The Naugatuck Valley League boys and girls soccer championship tournaments got off to a rousing start Monday afternoon.
No. 2 Naugatuck and No. 3 Woodland advanced in the boys tournament and will face each other today for the right to play for an NVL title.
The Greyhounds and Hawks got all they could handle in the quarterfinal round.
Naugatuck defeated No. 6 Crosby, 3-2, at Naugatuck High School.
The Greyhounds took a 1-0 lead into the half on a goal from Sam Daniel. Crosby tied it on a goal from striker Anthony Orellana, before the Greyhounds scored twice in three minutes. Tommy Martins scored and assisted on Freddie Longo’s goal in the second-half offensive burst.
“When they scored, it made us realize we have to keep playing,” Martins said. “We have come together as a team. Maybe it is the change of formation, but I feel like we’re playing a lot harder.”
Orellana added a second goal in the 71st minute, but Naugatuck held on to win.
Woodland and No. 7 Seymour needed penalty kicks to decide the match, with the Hawks prevailing 1-1 (PK 3-1).
The Wildcats struck first with a goal from Tyler Crowley. Woodland’s Maciej Lewicki tied the game at 1-1 on a penalty kick in the first half.
Naugatuck and Woodland played to a 1-1 draw during the regular season. The semifinal match is set for 5 p.m. at Crosby High School in Waterbury. The winner advances to the championship game on Thursday at Naugatuck High to face the winner of the second semifinal match between No. 1 Watertown and No. 5 St. Paul.
There was also plenty of drama in the girls’ quarterfinal match between No. 5 Woodland and No. 4 Naugatuck.
Woodland beat Naugatuck, 2-1, on a goal by Juliana Villano on a direct kick from 20 yards out with 29 seconds left to play.
Villano got her chance when Paige Cruz fouled Woodland’s Karly Laliberte in the final minute just outside of the penalty area. Villano stepped up to the ball and beat Naugy keeper Sydney O’Donnell top corner for the goal and the win.
“I was just thinking, ‘lean over the ball, and if I score this then we’d be in the semifinal,’” Villano said. “She was a small keeper, so I figured upper 90 would be my best shot.”
Aries Bell scored in the second half to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Emma Sonski settled a pass from Cruz, turned and scored with 8:43 to play to tie the game.
Woodland advances to play No. 1 Watertown today at 7:15 p.m. at Watertown High School. The two teams met twice during the regular season. The Hawks handed the Indians their only loss so far and played them to a draw.
“It’s going to be a battle. We will be a little bit dinged up, that’s the tough part of playing back-to-back games,” Woodland coach Cait Witham said. “This was one of the first games where (Woodland) came out hard. We were ready.”
The winner will face the winner of the other semifinal match between No. 2 Wolcott and No. 3 Holy Cross in the championship game on Thursday night at Naugatuck High.
No. 3 Woodland’s NVL tournament run ended in the semifinals on Monday in a 3-1 loss to No. 2 Kennedy.
Alyssa Lukeski had 13 digs and six kills for Woodland. Fatima Khalid had 19 digs and 12 assists, and Steph Krebbs added eight kills.