Naugatuck girls off to perfect start

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Naugatuck sophomore Angelina Piccirillo drives the ball down the pitch Monday afternoon during the Greyhounds’ 1-0 victory over Ansonia. The win lifted Naugy’s record to a perfect 3-0 on the season. LARAINE WESCHLER

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls soccer team completed the first week of its season with a perfect 3-0 record, capped by a 1-0 victory over Ansonia in front of a large home crowd Monday night.

“It certainly is a nice way to begin the season,” Naugatuck head coach Sean Dunn said about his team, which has outscored the opposition, 13-0, this season. “Each game is getting tougher for us and that’s a good thing, it gives the girls something to think about.”

Alexya Alves scored six of the Greyhounds’ 12 goals in their first two games and she accounted for the game’s only goal Monday.

At the 25:01 mark of the first half, Alves took a shot that rebounded to Christina Jando in the box. A return pass saw Alves wind up and send one to the far post as it rippled the net for the 1-0 lead.

From there, the Naugatuck defense, which has been so good thus far, took over. Cailah Baranowski and Kaitlin Carter shared the duties in the net, each playing a perfect half. Isabella Verrilli, Taylor Campos, Kelly Koslosky, and Lauren Piroscafo ran the interference out in front of the net limiting Ansonia to just four shots in the game.

Naugatuck senior Katie Bottinick races in front of two Ansonia defenders Monday in Naugatuck. Bottinick’s experience was key for the young Greyhounds during their 1-0 win. LARAINE WESCHLER

“It’s good to see some of the younger girls contributing to our offensive spark and our defense has just been rock solid,” Dunn said.

Naugatuck unloaded 17 shots and had the upper hand in possessions due to the experience at midfield led by Katie Bottinick and Isabelle Moody.

“Bottinick is certainly the anchor out there for us,” Dunn said. “She is a hard-nosed player and her knowledge of the game helps the other girls play to their potential.”

“We lost quite a few seniors from last year,” Bottinick said. “But some of these younger girls are stepping up and filling in the roles that we lost. We know the competition is getting better with each game and we are ready to take it up a notch.”

Naugatuck held a distinctive, 11-2 edge in shots on goal in the first half and that continued in the second half. Ansonia keeper Ashley Bowns did a great job in the net to keep the Chargers in the game, making several head-shaking saves.

Naugatuck senior Isabella Verrilli, left, battles with an Ansonia defender Monday afternoon in Naugatuck. Verrilli was part of a stifling Greyhound defense that shutout the Chargers. LARAINE WESCHLER

The best opportunity for the ‘Hounds to score in the second half came when Jessica Butler used her sheer speed to outrace several defenders in the corner and then one-timed a pass to Alves, who was breaking through the box. The shot, with less than five minutes to play, missed the mark as it sailed over the crossbar.

For the perfect Greyhounds, the bar will be raised this week as they face Wolcott today before traveling to Torrington on Saturday and hosting Watertown—the defending Naugatuck Valley League champion—on Tuesday night.

“We have Wolcott, Torrington and Watertown and they are all the teams to beat in the NVL,” Bottinick said. “We will be ready for them.”