NAUGATUCK — Unless a team is proclaimed state champion, chances are the season will come to a bitter end with a loss. That was the fate of both the Naugatuck boys and girls soccer teams in the Class LL state tournament last week.
The No. 15 Naugy girls fell to No. 18 Manchester, 2-1, in the first round of the Class LL tournament last Friday at the Farmington Sports Arena.
Kelly Koslosky scored the lone goal for the Greyhounds (10-7-1) and Cailah Baranowski turned back nine shots in defense of the net. But it wasn’t enough to get by Manchester.
Ashley Feshler scored the first goal for Manchester, and with 20 minutes to play Anna Manser knocked home the game-winner. Abbey Costa stopped eight shots in the net.
The Naugatuck girls will be returning a strong team next season, losing only three seniors: Stephanie Lima, Carla Gomes and Megan Purcaro.
On the other side, the No. 13 Naugatuck boys squeaked out a 1-0 win over No. 20 Manchester in the first round of the Class LL tournament last Friday in Farmington. Fez Pereira made 12 saves to lead the shutout and Adam Branco netted the only goal of the game.
“The tournament is a whole different game,” Naugy boys coach Art Nunes said. “Teams are playing not to lose; that’s why there are so many low-scoring games. They go into a defensive mode, putting eight to 10 guys behind the ball. It’s the nature of the beast.”
The Greyhounds’ struggles on offense continued into last Saturday’s second round, where they were upended 4-0 by No. 29 Newington in Farmington. Matt Bode and Rabbi Ahmed combined to make four saves for the ‘Hounds (13-5-2).
Pat Teevan, Mitchell Ambruso and Steve Falkner scored goals for the Indians and Naugatuck helped Newington’s cause by knocking a loose ball into its own net to account for the final margin. Chris Kapuscinski made five saves for Newington.
“The final score was not indicative of how the game was played,” Nunes said. “It was a scoreless game with two minutes to go in the first half. We made a mistake and they capitalized on it to get on the board. I changed our formation trying to get that goal back and it cost us.
“They scored the second goal and then they boxed us in. You try and attack the loose balls and counter attack but with so many guys in the box your opportunities are limited.”
The boys will be a league contender next season but will be without seniors Jason Goja, Jordan Bronko, Ryan Massicotte and Isaque Monteiro along with Matt Bode, Patrick Alves, Martin Chromik, Justin Jimenez, Mike Martins and Julian Milek.
“I just feel bad for the seniors like Jason Goja, who gave up his offense this year to lead our defense,” Nunes said. “But we will be back.”