FAIRFIELD >> The West Haven boys soccer team was the surprise of the 2014 season in the Southern Connecticut Conference, winning its first five games and finishing the regular season with 13.
Three games into this season, the Westies are still searching for that first victory. Fairfield Prep beat West Haven 4-2 at Rafferty Stadium Wednesday afternoon, dropping the Westies to 0-1-2.
“Even though we got ties the first two games, I don’t think we played well at all,” West Haven coach Pete Hamasian said. “I don’t think we are shocked. The writing’s been on the wall for a week now. We are struggling.”
Hamasian made it very clear the team’s preseason goals: the Westies want what the Jesuits have, the SCC Quinnipiac Division and league tournament titles. From the looks of its start, Prep is not going to relinquish either very easily.
“I think Prep is in a position as a whole where everyone wants to take us down,” Prep coach Ryan Lyddy said. “I don’t care who it is, whether it’s an out-of-league game, an in-league game, a state tournament game, a state championship game, whatever.”
The Jesuits scored six goals against Lyman Hall in the opener, then scored three in the first 12 minutes on Wednesday against a West Haven defense that missed assignments all over the field.
“Our one-on-one defending has been poor. We ball watch, and let our man run behind us,” Hamasian said.
Blaise Haba got one back for West Haven with 11:35 left in the first half. But Connor Fitzgerald scored his second goal with 2:07 left before halftime, a back-breaker for the Westies.
“At halftime, I wanted to have seven (goals). I wanted three more,” Lyddy said. “At halftime, I told them, ‘Give (West Haven) 13-15 minutes and they will start dying out and that’s kind of what we saw. They made a big push right in the beginning and at the 15-17 minute mark, they kind of died out a little bit and the pressure was back on them. We spread the field wide and you saw them chasing.”
Salah Oumorou, last year’s Area MVP for the Register, made a couple of spectacular moves to score just over 6 minutes into the second half. But the Westies had just one more shot attempt on net, which Dan Szabo saved.
Very few have the athletic ability match up one-on-one with Oumorou. Prep defensive back Biagio Paoletta, an All-Area selection a season ago, is in that select category. And he knows how to let his teammates help him.
“(Salah) has everything. He’s strong, fast, good with the ball and knows where to go with it,” Paoletta said. “You can’t take him on one on one. You have to slow him down and wait for your help. … You always have to know where Salah and Blais are, every second.”
Oumorou was clearly frustrated at various points during the game, most of those times when Prep surrounded him and forced a pass or a turnover.
“Once he is moving at you, he is very hard to stop. His footwork is bar none probably the best I have seen in the league in quite a long time,” Lyddy said of Oumorou. “He can only do so much. You D him up and slow him down, he has got nowhere to go with the ball. So you do that three or four times, he gets frustrated, which takes him out of the game a little bit.
“Biaggio can physically match up with him, his speed matches up with him and his athleticism matches up with him.”
Said Hamasian: “We try to put the burden on him a little too much. When teams double- and triple-team him, there’s not enough support joining him quick enough.”
Fairfield Prep 4, West Haven 2
West Haven 1 1 — 2
Fairfield Prep 4 0 — 4
First half—FP: Julio Ojea Quintana (Jack Oricoli) 5:41; Jack Oricoli (Jamie Becker) 10:52; Connor Fitzgerald (Julio Ojea Quintana) 11:59; WH: Blaise Haba 28:25; FP: Connor Fitzgerald (Jorge Aguilar) 37:53; Second half—WH: Salah Oumorou 44:09;
Shots—WH: 7; FP: 19;
Saves—WH: Garfield Robinson 7; FP: Dan Szabo 2;
Records—West Haven 0-1-2 (0-1 SCC Quinnipiac); Fairfield Prep 2-0 (1-0)