Never-give-up attitude fuels Greyhounds


NAUGATUCK — Even when the Naugatuck girls soccer team appears to take a step backward, head coach Lisa Mariano still sees a silver lining. That tends to be the perspective when you begin the 10th game of the season with four sophomores and three freshmen in the starting lineup.

“We are a young team and we still make mistakes due to our inexperience,” Mariano said. “But I like the attitude of this team having a never-give-up mentality.”

That mentality was evident in a 7-3 loss to Holy Cross on Oct. 9.

With 10 minutes to play in the game, and the Crusaders well on their way to victory, Naugatuck sophomore Angelina Oliveira fought past three defenders in the box, managed to maintain possession and drilled a shot to the back of the net for her second goal of the game.

“Angelina is a good player,” Mariano said. “She has great vision in the field and she will fight until the end to win that ball.”

Lily Lyons scored versus Holy Cross on an assist from Emma Sonski to complete the scoring for the Greyhounds.

Armed with junior goal keeper Sydney O’Donnell and a newly constructed defensive backfield led by senior co-captain Sofia Marques, senior Catarina Rego and freshman Julianna Magalhaes, Naugatuck put the NVL on notice by ripping off four straight wins to start the season.

Sophomore Emma Sonski and Lyons spearhead an offensive attack that was backed up by sophomore Aalyiah Henry before she went out with a season-ending injury.

Senior co-captain Mia Rotatori leads the midfield presence with junior Paige Cruz, Oliveira and fellow sophomore Noelle Jacobi, and freshman Allison Murphy.

A tie to Woodland and a win over Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech were followed by the Greyhounds’ first two losses of the year to Brookfield and Watertown. The Greyhounds got back on track with wins over Oxford and Derby the first week of October before the game against Holy Cross.

“At the beginning of the season we were jelling very nicely, but now we are lapsing into our old style of play,” Mariano said. “We do have some players, but we are young and that is going to happen from time to time. We are a work in progress at this point.”

Things worked out well Friday in a 6-0 win over Derby. Six Greyhounds (8-3-1) scored: Sonski, Lyons, Oliveira, Cruz, Kylie O’Donnell and Elizabeth Krooss.

Heading into the homestretch of the season, Mariano said the team needs to become a little more disciplined.

“I’m 100 percent confident that we have the talent to come back,” she said. “Defensively our confidence is shaken a bit. We need to work on that and find our confidence a little sooner. The talent on this team is obviously there, it’s just a matter of building on that confidence.”

Naugatuck will play Ansonia on Tuesday, and a rematch with Holy Cross at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury is set for Saturday. The Greyhounds finish the regular season next week against Torrington and Wolcott before the NVL tournament is set to begin on Oct. 27.

“Having a rematch with Holy Cross is high on our priority list. Being able to play them again before the NVL tournament will get us in the proper mind set to compete at the level we will need to in order to be successful,” Mariano said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the version that is published in the Oct. 18 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time.