On the Field: Naugatuck junior center-midfielder Tiago Martins is tearing apart the Naugatuck Valley League’s soccer defenses at the outset of the season, leading his team to a 3-0 record and a share of the Copper Division lead through Tuesday. Martins has led the Greyhounds in goals in each of their first three matches—a 4-0 win last Tuesday at Crosby, a 5-0 pasting of Wolcott on Friday, and a 3-0 shutout against Sacred Heart this Tuesday. Says Naugy head coach Art Nunes of the NVL’s leading scorer: “He’s everything we thought he would be, on and off the ball. His teammates understand they need to get him the ball. He’s playing very, very well.”
By the Numbers: Martins has racked up eight goals in Naugatuck’s first three games, including a pair of hat tricks against Crosby and Wolcott and a two-goal performance to help down Sacred Heart. The junior has found the net more than another other player in the NVL and added an assist against the Hearts to push his league-leading point total to nine. But perhaps Martins’ early-season success isn’t much of a surprise after all—he scored 19 goals as a sophomore on the 2008 NVL championship team, playing behind All-New England star Tony Sendra. Don’t be surprised to see Martins keep up his production, even as his Hounds begin to face the top-tier teams in the league.
In His Own Words: “The only reason I had two hat tricks in my first two games is because everyone on the team has been filling their roles perfectly. All I have to do is finish my chances. I’m making good runs and when I receive the ball, I’m finishing. To win the NVL title again, all we have to do is keep our work rate at a high level because we have the talent. My goal for this year is to have a great season and win another NVL title, and possibly a state title. All our team has to do is focus and work hard every day and we’ll be successful.”