NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls soccer team was caught up in a 1-1 tie game with two-time defending Naugatuck Valley League champion Watertown last Friday heading into overtime.
The Indians capitalized on an error to take the lead and gain the momentum, scoring three times in the first overtime period. Kelly Koslosky scored for the Greyhounds in the second overtime period but it wasn’t enough to prevent Watertown’s 4-2 win that dropped Naugy to 5-4 on the season.
Records can be deceiving, though. The Greyhounds have allowed just four total goals in three of their four losses. Naugatuck has outscored opponents by a wide 28-8 margin and senior goalkeeper Cailah Baranowski has recorded five shutouts, giving her 23 shutouts in her career.
“We are probably just a few bounces away from being an 8-1 or 7-2 team,” Naugatuck head coach Sean Dunn said. “The Watertown game is the only game that got away from us. We made a mistake in the first overtime period and they gained the momentum. But these things happen and you can’t fault our goalie; she has been tremendous for us this season.”
Senior captains Katarina Gullotta and Koslosky have an awful lot of help when it comes to leadership as the Greyhounds boast a team that has 13 seniors. Coming into the Watertown game, Naugatuck reeled off back-to-back shutouts against two tough league opponents.
Koslosky scored a pair of goals in a 2-0 win over Wolcott and the Greyhounds began last week with a 3-0 win over Seymour. Senior forward Alexya Alves scored her second hat trick of the season, scoring all three goals for the ‘Hounds with Koslosky, Sara Marques and Angelina Piccirillo lending the assists.
“We have 13 seniors on the team,” Gullotta said. “The leadership role is shared by all the seniors; it’s not just Kelly and me. We dominate possession and that is what makes us a successful team. But there have been games that we have had trouble finishing, and that is what we need to concentrate on.”
The key to the Greyhounds is a defense that converges on the ball and starts possessions out of the backfield. Outside defenders Jess Butler, a senior, and Stephanie Flores, a junior, use their speed to control balls and steer them up field.
In the middle are center defenders Emma Colucci, a senior, and Taylor Campos, a junior. Their physical play has kept opponents from mounting any kind of momentum. In the 1-0 loss to Torrington, the Red Raiders managed to get off just one shot on goal the entire game.
At midfield is where the Greyhounds turn possessions into opportunities. Gullotta plays a defensive mid position with Koslosky taking on the role as the attacking midfielder. Senior Jessica Case fills the center midfield position with Piccirillo at left mid. Seniors Christina Jando, Nina Marinaro, Christina Batista, Michaela Pruchnicki and Jill Monck give Dunn several options to fill the right mid spot.
“We possess the ball out of the backfield,” Koslosky said. “We continue possessions at midfield and that is where we gain our opportunities. Emma is a great center back and Taylor is a real strong defender. We just need to find a way to finish our possessions. We have to focus on playing together and just let it happen and not think too much — let it come naturally.”
The Greyhounds went on the offensive Wednesday with a 7-0 victory over Sacred Heart to improve to 6-4 on the season. The Greyhounds will look to get a little payback at Torrington on Friday. Naugy will be on the road again Tuesday at St. Paul.