The Naugatuck and Woodland boys soccer teams both opened the season with a strong performance.
Both teams are looking to make a run at the Naugatuck Valley League title this season, and they showed that eagerness in their opening-season victories Thursday. Naugatuck beat Waterbury Career, 5-1, while Woodland shutout Sacred Heart, 3-0.
Woodland’s Jason Claiborn was all the offense the Hawks needed. The senior recorded a hat trick, scoring once in the first half and twice in the second to seal the deal.
Cole Barrows, Devon Polletta and Dante Polletta recorded assists. Ryan Lamb earned the shutout in the net.
“The keeper from Sacred Heart made some fine saves,” Woodland first-year head coach Kenan Collins said. “Barrows came close with a shot off the post in the first half. Our defenders, Sean Hussey and George Hughes, won several aerial battles. It was nice to get the first win in the books.”
Collins, who served three seasons as assistant coach for the Hawks, takes over a team that made a run to the NVL championship game last year and has its sights set on getting back to the title game.
Naugatuck unleashed an offense in the season-opener that should have the Greyhounds in the mix for a title run of their own.
Jay Barth, Chris Akindura and Lucas Silva all scored a goal and dished out an assist to pace the Greyhounds in their win over Waterbury Career. Sam Daniel and Mateus Filho added goals, with Tim Rosa and Matheus Santis getting assists. David Green recorded a save in the net.
The Greyhounds saw a five-year run as league champs come to an end last year with a semifinal loss to Woodland in the NVL tournament. A second-round loss in the state tournament has them looking for more this season.
Naugatuck is set to play Newtown Saturday and Seymour on Wednesday. Naugatuck will host St. Paul on Sept. 20.
Woodland is set to play Brookfield on Saturday and Waterbury Career on Tuesday. The Hawks play Portland on Sept. 19 and will be at Crosby on Sept. 20.