Passion, resiliency drive Greyhounds

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

Naugatuck’s Noelle Jacobi (7) controls the ball in front of Woodland’s Dani Celotto (10) during a game Oct. 7 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. -STEVEN VALENTI/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — A late goal sent the Naugy girls into to the loss column for the first time this season, but it did little to damper the Greyhounds’ quick start.

Naugatuck and Woodland both went into their game Oct. 7 with 3-0 records. With the game tied 3-3, Ava DeLucia scored with 30 seconds left to give Woodland the 4-3 win.

“That was a tough one to take since I thought we outplayed them for a better part of the game,” Naugatuck head coach Lisa Mariano said. “I think the girls came in ready to play, and unfortunately that one slipped away from us.”

Aaliyah Henry scored two goals and Emma Sonski added a goal for Naugatuck.

Mariano definitely would have preferred to start 4-0, but with the uncertainty surrounding this season she’s pleased about where the team stands.

“I think each day being able to be out there playing is a gift and the girls know that,” Mariano said. “Anything can happen with this pandemic and we could be shut down at any minute. Look what is happening to the Waterbury teams.

“So we are happy to be where we are. Of course 4-0 would be better, but to be where we are at this point, after the start-again-stop-again scenario that teams have gone through, we are encouraged to be off to a fast start.”

Following a 3-2 win against Seymour to open the season, the Greyhounds posted back-to-back shutout wins over Derby, 5-0, Oct. 3 and Ansonia, 6-0, on Oct. 5.

Angelina Oliveira led Naugy with two goals in the win over Derby. Lilly Lyons and Layla Nemeth added goals, and Henry had a goal and two assists.

Sonski and Oliveira had a goal and two assists each in the victory over Ansonia. Henry added a goal and an assist. Noelle Jacobi, Ava DeFilippo and Aubrey Deller each scored a goal.

“The strength of this team is our passion and certainly the girls’ resiliency through all the challenges they faced just to get back on the field this season,” Mariano said. “Spreading the wealth on offense is the best thing to do, and for the most part we have been doing that. It makes it tougher to defend for our opponents.”

“I thought we dominated that game against Woodland,” she added, “but we didn’t finish some chances the way we could have, and that’s all it takes.”

Naugatuck is scheduled to play Oxford Oct. 12 and Derby Oct. 14.