The Naugatuck girls soccer team is off to a fast start, earning a 3-0 record one week into its NVL title defense. The Greyhounds opened the season with a 4-1 win over Holy Cross and showed no ill effects from losing 15 seniors to graduation.
Junior Kaitlin Carter and freshman Cailah Baranowski have shared the duties minding the goal while seven players have put the ball into the back of the net to lead the offensive attack.
Melissa LaBonte, Cristina Sendra, Kathyrn Bottinick and Stephanie Santos scored against the Crusaders in the opening season win.
The Greyhounds were in a battle against Wolcott over the weekend before they pulled away with a 4-1 win. Nicole Sambrook tallied a pair of goals with Sendra and Katelyn Deptula adding goals as the Hounds battled through a 1-1 tie at the half.
“The Wolcott game was a good test because it was two entirely different halves,” said Naugatuck head coach Jose Sendra. “We came out flat and Wolcott did a nice job with an offside trap. It was frustrating to us until we made the adjustment. Once we started to go horizontally things began to open up for us. The second half of that game is more of what I want to see this team accomplish.”
On Monday night in front of the hometown crowd, the Greyhounds showed they have learned a few lessons along the way as they came out with a purpose in a convincing 8-0 win over Sacred Heart.
Sambrook, the team leader in goals with five racked up, posted a hat trick to pace the offensive assault against the Hearts. Carter and Baranowski shared the duties in the net to record the shutout as Naugatuck held a distinctive advantage with shots on goal by a 21-0 margin.
“We came into this season with a huge target on our backs,” Sambrook said, “but we are playing as a team and there really is no one go-to player.”
Sambrook, Sendra and Lianne Wallace each scored during a ten-minute span as Naugatuck built a 3-0 advantage with 15:28 to go in the opening half. Michelle Trochsler and Felicity Croce played a physical defense to keep the Hearts off the board.
Jessica Daronin of the Hearts made 13 saves in the net and gave Sacred Heart a chance, holding the Greyhounds at bay for the rest of the half.
Isabella Verrilli, Isabelle Moody and Bottinick keyed the defensive effort with Trochsler and Wallace combining to clear out any possessions by the Hearts.
Kelly Koslosky, Elena Gordon and Angelina Piccirillo along with Katerina Gullotta controlled the lines to keep the possessions in the middle of the field. That opened up scoring opportunities and the Greyhounds went on a second half spurt to close the game out.
Santos got it started when she received a return pass from Sambrook and sent one inside the post with 35 minutes to go in the second half. A minute later, LaBonte lined one up from 20 yards out and got one to go over the top of the goalkeeper to open up a 5-0 advantage.
Three minutes later, Alexya Alves sent a crossing pass over to Sambrook that landed on her foot as she wound up and blasted one through for a 6-0 lead.
Sambrook recorded her hat trick goal with 13:30 to play on the second assist from Santos.
“I think this year I’m concentrating more on being a playmaker than a goal scorer,” Santos said. “If I can get everyone involved in touching the ball inside it improves our chances to score.”
Naugatuck closed out the scoring when Bottinick scored a minute later for the 8-0 final margin.