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09/26/2022 10:46 AM

East Haven Wins 28-27 Thriller Versus Bethel

Sophomore Nick Bilides (left) ran for 3 touchdowns and also caught a TD pass from senior quarterback Dom Salato (right) to lead the East Haven football team to a thrilling 28-27 victory versus Bethel on Sept. 23. Photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier
Senior Alice Stettinger and the East Haven girls’ volleyball squad claimed a 3-1 win over Career for their first victory of the 2022 season on Sept. 21. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier Photo courtesy of Kelley Fryer


The East Haven football team picked up its first win of the year when the Yellowjackets hosted Bethel for a non-conference contest on Sept. 13. The Easties edged out the Wildcats by the final score of 28-27 at East Haven High School to earn their first victory while improving to 1-2 on the year. The Yellowjackets won the game in dramatic fashion after stopping Bethel on a 2-point conversion attempt on the final play of the game.

Bethel scored the first touchdown of the game on a 31-yard run and held a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Sophomore Nick Bilides rushed for a 3-yard TD to the cut the deficit to 7-6 after one. Bethel came back with a 54-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and took a 14-6 advantage into the halftime break.

Bethel scored on an 18-yard TD run in to go up 21-6 in the third quarter, but sophomore Alex Dombrowski returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to put East Haven in good shape. Senior quarterback Dom Salato found Bilides on a 7-yard touchdown strike and then went to sophomore Joe Allen for the 2-point conversion, trimming Bethel’s lead to 21-14.

Later in the third, Bilides scored on a 2-yard run to make the score 21-20. Bethel stopped East Haven’s 2-point try and held a 1-point lead entering the final period.

In the fourth quarter, the Yellowjackets went on a drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run from Bilides for a 26-21 East Haven lead. Bilides took in the 2-point conversion to make it 28-21.

In the final minutes, Bethel drove down the field and found the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run to make it a 1-point game with no time on the clock. With the game on the line, the Wildcats opted to go for a 2-point conversion to try and win it. However, senior Dom Plano tripped up Bethel’s ball carrier before he could cross the goal line, securing an exhilarating 28-27 victory for East Haven.

Bilides finished the game with 13 carries for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns to go with his 7-yard TD reception. Salato was 7-of-13 passing for 86 yards and 1 touchdown for Head Coach Scott Benoit’s squad.

Sophomore Rocco D’Amato ran 9 times for 66 yards for the Yellowjackets. Dombrowski had 7 carries for 36 yards, along with the big 58-yard kickoff return. Sophomore Dante Rodriguez reeled in a 37-yard reception for the Easties in the win.

Rodriguez also had a key recovery when Bethel fumbled a kickoff return. Salato snagged an interception on defense for East Haven. Allen played a great game that saw him make 8 unassisted tackles for the Yellowjackets.

The Yellowjackets are hosting divisional opponent Bassick (0-2, 0-1) for their first SCC Tier 3 game of the year on Saturday morning on Oct. 1. The matchup gets underway at 10:30 a.m. at East Haven High School.

Girls’ Volleyball

The East Haven girls’ volleyball team hit the court to play three matches last week. The Yellowjackets picked up their first victory of the year by defeating Career and also took losses against Jonathan Law and Seymour, moving the team’s record to 1-5 this season.

In its first match of the week, East Haven hosted Jonathan Law and took a 3-0 defeat to the Eagles on Sept. 19. Law won the contest by scores of 25-17, 25-19, and 27-25.

Senior Alice Stettinger recorded 8 kills for the Yellowjackets in the match. Senior Autumn Clancy had 7 digs to go with 4 aces. Senior Nicole SanGiovanni finished the match with 9 assists and 2 digs.

Two days later, East Haven played a road match versus Seymour and lost to the Wildcats by a 3-0 score. Then on Sept. 23, the Yellowjackets were back on the road to face Career and posted a 3-1 victory over the Panthers. The Easties took the matchup by the final tally of 22-25, 25-21, 25-5, 25-18.

Freshman Eve Backhaus dealt out 15 aces to go with 3 digs for East Haven in its win against Career. Stettinger punched up 9 kills for the Yellowjackets. Junior Ava Avena had 6 assists for Head Coach Craig Brown’s team.

East Haven is hosting Sacred Heart Academy on Friday, Sept. 30 at 5:15 p.m. After that, the Yellowjackets are playing at Branford at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, followed by a home match against Lauralton Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 5:15 p.m.

Boys’ Soccer

The East Haven boys’ soccer team earned its first win with Head Coach Jacob Callahan when the Yellowjackets claimed a home victory over Jonathan Law last week. The Yellowjackets also took recent losses to Sheehan and Lyman Hall for an overall record of 1-4 on the season.

East Haven took a 1-0 road loss to Sheehan on Sept. 14. Then on Sept. 19, the Yellowjackets hosted Jonathan Law and notched a 3-1 win against the Lawmen for their first victory with Coach Callahan. Two days later, the Easties traveled to Wallingford to face Lyman Hall and took a 7-5 defeat in a high-scoring contest.

East Haven is playing a road game versus Career-Hillhouse on Friday, Sept. 30 at 3:45 p.m. The Yellowjackets will then host Branford for a matchup at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3.

Girls’ Soccer

The East Haven girls’ soccer team had three games on its schedule last week. The Yellowjackets took three defeats to move to 0-7 for the 2022 season.

On Sept. 20, East Haven played a road game against North Haven and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Nighthawks. Junior Gianna Casetellano scored one of the Yellowjackets’ goals on an assist from senior Sydney Herard. Senior Gianna Mendez netted the other score for East Haven on an assist by sophomore Dalexa Pereanez.

Two days later, the Yellowjackets hosted Sheehan and took a 5-1 defeat to the Titans. Mendez scored East Haven’s goal in the game.

East Haven finished up the week by taking a 2-0 road loss versus Lauralton Hall in a Saturday morning game on Sept. 24.

East Haven has a home game against West Haven on Friday, Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. The Yellowjackets will then be on the road to face Branford on Monday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Girls’ Cross Country

Junior Melania Korenosvky represented the East Haven girls’ cross country program when she competed against athletes from three teams in a meet at Mercy High School on Sept. 20. Korenovsky finished in 27th place out of 43 runners at the meet.

Korenovsky crossed the finish line with a time of 27:03 on her way to taking 27th place among a pack of runners from Mercy, Sheehan, and Foran. This marked Korenovsky’s first race of the year, while it was third competition of the season for the three other teams at the meet. Korenovsky will next be competing in the SCC Divisional Championships at the Guilford Fairgrounds on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m.