WATERBURY — The Naugatuck girls’ soccer team is the 2009 Naugatuck Valley League champion, after it defeated Torrington by a 5-1 margin Thursday night at Municipal Stadium.
Tournament MVP senior midfielder Danielle Charette had two assists to get the Hounds on track. Junior Stephanie Santos scored a hat trick as her three goals powered the Greyhounds back from a 1-0 deficit.
It was the first time this season that Naugatuck trailed, and the deficit only lasted for a 16-minute span. Lizi Marola put the Raiders on the board with 24:36 left in the first half, as a persistent rain fell on the Municipal Stadium turf.
Sarah Royals spotted Marola out in front, and when the Naugatuck defense couldn’t clear the advance, the Torrington senior captain stuck it between the pipes.
With 8:33 to go in the half, Charette snuck between two defenders and had a clear opening to the far post. The Torrington defense quickly converged as Charette was taken down in the box with a hard shot to the ribs that resulted in a penalty kick.
Santos took the penalty shot inside the 10-yard line, and Naugatuck was back in it, tying the game at 1-1.
Naugatuck, 15-0 during the regular season, with 11 shutouts, hadn’t won the NVL title since 2003. Back-to-back losses in the last two title games fueled the fire for the 15 seniors that returned to this season’s 30-member squad.
The Greyhounds outscored the opposition by a staggering, 57-5 count during the season and have done it again in the league playoffs, going 3-0 with a 19-1 goal ratio.
“These seniors came into season looking to make it happen,” Naugatuck head coach Jose Sendra said. “They have been so close in the past and they were very focused coming into the season. These girls are from youth soccer teams, and they are virtually an all-star team.”
Once Torrington got on the board, the defense, led by Andrea Markure, Kelly Markure and Tori Pisco, made it tough for the Raiders to mount a threat.
Santos put Naugatuck on top with 4:43 to go in the half on an assist from Charette. A pinpoint passing game and the midfield play of Shannon Bahme, Kaythryn Bottinick and Katelyn Deptula kept the ball in the Torrington end for much of the game.
Naugy shifted gears and turned it on in the second half with Sara Tarsi and Sarah Magnamo pressuring the ball into the Raiders end of the field. With 24:56 to play, Cristina Sendra scored the first of her two goals off an assist by Charette to up the score to 3-1.
Isabelle Moody and Isabella Verrilli teamed up at midfield to keep the ball on the attack, as Naugatuck scored again with 17:55 to play. Magnamo assisted Santos in front of the box, after a pileup in the box, for a 4-1 advantage.
With 9:25 to go, Melissa Labonte stole the ball at midfield and directed a lead pass to Nicole Sambrook, breaking into the box. After a takedown, Sendra, trailing the play, fired a shot to the far post for the 5-1 final margin.