Greyhounds embrace defensive mentality

Naugatuck’s Candido Carrelo (11) slides in to defend against Wolcott’s Sean Cepelak (4) Tuesday at Naugatuck High School. Naugatuck won the game, 4-1. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck’s Candido Carrelo (11) slides in to defend against Wolcott’s Sean Cepelak (4) Tuesday at Naugatuck High School. Naugatuck won the game, 4-1. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The saying goes the best defense is a good offense. Then there is the Naugatuck boys soccer team, which favors a motto of don’t let them score and you will never lose.

How effective is that theory? Very, the Greyhounds have given up just two goals in 10 games this season.

Pomperaug, out of the South West Conference, scored a goal in a 1-1 tie versus Naugatuck in September. On Tuesday, Wolcott managed to get one by the Greyhounds, but it didn’t matter as Naugatuck took the 4-1 win to improve to 8-0-2. Vinny Knupp and Thomas Martins had two goals each to lead Naugy against Wolcott.

Junior goalkeepers Aren Seeger and Zack Alves have shared the duties in the net and have not faced very many shots on goal — they combined to make two saves Tuesday night. The reason is the team’s defensive philosophy and it starts at midfield where Gabriel Carrelo and Candido Carrelo play an excellent game of keep away from opponents.

Before the opposition can mount an attack downfield Pedro De Souza, Martins, Christian Jacobi, Jake Corbo and Pedro Mendes create enough interference to keep possessions on the Naugatuck side of the field.

When it comes time to mount an attack, the Greyhounds use a pinpoint passing game to find the open man between Bernardo Arruda, Matt Carroll, Marco Rebelo and Felipe Pereira.

When most teams are trying to catch their second wind Naugatuck head coach Ryan Kinne is sending another wave of Greyhounds players to the scorer’s table to check in. It’s about that time that most teams haven’t even broken the Greyhounds’ 30 yard line where the league’s stingiest defense of Devon Curtis, Yan Silva and David Ruela lies in wait.

“Our goalkeepers haven’t even been tested yet,” Kinne said. “They really haven’t faced a whole lot of chances and that’s because of our defensive mentality. Like they say, the best defense is a good offense and we do a good job taking care of the ball and possessions.”

The team is on pace to become just the third Naugatuck squad in the last ten years to allow single digit goals during the regular season. The 2015 and 2006 teams each allowed just nine goals.

“When you play that kind of defense you are going to be tough to beat,” Kinne said. “The defense has certainly kept us in those close games that we’ve had. We just need to go out there and take care of the ball on offense.”

Naugatuck did that Oct. 7 in a 3-0 win over Waterbury Career. Alves made four saves in the net. Matheus Santis led the way with a goal and an assist to pace Naugatuck. Curtis and De Souza had a goal each. Brandon Viera and Jacobi added assists.

Naugatuck will be at St. Paul on Friday before visiting Torrington Oct. 17.