Although the rain impacted much of the past weekend for the West Haven Youth Soccer League, travel teams were able to get their games in as scheduled. The West Haven U-11 boys travel team traveled up I-95 on Saturday to face Branford in a rematch of the WHIT U-11 championship game from the previous weekend. This time the Westies came out on top with a thrilling 3-2 win on a muddy, sloppy Jefferson Field. Sean Studley flicked in the game-winning goal in the closing minutes to cap off the come-from-behind win for West Haven.
The Westies took the lead in the first half on Jovan Lakaj’s 20 yard chip over the Branford goalkeeper. Branford tied the game at 1-1 despite the best efforts of Westie goalie Rafi Treat. Treat made all kinds of spectacular saves- diving, leaping, point blank- to keep the Westies in the game in the first half. Branford scored early in the second half before West Haven mounted their comeback. Studely spun in the box and fired to the far post to tie the game at 2-2 midway through the half.
Studley then redirected Matt Panton’s shot past a diving goalkeeper to ice the win with under two minutes remaining. The West Haven backline of Panton, Nate Charron and Efrain Brown played extremely well throughout the match despite the difficult conditions.
The West Haven U-14/U-15 boys travel team took to the road for two games this past weekend. The first, Friday night, was a league game under the lights at Breen Field in Naugatuck. The hosts outscored the Westies, 3-1. The score line didn’t show the team play and ball possession by the Westies. Naugatuck came out first and scored midway through the first half.
The Westies pushed forward and attacked on several occasions. On one attempt, Munib Kassem broke through two central defenders and was taken down inside the penalty box. Kassem capitalized on the ensuing penalty kick and tied the game at 1-1. The Westies had many attempts at goal, but were unable to capitalize and allowed Naugatuck two goals in the second half.
On Saturday, the team went up to Madison to play at Salt Meadow Park. Though Madison found the back of the net first, the Westies found strength in the familiar salty air and scored four unanswered goals. Kassem scored first, tying the game at 1-1.
Zachary Guy put the Westies ahead with some smooth footwork as he drove past defenders and unleashed a precision shot past the Madison keeper. Collin Charron started the second half in an unfamiliar position at striker. Normally Charron anchors the back line, but his natural athleticism and ball handling skills transferred quickly as he dribbled along the endline and beat the Madison keeper near side to put the Westies up, 3-1.
Charron was not the only player finding himself in an unfamiliar position. After a solid first half in goal by Mikey Luth, Robert Foley made an impressive return in goal. David Smith, normally a stalwart at the back, found himself at striker, putting in a good showing. Kassem capped off the scoring with a well placed shot from nearly 30 yards out.
The Elite Soccer Camps U-14 girls travel team hosted East Haven late Saturday afternoon. The field was wet and slippery, but the girls survived the rough field conditions to finish the game as 5-1 winners.
After going at East Haven hard from the very beginning, the Westies found it hard to find the back of the net early on. The breakthrough came after the 20 minute mark when Emma Walker nailed in a shot and then Julia Tsakonas netted a goal from a great Ariana Izzo through ball that originated with some quick passing and combination play from Olivia Trenchard and Ava Murphy at the holding midfield spot.
The Westies kept the pressure on, with Camryn Flaherty and Cynthia Burns looking to make passes forward and get involved in the attack. In the second half, Camryn Beauvais scored off a rebound and Izzo added to the scoreline after dribbling through four East Haven defenders and putting a shot into the upper right corner. Isabelle Nagle, Josephina Lakaj and Abigail Phelan kept the pressure on East Haven’s backs late in the game to help secure the win for West Haven.