Naugy girls reach quarters, Hawks fall in first round

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The Naugatuck girls soccer team achieved what the Greyhounds haven’t been able to do in nine years — make the quarterfinals of the Class L state tournament.

The No. 9-seeded Greyhounds hosted No. 16 Farmington in the quarterfinals Friday for the chance to advance to their first semifinals appearance.

Farmington took control of the game early with a goal from Emma Novajasky minutes into the game. Novajasky tacked on two more goals in the first half and a fourth in the second as Farmington won 5-1 to end the Greyhounds’ season.

“We’re so used to ending our season early,” Naugatuck senior captain Mia Rotatori told the Republican-American after the game. “First round of NVLs were usually out, first round of states we’re out and we’re kind of just done. So, to get this far is definitely a good accomplishment.”

Noelle Jacobi scored for Naugatuck (12-5-3), and Sydney O’Donnell made six saves in net.

Naugatuck shook off an early exit from the Naugatuck Valley League tournament to make the run to the quarterfinals.

The Greyhounds opened the state tourney with a 3-1 win over No. 24 Avon on Nov. 5, marking the first time Naugy has advanced out of the first round in four years.

Lilly Lyons netted two goals to lead the way versus Avon (6-10-1). Alissa McNeil added a goal, and O’Donnell made nine stops in the net.

Naugatuck beat No. 25 Bristol Central, 3-1, in the second round on Nov. 7. Emma Sonski, Angelina Oliveira and Lyons scored versus the Rams (7-10-1). O’Donnell made seven saves.

Naugatuck head coach Lisa Mariano traced the roots of the run back to a 7-3 loss to Holy Cross on Oct. 9.

“After the loss to Holy Cross they had a choice to make,” she said. “Are we OK at where we are or are we going to make the change for the better. They have been playing at a different level ever since.”

The Greyhounds will lose eight seniors to gradation — Rotatori, Sofia Marques (captain), Catarina Rego, Scarlett Pujois, Alyssa Zarrella, Gianna Parente, Alexia Miranda and Tsering Dhondup — but will return a crop of talented underclassmen next season.

“I’m really excited for the (younger players) because they definitely have some strong talent. I think they will get just as far or farther next year,” Rotatori told the Republican-American.

Hawks bow out in first round: No. 17 Woodland saw a promising season come to an end in the opening round of the Class M state tournament in a 2-1 loss to No. 16 Northwestern on Nov. 5.

Julia Casimiro scored the Woodland (9-6-4) goal, and Alanna Carasone stopped eight shots in net. Northwestern (10-5-2) got two goals from Emma Propfe.

“As a team, we can’t maintain consistency scoring, for whatever reason,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said.

The Hawks will graduate a diverse group of seniors led by Carasone in the net. Defenders Michealla Mastropietro and Haley Wolfanger, midfielders Nicole Sherman, Mia Piccolo and Jill Accetura, and forwards Karly Laliberte, Casimiro and Juliana Villano are also seniors.

Junior Olivia Kotsaftis and sophomores Erica Poehalios and Aries Bell represent the up-and-coming Hawks that will be back next year.

“Two of our three defenders will be back, and we do have some younger players who have given us a spark offensively,” Witham said. “So, we are looking forward to next season and what we can accomplish.”