MILFORD — There have been clear distinctions between the wins and losses for the West Haven girls soccer team this season.
In its six wins, West Haven had outscored its opponents 18-0. In its two losses, the Westies were outscored 9-2. That trend continued against Jonathan Law.
Behind a stellar defensive effort, the goalkeeping of Mackenzie Gardner and Kassidy Carrano, and a first-half goal by Selena Izzo, West Haven defeated Law 1-0 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division C contest on Senior Night at Jonathan Law Wednesday evening.
“Again, I have talked about it all year,” West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said after his team improved to 7-2 with its second shutout of Law this year. “We have two great goalkeepers in Mackenzie (Gardner) and Kassidy (Carrano). When we need them to come up with a big save, they come up with it. Our defense is tough. We play a team defense.”
The West Haven defense was too tough for Law to get through as Law was held to just one shot in the opening half and eight in the game.
“I thought our energy was low in the first half,” Law coach Alicia Francisco said. “I don’t know if it was the Senior Night energy or just nerves. We could not get anything going. We talked at the half and reminded them we were playing without a senior player because she was quarantined. We reminded them it could be their last game. We did not want to go out like that.”
The Westies controlled the first half to a tune of a 9-1 shot advantage, in which Law did not register its only shot until less than 15 minutes remained in the opening half.
West Haven’s Cori Severino was dynamic in the opening half, creating several scoring opportunities, but it was senior Selena Izzo who finally put West Haven on the scoreboard when she scored just over the outstretched arms of Law goalkeeper Sabrina Lawless from 30 yards out with 20:45 remaining in the opening half.
“I was at the top of the box and it was a loose ball,” Izzo said. “I just settled it and saw some open space. I hit it clean and knew it was a good shot.”
After Izzo was denied by Lawless on a rebound attempt 55 seconds into the game, Severino was the offensive threat for the Westies.
The junior was dynamic on the left side as Severino sent a perfect cross to Madison Lentine in front, which Lawless denied with a diving save 6:20 in. Severino then ripped a shot from 10 yards out which Lawless denied, then followed by hitting the post with the rebound 3:25 in.
“I used my speed to my advantage,” Severino said. “I was able to get the through balls and we created some opportunities.”
Severino then had two more golden opportunities when she was denied by Lawless from 10 yards out, and shot wide of the goal from 15 yards out with 12:35 remaining in the opening half.
“We had some girls out tonight and she (Severino) was playing out of position,” Trenchard said. “We moved her up. She usually plays left wing and we moved her up top. She has played there in the past.
She is more confident out wide. She created a lot of good chances for us. She chased every ball down with her speed and made things difficult for them.”
Defensively, the Westies contained Law through the first 40 minutes behind the play of Riley Severino, Tomalyn Williams, Emma Walker, and Amanda Tsakonas, limiting Law to just the one shot from long range.
“Our defense is tough,” Trenchard said. “Tomalyn (Williams) and Riley (Severino) are both very tough. They are not going to give you anything. Emma (Walker) and Amanda (Tsakonas) on the outside are tough. We play a tough defensive team game.”
Law (1-8-1) finally got going in the second half with seven shots, two of which were high quality that Carrano turned aside. The first came off the foot of Shelby Green from 10 yards out, and the second was a header from Elly Van Waveren from 15 yards out with 20 minutes to go.
“This team has been dedicated all the way back to March when we were quarantined,” Izzo said. “Girls were posting videos of how hard they were working. They were dedicated every single day.”
Gardner finished with one save and Carrano had five saves in the win for West Haven. Lawless had seven saves in the loss for Law.