Naugy, Woodland girls getting into flow of the season

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

Naugatuck’s Sophia DeFilippo (22) and Watertown’s Kristina Kyle (24) race to the ball during a game Sept. 16 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

The Woodland girls soccer team has racked up 14 wins and two ties since losing to Weston in the second round of the Class M state tournament back in 2019. That unbeaten stretch includes a 3-0-1 start this season.

“We are certainly heading in the right direction,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “Obviously, there are areas where we can improve but if we can get better every game we are out there we will be in a good place.”

The Hawks battled Pomperaug to a 1-1 draw Sept. 9 to start the season. Paige Letourneau scored a goal on an assist from Delia Kotsaftis. Isabela Mejias (five saves) and Casey Mulligan (three saves) held the Panthers at bay in net.

Woodland got into an offensive flow with three straight wins following the draw.

Letourneau led the way in a 4-0 win against Watertown on Sept. 11. She had two goals and two assists. Kotsaftis had a goal and two assists. Daniella Celotto added a goal and Jenna Mierek had an assist. Mejias (two saves) and Mulligan (four saves) combined on the shutout.

The Hawks ran away from Wolcott in a 6-1 win on Sept. 14. Letourneau again knocked in two goals and came away with two assists. April Bell, Mulligan, Michaela Gasparri and Abby Bunk scored for the Hawks.

Woodland made it three straight with a 6-0 win over Ansonia on Sept. 17. Letourneau scored twice, and Kotsaftis, Mierek Sara Alessio and Kyla O’Connor each had a goal.

The Hawks have a week break before a tough match with Holy Cross on Sept. 24.

“It will give us time to prepare for a very physical game,” Witham said about the week off. “But then we get Watertown and Naugatuck shortly after that, so we just need to be prepared for every game no matter who we play.”

Naugy started the season 1-2. The Greyhounds fell, 5-1, to Newtown in the season opener Sept. 11.

“Newtown is a solid program and that’s why we look forward to playing them, especially to start the season,” Naugy head coach Lisa Mariano said.

Naugy trailed Newtown 2-1 at the half on a goal from Lauren Sonksi and an assist by Sophia DeFilippo. Defensively, Saige Winslow recorded eight saves in net in the game.

Naugatuck’s Layla Nemeth (23) comes in to intercept the ball from Watertown’s Emma Geise (15) during a game Sept. 16 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

“The final score is not indicative as to how we played overall,” Mariano said. “We were very much in that game trailing by one at the half. I thought we had better possessions in the second half, but Newtown capitalized on a couple mistakes and that’s what good teams do.”

The Greyhounds found their offensive gear in a 7-2 win over Oxford on Sept. 14. Julianna Magalhaes scored four goals and lent an assist to lead the way. Sonski scored a goal and dished out three assists. Ella Celozzi and Aubrey Deller added goals and Layla Nemeth added two assists.

“Our first game was supposed to be against St. Paul but got rescheduled because of weather,” Mariano said. “I think we came out more relaxed and just got into the flow of our game against Oxford.”

The Greyhounds fell to Watertown, 3-1, on Sept. 16. Deller scored for Naugy and Winslow recorded 11 saves in goal.

Naugatuck is set to face St. Paul on Sept. 20 and Holy Cross on Sept. 21, before hosting Wolcott on Sept. 24.

“It’s certainly going to be a bit of a challenge going forward. … We only have 16 players so we have our work cut out for us, but I think we can have a successful season,” Mariano said.