By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
Playing under restrictions put in place because of the COVID pandemic has presented each team its own set of challenges, not to mention the tests they face on the field.
After starting the season with a loss and a tie in the first three games, Naugatuck boys soccer coach Ryan Kinne had to find a way to ignite a fire in his players, who don’t have a state or NVL title to shoot for this year.
The Greyhounds responded with three straight wins — including a 5-0 win over Torrington Oct. 20 — before a rematch with Holy Cross, which beat the Greyhounds, 2-0, earlier this month.
“We are starting to find our rhythm,” Kinne said. “We have a solid group of guys, so we are trying to match the pieces out there to give us the best opportunity to score.”
Holy Cross prevailed, 3-0, in the Oct. 22 rematch to end Naugy’s streak and drop the Greyhounds to 4-2-1 on the season. John Almeida made eight saves for the Greyhounds, who had 11 shots on goal.
Finding the back of the net wasn’t an issue against Torrington.
Mateus Filho scored two goals, and Pedro Crivella, Ryan Galiette and Chad Mahler each added a goal. Tim Rosa, Chris Akinduro and Dan Davy added assists. Almeida and Dan Anderson combined for two saves in the net.
Woodland head coach Kenan Collins has faced the challenge of trying to replace key players who were knocked out of action due to the coronavirus.
“I think the team is making the best of an odd situation. Just this week I lost a few players for quarantine purposes,” Collins said last week. “The administration at Woodland is very adamant about their COVID protocol and the kids’ safety comes first.
“But it’s hard to try and replace some of those players for reasons we never had to replace them before. But that is what we are facing with COVID and I think the team is responding to that challenge really well.”
The team responded with a 3-2 win over Seymour on Oct. 20 and a 3-1 win against O’Brien Tech Oct. 22 to improve to 7-0-1.
Jon Schwarz, Preston Alessio and Alex Farr scored goals against Seymour, with Aldin Jahja lending an assist. Jack Cull turned away six shots on goal.
Woodland is set to play Ansonia on Oct. 27 and O’Brien Tech on Oct. 29.
Naugy is scheduled to play Torrington on Oct. 26 and Watertown on Oct. 27, before another chance at Holy Cross on Oct. 29.
Correction: Seymour’s Jacek Inglant (9) was misidentified in the caption of two photos.