NAUGATUCK — For just the fifth time since winning back-to-back state championships in 2001-2002, the Naugatuck boys soccer team made it to the state tournament quarterfinals.
No. 4 Naugatuck saw its run in the Class LL tournament come to an end in the quarterfinals in a 5-0 loss to No. 5 Hall Nov. 15 at Naugatuck High.
After taking a one-goal lead into halftime, Hall (17-1-2) scored twice in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second half. The Warriors added two more in the final 40 minutes to eliminate the Greyhounds, who finished the year with a Naugatuck Valley League tournament championship and a record of 18-2-2.
“To be in this position, winning 18 games, winning an NVL title and in the quarterfinals, it was a very successful year,” Naugatuck head coach Ryan Kinne told the Republican-American.
The Greyhounds started the season by losing senior playmaker Alex Manasoiu in the preseason to injury, and things got even grimmer when junior Jay Barth, one of the team captains, suffered a season-ending injury in the eighth game.
But Naugatuck, as always, is stocked with talent and experience, and the team rallied to win the NVL title and march to the quarterfinals.
“We worked hard all year and did it with a little bit of adversity (the early injuries),” Kinne told the Republican-American. “We should obviously continue to move forward and build off it because we have some very talented pieces that we can continue to push forward in the future.”
Naugy will graduate 13 seniors from this year’s squad, including goalie David Green, Fred Longo, Bruno Silva, Saul Pujols, Lucas Silva, Matheus Santis, Nelson Lavoura, Jake Murphy, Sam Daniel, Nicholas DaSilva, Qaseem Zia, Eduardo Garcia and Stephen Alziphat.
The Greyhounds will return a core group of 10 players who made a significant impact on the season.
Junior Jonathon Almeida gained some experience in goal and will look take over for Green in the net. Juniors Chris Akinduro, Tim Rosa, Barth and Mateus Filho, who was named NVL tournament, will be back to lead the team along with sophomores Manny Silva, Ahmed Aljamal and Simon Diaz.