Greyhounds looking to maintain momentum

Naugatuck’s Lilly Lyons (17) and Oxford’s Grace Mahmood (2) race to the ball before it goes out of bounds Oct. 8 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — A successful season is typically measured in wins and losses. So where do ties fit in to the overall assessment of a team’s progression?

The Naugatuck girls soccer team saw a three-goal lead evaporate in late September and had to settle for a 4-4 tie with Woodland. That was followed by a couple of 6-0 victories over Derby Oct. 1 and Sacred Heart-Kaynor Oct. 3, then a 4-4 tie versus Oxford Oct. 8 — a game in which the Greyhounds held a 3-1 lead.

“We are not finishing like we should,” Naugatuck head coach Lisa Mariano said. “I credit my girls for battling until the end. We had a shot on goal in the final seconds (against Oxford) but it just missed the mark.”

It can be hard to gain any traction, let alone maintain momentum, going from the slow lane to the fast lane. Derby and Sacred Heart-Kaynor had one win combined in 15 games, while Woodland and Oxford had 11 combined wins in 19 games.

“Maintaining momentum is key,” Mariano said. “Sometimes during the season that is hard to come by. We were more than ready to face Oxford but we didn’t finish the game as we should have.”

Naugatuck’s Emma Sonski (8) pushes the ball up the field after getting by Oxford’s Franchesca Guglielmo (22) Oct. 8 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Defensively, Alannah Hernandez, Allison Murphy and Julianna Magalhaes made it hard for Oxford to get its game going out in front of Naugatuck keeper Saige Winslow (9 saves).

With Angelina Oliveira and Aalyiah Henry on the outside, and Lauren Sonski, Noelle Jacobi, Paige Cruz and Aubrey Deller at midfield, the Greyhounds gained their fair share of 50/50 balls.

It was a 1-1 battle at halftime, with Henry scoring the Greyhounds’ only goal of the half. Emma Sonski scored two minutes into the second half, and eight minutes later Lilly Lyons sent one to the back of the net to build a 3-1 cushion.

The Wolverines used their speed to the outside to gain a lane and Katie Wickenheisser tied the game at 3-3 with 22 minutes to play.

Lauren Sonski put a pass right on the kicking leg of Cruz, who drove it to the back of the net with 13 minutes to go to put Naugy back on top 4-3.

Naugatuck’s Noelle Jacobi (7) and Oxford’s Jess Kondic (8) battle the ball Oct. 8 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

With 11 minutes left, Jessica Kondic put a direct kick into the upper 90 past the leaping Winslow to tie the game at 4-4.

Emma Sonski’s shot to the far post in the final minute went wide for Naugatuck.

After the Oxford game, the Greyhounds hosted Newtown Oct. 12 in a non-league match. Newtown won the game, 3-1, as Naugatuck fell to 5-2-3 on the year.

Anissa Simones scored Naugatuck’s lone goal. Winslow made 10 saves in net.

Naugatuck is set to host Holy Cross on Tuesday before heading to Derby on Friday.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article published in the Oct. 17 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time on Oct. 11.