The NVL boys soccer season got underway last Friday, and the defending champion Naugatuck Greyhounds picked up where they left off last season.
The Greyhounds are off to a 2-0 start and riding the strength of a defense that didn’t give up a goal in the first two games.
Naugy opened with a 3-0 win over Wilby last Friday and followed that up with a 4-0 win over Seymour on Monday. Last year, the Greyhounds allowed only three goals during the regular season, and it appears that the defense will be the key to success again this year.
“The defense played a pretty solid game,” said Naugatuck head coach Ryan Kinne about the opener. “We are still figuring out some of the moving parts in the back, but (goalie) Aren (Seeger) wasn’t really tested.”
Seeger was an All-Iron goalie last season and has All-NVL defender Yan Silva leading the backfield in front of him. All-Iron forward Tommy Martins scored in both games and is leading the offensive assault.
Sam Rego, Matt Carroll and Martins found the back of the net in the season-opening win. Carroll and Martins were credited with assists against Wilby.
On Monday, Martins scored a hat trick and Carroll scored for the second straight game to account for Naugy’s goals. Chris Akinduro, Christian Jacobi and Yan Silva were credited with the assists.
“We have a lot of dynamic guys up front and a lot of creativity that gets our offense going,” Kinne said. “I like what we are doing until we get to the final third.
“We have guys who can take it off the dribble, but one of our issues last year was having guys stepping up and putting it into the back of the net. We need to become more consistent with the opportunities that we do get.”
HAWKS START 1-1
The Woodland boys soccer team is always tough on the defensive side, but the Hawks must convert their opportunities on the offensive side of the ball.
The Hawks started the season with a 1-0 loss to Seymour last Friday. Woodland did an excellent job on defense. Andrew Spofford made six stops in the net, allowing Griffen Tomas to score the only goal of the game in the second half.
Jack LaPerriere and Ryan Swanson are the keys in the back with Senol Music and Christian Poirier forming one of the best tandems up front that Woodland has had in quite a while.
“I thought we outplayed Seymour,” Woodland head coach Tony Moutinho said. “We outshot them 10-9 but we just couldn’t get one to go.
“I thought we moved the ball real well, we just couldn’t find our striker. We have some talented players on offense it’s just going to take some time to jell.”
Converting scoring opportunities into goals will be the key to a successful season for a team that surprised a lot of teams by reaching the NVL semifinals last year, before going on to win their first state tournament game.
The Hawks converted the opportunities presented them on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Kennedy to improve to 1-1 on the season.
Maciej Lewicki, Timothy Mendes and Jason Claiborn scored for Woodland. Spofford had seven saves.
Naugatuck and Woodland will play Friday in Beacon Falls at 3:45 p.m.
Woodland will visit Brookfield on Saturday, Next week, the Hawks will hit the road to play Derby on Tuesday and St. Paul on Thursday.
Naugatuck will host Pomperaug on Saturday. Next week, the Greyhounds will visit Holy Cross on Tuesday and host Derby on Friday.