The West Haven Youth Soccer League hosted the annual West Haven Invitational Tournament, the WHIT, this past weekend. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the West Haven travel teams all did well this year in their home tournament.
The U-12 boys played their first game against Branford. The Westies came out strong, dominating possession and putting face goals past their opponents, finishing 5-1. The second game was against Hamden, and again the boys looked great. They moved the ball fluidly, creating scoring chances, and winning 5-0. On Sunday, the boys played their third game of the tournament against Guildford. It was a wet morning and the mud impacted the game. It took the team some time to get going, but when they did, they looked their usual dominant selves, winning, 4-2. Going 3-0 put the Westies into the championship game against Wallingford. West Haven came out strong defensively and took advantage of the chances they were given. The Westies won the final 3-0, and repeated as champions.
The Elite Soccer Camps U-12 Lightning girls went undefeated at the WHIT this year. They opened up the tournament against a strong and aggressive Naugatuck team. The Lightning won, 3-0, behind the strong defense of Annabelle Pascreta, Sophie Mazuroski, Adelicia Parise and Niamh Chesson. The Lightning continued their strong play in their second game on Saturday, defeating Branford, 4-0. Ciara Harp and Alexandria Nunes scored, while Aylin Soto and Taylor Guarino added to the attack. In game three on Sunday, the Lightning played their West Haven club mates, the Thunder, with the Lightning winning, 5-0. Jaylyn Powell buried the ball into the back of the net, and Etta Funke and Llyanna Griffith-Waite worked hard in the midfield. Going 3-0 matched the Lightning against Milford in the final on Sunday afternoon. The game went back and forth early, with Isabella Eyler just missing the net for Milford. The Lightning went into the half leading 1-0, with the help of the passing and movement off the ball of Ashlynn Trenchard and Molly Gunning.
The Lightning scored three more in the second half to take the championship in the 4-0. Tournament MVP’s Chloe Whelan and Kayla Burt were stellar the entire weekend at center back (Whelan) and goalie (Burt), making sure the Lightning did not give up a goal the whole weekend.
The U-12 Thunder girls overall had a strong tournament performance considering much of the team are U-11s. On Saturday the girls had a very good game against Branford, after being 3-0 down at the half the girls came out fighting and created chances straight from the kick off. Their hard work was rewarded with two goals. The Thunder had two great chances at the end of the game, but could not find the third goal to tie the game. The second game the girls had a very good game against Milford and went 2-0 down early, but kept playing hard and they were able to shut down Milford the rest of the game.
On Sunday the girls had a tough game against West Haven U-12 Lightning, losing to the eventual champions, 5-0, although the game was closer than the score suggested. The final game of the tournament the girls played a hard fought game against Naugatuck, with the first half ending 0-0. Naugatuck came out strong in the second half, scoring an early goal. The Thunder were able to settle down and controlled most of the game after that. With four minutes left in the game, the Thunder found the goal and tied the score at 1-1. Overall the girls had a great tournament that ended on a well deserved tie.
The U-10 girls went undefeated in the tournament as well. In their first game against North Haven, the Westie’s squeaked by with a 4-3 win. Goals were scored by Amiyah Jones, Madison Gargiulo and Michelle Mora-Cyrus. The winning goal was scored by Lexi Lucas to end the game with the Westies on top. The second game showcased some great defense and kept Southington from scoring. With a 7-0 finish, Madison Gargiulo, Marcy Funke, Kayci Gayle, Lexi Lucas, Amiyah Jones and Lia Powers all scored. The Westies third game saw them take on the West Haven U=9 travel team. They had a great battle with their younger teammates. In the final game, the Westies shut out Hamden in a 7-0 win. Goals were scored by Kayci Gayle, Madison Gargiulo, Marcy Funke with two goals each by Camilla Murphy and Kaylee Pellino.
The Elite Soccer Camps U-15 girls also won their division this year. The girls started off slow, losing to North Haven 1-0 in their opening game Saturday morning. Despite giving up the goal, the defense was solid behind Neveah Swanson, Celia Williams, Camryn Flaherty, Cynthia Burns and Melissa Tsakonas. The girls bounced back in their second game, defeating the other West Haven team in their bracket, 5-0. Ariana Izzo and Brooke Flaherty scored, and Ava Murphy and Brooke Throm were solid in the midfield. Sophia Derosa and Cassie Wadeka held the shutout, with Wadeka scoring a goal of her own. On Sunday, the girls took on Cheshire, winning 6-1. Alyvia Ginsberg, Josephina Lakaj, and Isabelle Nagle all starred. In game 4 on Sunday, the Westies found themselves in a must-win game against Wallingford, with a spot in the finals on the line. The girls came out strong from the get-go, with Brooke Flaherty scoring the opening goal early in the game. Olivia Trenchard broke up a number of Wallingford attacks in the midfield, and passed well to start the counter. Camryn Beauvais also scored, with the Westies winning 3-0 and guaranteeing a trip to the final and eliminating Wallingford. In the final, the girls found themselves in a rematch against North Haven. The game went into double overtime, with the breakthrough coming with only two minutes left in the game when Emma Walker hit a perfectly timed pass to Julia Tsakonas. With only the goalie to beat and time running out, Tsakonas calmly slipped the ball into the lower corner and gave the Westies the win and the championship.
Despite playing in a U-10 bracket, the West Haven U-9 girls played strong and with confidence. They faced tough competition from Hamden, North Haven and the U10 West Haven team. Throughout all these games the U-9’s never gave up and won their last game against Southington, 1-0. Alivia Reilly and Lulu Sebas played strong in goal, while Jayda Ciilberti, Arianna Throm and Sophia Locklear had a strong defensive presence. Leenie Chesson, Finley Gunning and Sophia Empiric all had goals throughout the weekend. Hailey Dargon and Kylie Gibbons used great foot skills throughout the tournament. The girls had fun and continue to improve.
The U-11 boys had a successful weekend at the WHIT. The Westies first game was against Amity. They controlled the pace of the game and scored three unanswered goals to win the game, 3-0. Their second game on Saturday was against Cheshire. West Haven put up five goals and goalie Miacon Miguel earned another shutout. On Sunday the Blue Devils played Branford to another shutout winning the game, 3-0. The final game of regular tournament play was against Naugatuck. The Westies gave up their first two goals of the tournament, but fought back to a 2-2 tie giving the Westies a 3-0-1 first-round record with 11 goals for and 2 against. The final game was against the same Branford team from earlier in the day. Branford went up two goals in the first half. West Haven scored on a penalty kick. They had several chances but came up short losing in the finals, 2-1.
The U-15 boys team started off slow but as the tournament went on they picked up steam and never looked back. Their first game was a 5-2 loss to Seymour. The Westies came back a few hours later to play Stratford and won their first game of the tournament, 6-1. Sunday morning the Westies played Cheshire and won to advance into the finals against the same Seymour team from the previous day. The Westies came out flying and pressured the ball from the opening whistle, putting Seymour on their heels. The game was tied until late in the game when Andrew Bello-Medel headed a ball crossed into to the box to give the Westies the lead and the tournament championship beating Seymour when it counted, 3-2.