Hawks, ‘Hounds stepping up their game

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

The Woodland and Naugatuck girls soccer teams have stepped up their game heading down the stretch of the season.

The only thing that separates these two neighboring rivals record-wise is a 4-3 Woodland win over the Greyhounds on Oct. 7.

The Hawks (8-0) have scored 39 goals and surrendered just six.

Woodland spread the offense around in an 8-0 win Oct. 19 against Derby. Isa Mejias, April Bell, Holly Plasky, Emily Ruhl, Kaitlyn Leonard, Delia Kotsaftis, Arias Bell and Paige Letourneau all scored for the Hawks. Casey Mulligan made one save in goal.

The Hawks were tested by Seymour on Oct. 21 but pulled out the 3-2 win on the strength of two goals by Letourneau. Daniella Celotto tallied a goal for Woodland. Mejias turned away two shots in goal.

“Sometimes we struggle to score a little bit,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “Maybe we used up all of our luck against Naugatuck (on Oct. 7). The defense has been playing real well together and it’s kept us in games.”

“We went through a rough stretch but we challenged them and held them to a higher standard and they have responded to that challenge,” Witham added. “But if we plan on staying competitive with Naugatuck, we had better find a way to score more goals and be more consistent offensively.”

The Greyhounds (7-1) have also been spreading the ball around on offense. Naugy has scored 42 goals and allowed only seven.

Emma Sonski scored three goals Oct. 19 in a 6-1 win over Seymour. Julianna Magalhaes, who has come on as of late, scored two goals and had an assist. Aubrey Deller added a goal, and Lauren Sonski chipped in with two assists. Saige Winslow made seven saves in the net.

Magalhaes took over the leading role with three goals Oct. 22 in a 7-0 win against Ansonia. Aaliyah Henry scored two goals, and Emma Sonski and Rana Aljamal each added goals.

“J.J. (Magalhaes) has been the 12th man off the bench for us and has really provided the spark we have needed,” Naugy head coach Lisa Mariano said. “It’s important to have that ability to spread the offense around to make it harder to defend us and the girls are doing a good job doing that.”

Naugatuck and Woodland are set to play two more times — Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 — over the final four games of the season. There’s also the chance they could meet again in a possible postseason for bragging rights in the NVL South.

Naugy also has two games scheduled against Oxford, while Woodland has a pair of matches against Ansonia on the schedule. The season is set to end Nov. 4.

“We are just looking to keep that momentum going,” Mariano said. “We are playing with a lot of positive energy and we want to finish the season strong.”