While the regular season continues for the West Haven football team, the campaigns for both the volleyball and girls soccer teams have ended in the postseason with both teams falling on the road to Amity.
The football team is back in the win column. After dropping a pair of contests, West Haven is once again above the .500 mark with a 28-0 victory over Hillhouse at Ken Strong Stadium Saturday evening.
The victory saw West Haven move its record to 4-3 in a contest played a day after its originally scheduled date due to inclement weather. West Haven’s defense and special team were the key as the Westies took advantage of a pair of botched special teams plays by the Academics, while also stopping Hillhouse deep in West Haven territory on several occasions.
West Haven set the tone from the start defensively as it stalled a Hillhouse drive deep in West Haven territory with an interception.
West Haven promptly marched 96 yards, using an effective ground game, before Justin Medina’s 3-yard score with 36 seconds left in the opening quarter. Tylen Jennette ran in the conversion to give West Haven an 8-0 lead.
West Haven again capitalized on another Hillhouse mistake early in the second quarter. After a botched snap on a Hillhouse punt, West Haven needed a short field for a 14-0 lead.
Needing to move just 21 yards, the drive was capped when Juan Gutierrez ran in from six yards out 1:40 into the second quarter.
Special teams again allowed the Westies to take control of the ball later in the quarter as the Academics had trouble with another punt snap.
Taking over at the 34-yard line, West Haven used a short field and increased its lead to 20-0 when Jordan Berrios scored from one yard out with 3:11 left in the second quarter. The conversion failed, keeping West Haven’s lead at 20-0.
As they did in the first half, the Academics again looked to get the initial points of the second half.
As was the case in the first half, the West Haven defense came up big. A goal line stand with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter preserved the shutout and just about sealed the victory.
The Westies put the game away less than five minutes into the fourth quarter. Berrios scored on his second one-yard run of the game and Jaden Grant scored on the 2-point conversion for a 28-0 lead with 7:49 left in the game.
With the outcome no longer in doubt, West Haven just needed to finish off the shutout. The Westies did just that when Demerick Blackford’s interception at the West Haven 1-yard line with 1:15 left sealed both the game and the shutout.
The season has come to a close for the West Haven girls volleyball team. Traveling to play No. 10 Amity, the 23rd-seeded Westies could not come up with the big plays.
That, coupled with the fact the Westies were playing an Amity team which blew a two-game lead before losing to Cheshire in the Southern Connecticut Conference finals, was not a good mix.
When all was said and done, the Westies fell 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-17) in the Class LL first round at Amity High Monday evening. With the loss, West Haven concludes its season at 9-13.
“It was another tough loss to a tough Amity team,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. “I wish them luck in the rest of the tournament. I’m proud of my girls and all they accomplished this season. We met and exceeded several of the goals we set at the beginning of the season and I wish my seniors nothing but the best. They are truly strong and amazing young women and they have set the bar very high for the underclassmen coming up.”
The Spartans wasted no time setting the tone of the match as they rolled to an easy first game win, before pulling away in each of the next two games to sweep the Westies.
“Nancy (Tapia) and Bria (Stanley) both played well at the net,” Coldren said. “They were able to find open space on the court and made very smart decisions, which is tough to do against Amity. CC (Celina Condon) played very well on both defense and serve receive and Noelle (Noble) kept us in a lot of plays with her passing tonight.”
Jennifer Ortiz had five assists and three digs, Nancy Tapia added six kills and four digs, Celina Condon chipped in six digs, Giliana Santaniello had six assists and two digs, and Bria Stanley added six kills.
With just about two weeks to prepare for the start of the postseason, the West Haven girls soccer team had to like its chances. One thing the Westies may not have expected was the rainy weather and slick turf they would play through.
Under wet conditions, No. 24 West Haven fell in the opening round of the Class LL state tournament 3-1 against No. 9 Amity at Amity High Monday afternoon. With the loss, West Haven concludes its season at 6-7-4.
“It is bittersweet,” West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said. “Our goal was to make the (state) tournament. We had a tough draw against a very good Amity team. They have some very good players. We had some opportunities, but we were not able to capitalize.”
The Spartans took an early lead and took a 3-0 advantage before the Westies got on the scoreboard. West Haven’s goal from Keegan Riccio off an assist from Kelsey Gilmore, was as close as West Haven would get despite putting on more pressure in the second half.
Mackenzie Gardner made eight saves in the loss for West Haven.
“In the second half, we had some pressure, but we just could not find the back of the net,” Trenchard said.
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