WATERBURY — During the regular season, the Crosby boys soccer team picked up its first win over Naugatuck in nearly a quarter century. The Greyhounds got their revenge Tuesday night.
The Greyhounds defeated Crosby, 2-0, in the NVL semifinals at Municipal Stadium to advance to their third straight title game.
“We only have two returning starters from last year so it has taken some time to come together and believe,” Naugatuck head coach Art Nunes said. “We have been working hard on our crosses and it has come around the right time of the year.”
Naugatuck (13-2-3) will face Woodland (11-6-1) in the final Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.
The Greyhounds played the game of the season holding Crosby (14-4) without a shot on goal until halfway through the second half. Leading the way were defenders Felipe Dutra, Devon Curtis, Gabriel Carrelo and keeper Rabbi Ahmed (three saves).
“We did a good job of passing the ball around just like we do in practice,” Dutra said. “The key to the defense is communication and playing with heart and we did that tonight.”
Naugatuck used pin-point passing to keep Crosby from using its physical size to control the game.
With 15:45 left in the first half, Candido Carrelo gave Naugatuck the lead. Carrelo charged inside the box and let off a shot that Crosby keeper Damon Bultron got a hand on. Bultron couldn’t control it, though, and the ball popped out and found the back of the net.
“We just played our game,” Carrelo said. “I’m excited to play for the NVL title for the third year in a row.”
The score remained 1-0 until late in the game.
With 4:45 left to play Naugy delivered the knee-buckler when Aren Seeger slipped one past the keeper just inside the post off a cross from Mike Campos for a 2-0 advantage.
Moments later pandemonium broke out when a push led to a shove, and before anyone knew it a melee had broken out. Order was quickly restored and tempers were kept under wraps as the remainder of the game was played without incident.
Nunes said the key for the Greyhounds is to play fast, but under control.
“We showed a calmness about our play and we held possessions and there was no rushing around. When we go with our speed but under control we are OK,” he said. “We passed the ball around and made them chase us around. There were times in the season I wasn’t sure we would be here. But now we are working as a unit and we are going 14 deep.”
Naugatuck opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Seymour Oct. 31 in the quarterfinals. Pedro DeSouza, Marco Mendes and Campos each scored for the Greyhounds, while Ahmed made two saves in net.