haven opens its season Saturday, September 10 with a home contest against Sacred Heart Academy at 5 p.m.