WEST HAVEN — Both the West Haven and Notre Dame soccer teams will replay numerous squandered opportunities in their heads. With both squads failing to capitalize throughout the night, the Green Knights and Westies played to a 1-1 draw at Ken Strong Stadium Tuesday evening.
For the Green Knights (1-3-3), it was a case of a missed defensive assignment on a corner kick, which allowed the Westies to even the game late in the second half, and three scoring chances that went wide in the latter part of the game.
For the Westies (3-1-3), it was a rebound goal for the Green Knights and an abundance of shots that either sailed high or wide that will be thought about all night long.
“We started the season poorly and right now we are playing well,” Notre Dame coach Rudy Raffone Jr. said. “It’s frustrating. We had some chances up front and we gave up a goal on a corner kick. It’s too bad.
“We missed some chances in close. I thought we traded with them with that. We have to do a better job on defense.”
After a scoreless first half, the Westies controlled play to start the second half, but could not get a shot past Notre Dame goalkeeper Zack Balabon.
Jonathan Ortiz had his laser punched away by Balabon and Sebastian Parra was denied from 5 yards out 2 minutes into the second half. Balabon also robbed Parra with a diving save 1:45 later.
“We did not finish,” West Haven coach Liam Leapley said. “I thought this year was going to be different. But, we have not finished at times.”
The Green Knights capitalized 10:26 into the second half as Alexander Ossa ripped a shot that West Haven goalkeeper Dan Prendergast denied.
Prendergast couldn’t hold on and Alexander Mathews was there to drill a laser into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
”We got that goal, but we missed too many chances,” Raffone said.
The Green Knights continued the pressure only to see Prendergast deny Ryan Gannon off a corner and Nicholas Fratarcangeli with a diving save from 30 yards out with 23:15 left.
The missed opportunities continued for West Haven as both Blaise Haba and Pablo Perez ripped shots over the goal within 1:30 of each other.
The relentless pressure for West Haven finally paid off when Haba scored off a scramble in front following a corner kick. Haba fired a shot past Balabon to even the game at 1 with 9:04 remaining.
“He (Haba) owed us one,” Leapley said. “We had our opportunities. I thought we would be able to finish. We have not been able to. I don’t like that.”
After the game was delayed for a few minutes just 3:43 into the contest when part of the lights went out, the Westies mounted early pressure on the Green Knights but Balabon stood tall.
Jesus Morales shot wide from 25 yards out 10 minutes in, Perez hit the crossbar minutes later and Kevin Ruiz was stopped from 30 yards out 4:10 later.
“We are not playing the offense I want to see us play,” Leapley said. “It is back to the drawing board.”
The Westies had three quality scoring opportunities in the final 16:40 of the opening half. Parra shot wide from 20 yards out, Perez fired over the net from 20 yards out just 2:01 later and Parra was stopped by Balabon from 20 yards out in the final 8 minutes.
West Haven held a 12-6 shot advantage. Balabon finished with 10 saves for Notre Dame, while Prendergast made eight saves for the Westies.