Diversity sharpens Naugatuck’s competitive edge

Naugatuck’s Julianna Magalhaes (10) fends off Wolcott’s Resse Yost (3) to get to the ball during a game Sept. 24 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Establishing set roles for a team is key to achieving success.

With the number of players on the roster in the teens, the Naugatuck girls soccer team is limited in its ability to establish those set roles. Throw in an injury, and players are often switching positions from game to game to meet the team’s needs.

In the long run, that can build a team with players that are well-versed in filling multiple roles.

“We just want to keep our game plan intact and go from there,” head coach Lisa Mariano said. “Overall, we are able to be diversified and changing players to different positions, and that has helped to keep us competitive.”

Naugatuck’s Lauren Sonski (18) cuts back across the field before splitting Wolcott defenders Resse Yost (3) and Analise Pilarski (11) during a game Sept. 24 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

That diversity paid in back-to-back victories over Wolcott, 6-2, Sept. 24 and Seymour, 4-2, Sept. 28.

“We are happy with the progress we are making,” Mariano said. “We had an injury to one of our starters, so we are trying to make those adjustments to the lineup to keep us competitive and try and find some rhythm.”

Julianna Magalhaes led Naugy with three goals against Wolcott. Lauren Sonski notched two goals and an assist, and Rana Aljamal added a goal to pace the offense.

Four days later, Magalhaes again led the way with two goals against the Wildcats. Thalia Jardim and Aubrey Deller each chipped in a goal, and Aljamal had two assists.

Naugatuck’s Layla Nemeth (23) heads the ball during a game against Wolcott Sept. 24 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Goalie Saige Winslow, who made six saves against Wolcott and five against Seymour, has been key in keeping the Greyhounds competitive.

“We’ve made some adjustments defensively moving players in and out of the backfield,” Mariano said. “We are pretty confident back there, and Saige has been doing a good job for us in the net.”

Naugy fell to 4-4 on the year with a 7-1 loss to Brookfield on Oct. 1. Ella Celozzi scored for Naugatuck on an assist by Isabella Gilchrist. Winslow made 12 saves.

Naugatuck is scheduled to play Woodland Oct. 4 and Derby Oct. 6.

“The goal moving forward is to be able to hop on the field and be able to play any position that is needed for that particular game,” Mariano said. “We have a good group of girls who are athletic and have that mindset to do whatever is needed to help the team.”