Low numbers don’t hinder Greyhounds’ growth, fight

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls soccer team heads down the homestretch of the regular season with a 5-5 mark and an eye on finishing strong and making a push for the postseason.

The Greyhounds showed they got game by winning three of four matches before an Oct. 12 game at Watertown, where the visiting Greyhounds dropped a 3-2 decision. Lauren Sonski and Thalia Jardim scored for the Greyhounds.

With a roster numbering in the teens, Naugy head coach Lisa Mariano is looking for more than wins at the moment.

“Our numbers are obviously low,” Mariano said. “We fought hard against a very good Watertown team. Yes we lost, but we had multiple individuals that had personal growth in the game.”

“That’s more important than any win you can give me,” she added. “Don’t get me wrong, I like to win, but personal growth is better right now. Some of the younger girls are stepping up and that is making us competitive.”

Layla Nemeth, Ella Celozzi, Aubrey Deller, Bethany Carroll and Isabella Gilchrist are among the players who are stepping into roles for the Greyhounds down the stretch.

“We are prepared to battle. Our chemistry is great right now,” Mariano said. “We have some big games against some very good teams, but we will go out there and be competitive. We will come out hard and look to finish.”

“That is where are struggle is right now — finishing,” she added. “We are putting plays together and we are giving the effort, but we are just not finding the back of the net. But it’s coming. We just need to continue to work hard.”

Julianna Magalhaes, Sonski and Rana Aljamal have keyed the offense for Naugy. Saige Winslow in goal has been getting help from the back line of Ava DeFillipo, Sophia DeFillipo, Alannah Hernandez and Jardim on defense.

“Our back line has been solid,” Mariano said. “We have been rotating a couple of players back there. Everyone’s time comes at one point or another, and these younger girls are doing a great job for us.”

The Greyhounds’ final six games of the regular season include matches against Naugatuck Valley League frontrunners Woodland and Holy Cross. Naugatuck is scheduled to play Torrington on Oct. 15, Woodland on Oct. 16, Ansonia on Oct. 18 and Holy Cross on Oct. 19, before a rematch with Woodland on Oct. 22. Naugy is set to end the regular season Oct. 27.

“We have our work cut out for us, but I like the way we have been playing,” Mariano said.

The NVL tournament will begin Oct. 30.