Naugy’s defense helps spark fast start


NAUGATUCK — One of the first pieces to the puzzle this season for Naugatuck girls soccer coach Lisa Mariano was to assemble a defensive unit.

The Greyhounds stand at 3-1-1 two weeks into the season, thanks in part to a defense that’s allowed just three goals so far.

The Greyhounds defensive unit of sophomores Julianna Magalhaes, Allison Murphy and Alannah Hernandez have risen to the occasion and were in full force Wednesday in a 4-0 win over Seymour.

Playing the Wildcats for the second time in eight days, the Greyhounds got the offense going with Emma Sonski and Aalyiah Henry scoring two goals each.

“I think at this point we are in good shape,” Mariano said. “We are moving the ball up and down the field and finding our chances on goal.”

Following an opening-season, 1-0 loss to defending Naugatuck Valley League champion Watertown, the Greyhounds knocked off Seymour, 6-1, in the teams’ first meeting. Naugatuck beat St. Paul, 1-0, last Friday and tied Brookfield, 1-1, Saturday.

The Greyhounds are dealing with some injuries, including to starting goalie Sydney O’Donnell. Aalyiah Henry and Angelina Oliveira have missed some time, too.

Saige Winslow stepped in for O’Donnell in goal in the first match with Seymour; combined they made eight saves.

In her first varsity start, Winslow turned back six shots on goal to shut out St. Paul. Freshman Thalia Jardim scored the only goal of the game.

“I’m pleased to see some of the younger players step up and give us some good quality minutes,” Mariano said.

“Thalia is a scrappy player,” Mariano added. “Her goal got us the win and you can’t ask anything more than that. We don’t need to get the pretty shot, we just need to get it in the back of the net, and she is that kind of player.”

Lauren Sonski scored the Greyhounds’ only goal and Winslow again showed her prowess in goal against Brookfield.

“Lauren has been giving us a lot of quality minutes on the outside,” Mariano said. “Aubrey (Deller) played the whole game against Brookfield at center mid. Our freshmen have really shown they can get it done for us.”

As the season progresses, Mariano said the team needs to work on closing out games.

“I think if anything our biggest downfall at this point is we are allowing teams valid chances in the final minutes of a game,” she said. “That’s what happened in the Brookfield game; they scored with a minute left and instead of a win we come out of it with a tie.”

Naugatuck will play Woodland Friday and Derby Tuesday.