WEST HAVEN >> West Haven senior captain Alexis Severino has watched her team grow since the summer. Severino has liked what she has seen.
Behind Severino’s fourth goal of the season, great overall play by Gabi Prisco, and a solid defensive effort led by Sam Furtak and Jolie Morrell, West Haven improved to 5-0 with a 2-0 victory over Hamden at Ken Strong Stadium Tuesday evening.
“We have come very far since the beginning of the year,” Severino said after scoring in her fourth game this season. “We are really playing like a team. We have a lot of chemistry now.”
After a sluggish start against a Hamden team which has struggled to score on the road, West Haven started to pressure 15 minutes into the contest.
A header by Marisa Pacapelli from 15 yards out sailed over the goal 15 minutes in, before Prisco made two great moves to get by the defense, but was denied a shot in front.
“This was a tough game,” West Haven coach John Camara said. “We had some nervousness to start the game.”
The Westies finally got on the scoreboard with 12 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the half as Prisco’s corner kick was headed forward by Morrell.
Severino grabbed the loose ball in front and ripped a shot to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
“It is always important to get the first goal,” Severino said. “You do not want to fall behind.”
With the way Hamden has scored on the road this season, the goal by Severino may have looked like ten to the Green Dragons. Outscored 14-0 away from home this season, the Green Dragons have struggled to find any consistency on the road.
“We are not playing badly,” Hamden coach Gary Collins said after his team fell to 1-5. “We have momentum, make that one bad mistake, the other team capitalizes, and the momentum goes away.
“We just need to have somebody get the ball in the right spot. We are working hard. We just need to keep the game simple.”
Hamden had a golden opportunity to knot the game six minutes into the second half, but West Haven goalkeeper Janiene Tuinman denied a shot in front.
“We are getting our chances,” Collins said. “We just need that one goal.”
Prisco then gave the Westies the insurance goal they would need when she scored with 21:58 remaining. Positioned in front, Prisco turned around and fired a shot from 30 yards out past Hamden goalkeeper Gabriella Panayotakis to the top left corner.
“Gabi took the pressure off the team,” Camara said. “She was able to handle the ball. She did a nice job.”
West Haven’s defense kept Hamden off the scoreboard the rest of the contest. Led by Morrell and Furtak, West Haven limited Hamden to one quality scoring chance the rest of the way as Sarah Vita hit the crossbar from 20 yards out with 14:10 left.
Tuinman made seven saves in the shutout for the Westies, while Panayotakis made four saves for Hamden.