Naugatuck Nitro U14 boys win Connecticut State Cup championship

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BY KEN MORSE
CITIZEN’S NEWS
The Naugy Nitros U14 boys used a stellar defense to win the Connecticut State Cup Championship with a perfect 3-0 record in the tournament. The Nitros sent 15 goals to the back of the net while allowing six tallies to secure the title.
“These are the players that will go on and form the high school team at Naugatuck,” said Nitros coach Jaime Pereira. “We went 5-0 during the season and a perfect 3-0 in the tournament and I’m so proud of these boys for what they accomplished.”
Pereira, along with assistant coaches A.J. Oliveira, Carlos Coelho and Diogo Taveira, worked with the defense to make it the team’s strong point. Led by goalkeeper Rocco Grella and team captain Jordan Francis at center back, the Nitros ran roughshod over Stratford, 6-1, in the championship game June 18.
The defense of Tiago Oliveira and Kaleb Vaituzis at center back, Tiago Pereira and Ashwath Rajkumar at defensive mid, Haroun Sami and Aidan Petrie at left defense, and Austin Zarella and Alex Carbone at right defense, shutdown a tough Guilford team, 4-1, in the quarterfinals.
“Defense helps us to control the game,” said coach Pereira. “We have some tough kids. We also have some kids who can play more than one position. Aidan (Petrie) can be used at midfield and as a back, whatever we need based on our opponent.”
When it comes to offense, the Nitros have the firepower to finish what they start. That was a much-needed asset playing West Harford in the semifinal as Naugy escaped with a 5-4 win. Nico Soden scored the game-winning goal.
Mateo Aguilar at midfield directed a lot of possessions into the Nitro end of the field. Tyler Weid, Elliot Farias and Soden at forward steered the offense with the help of Nick DeMelo, Genti Ishmali and Jayse Danuszar on the wings.
“West Hartford is a very good team,” added coach Pereira. “They gave us a lot of trouble. But our boys worked really hard and just wanted it more. These kids are amazing and they have excellent team chemistry.
“I think the boys got a little nervous when the game was so close. But they got it back and started to play with more confidence. When they want something bad enough they just go out and get it. They text me every day to see if there is practice. They are hard workers and that’s what the difference was.”