WEST HAVEN — Through four games, there has been one constant for the West Haven girls soccer team. That constant has started with its defense.
The Westies entered Tuesday evening’s game having not allowed a goal in their previous three victories. That trend continued as a stifling defense coupled with solid goalkeeping helped lead West Haven to a 3-0 victory over Jonathan Law in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division C contest at Ken Strong Stadium.
West Haven has now outscored its opponents 14-0 in improving to 4-0. Law fell to 1-3 with its second consecutive defeat.
“One of the different things this year is we have taken advantage of our opportunities,” West Haven coach Pete Trenchard said. “We are creating quality chances and everyone is contributing. With the amount of goals we have scored, it is not just one girl. It is spread out.”
Aside from a 10-minute stretch to close the first half, the West Haven defense did not allow much room for Law to operate on the offensive side. Playing within it structure, West Haven forced Law to the outside and did not allow much in the middle of the field.
“Communication is the key for us in keeping our shape,” West Haven defender Tomalyn Williams said. “It really is a cooperative effort.”
After finishing the opening half with eight shots, Law managed just two shots in the second half, both turned aside by West Haven sophomore goalkeeper Kassidy Carrano. The best chance for Law to get on the scoreboard came off a scramble in front off the foot of Elly Van Waveren with 20 minutes, 30 seconds remaining and Law down one goal.
“I thought their offense stood out in terms of ability and speed,” Law coach Alicia Francisco said of West Haven. “I thought they had more energy than we had in the second half. They nearly scored within 40 seconds of the second half. We lost a lot of seniors from last year. We are working to see who our starting 11 will be.”
After a scoreless first half, West Haven junior Cori Severino set the tone of the second half when she nearly found the back of the net with a blast just 27 seconds in. A header by Selena Izzo sailed over the net 5:40 in, before West Haven finally capitalized with a tally 11:14 in.
Off a free ball, senior Kaylie Hollister lofted a shot from 40 yards which took a high bounce off the turf and just went over the outstretched arms of Law goalkeeper Sabrina Lawless for the only goal West Haven would need.
“I think we were able to take a little bit of a sigh of relief,” Trenchard said of Hollister’s goal. “We found that confidence in ourselves once again.”
With the team defense of the Westies keeping Law from getting quality scoring opportunities, West Haven extended the margin to a pair of goals with 5:58 remaining in the game. Another loose ball was converted as junior Madison Lentine ripped a shot in from 20 yards out.
Cori Severino, who was a thorn in Law’s side all night, capped the scoring when she broke in and scored from 15 yards out with 16.6 seconds to go.
“I thought we saw a difference in the second half,” Trenchard said. “Tomalyn Williams is one of the best center backs in the league. Riley Severino is fantastic back there. With the two of them, it is really hard for teams to break down. You add in we have two outstanding goalkeepers (Mackenzie Gardner and Carrano) behind them, and we are very confident with our defensive efforts.”
After being outshot early in the contest, Law controlled the latter part of the opening half, getting quality scoring opportunities on West Haven goalkeeper Mackenzie Gardner.
The West Haven keeper was up to the challenge as she denied shots by Midori Hughes, Andriana Bruno and Ashley Shaw, and saw a shot by Shelby Green bounce off the cross bar minutes earlier.
Gardner (6 saves) and Carrano (3 saves) combined in the shutout for West Haven. Lawless made seven saves in the loss for Law.