Naugy boys, Woodland girls reach NVL finals
The Naugatuck boys and the Woodland girls reached the NVL soccer championship games after a wild weekend of soccer.
No. 1 Naugatuck will face No. 2 Torrington in a rematch of last year’s final at 7:30 tonight. No. 3 Woodland matches up with four-time defending champion No. 4 Watertown, which upended undefeated Holy Cross to reach the final, at 5:30 p.m. Both games are at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.
Naugatuck shifted gears into postseason mode as they made quick work of No. 8 seed Crosby by a 4-0 margin in the quarterfinals Oct. 25 in Naugatuck. Ygor Silva got it started with a first half goal assisted by Danny Silva to put the ‘Hounds out in front. Josh Aviles, C.J. Carrelo and Mauricio DaSilva tacked on second half goals for the ‘Hounds (15-0-2) with Enzo Pereira making three saves in between the pipes.
The ‘Hounds were tested by Watertown in the semifinals Monday night at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Dan Silva scored the only goal of the night as Naugatuck hung on for the 1-0 win. Pereira made six saves in net to put Naugatuck in the NVL championship game for the 15th time in the last 18 seasons.
“I said at the start of the tournament it would come down to defense,” Naugatuck head coach Art Nunes said. “You can’t look at teams’ records at this point in the season. Watertown played a real hard-fought game and so did we. It came down to capitalizing on a chance we had and our defense minimized the chances that Watertown had.”
Naugatuck and Torrington have played twice this season. The Greyhounds won the first meeting 2-0. They tied 1-1 in the rematch.
Nunes said the ‘Hounds will have to control their emotions in the championship match.
“We need to come out and control the ball and not get caught up in the emotions of the game,” he said. “We had two battles with Torrington already this season and I would expect to see the same kind of game in the championship.”
The Woodland girls made it to the finals in convincing fashion.
The Hawks started with a 7-0 win over Ansonia in the quarterfinals. The quick-strike Hawks offense was led by Jess Rodrigues with three goals and Sam Plasky, who rippled the net with a pair of goals. Megen Sirowich and Alexa Casimiro added goals with Haley Andrews lending a pair of assists. Jenna Pannone earned the shutout in the net with two saves.
The Hawks (15-3) moved on to face Oxford (14-4) in the semifinals. Woodland lost the regular season meeting by a slim 2-1 margin. Woodland brought its sturdy defense and opportunistic offense to come away with a 3-0 win on Monday to reach the championship game.
Pannone recorded her ninth shutout of the season and Plasky, Casimiro and Savannah Aviz put the ball in the back of the net for the Hawks.
“Each and every player knew what they had to do and dictated the pace of the game,” said Woodland head coach Cait Witham about the Oxford game. “We didn’t allow Oxford to get into a rhythm like the first time we played them. Jenna of course had another great game in goal. She’s tough and never backs down. Multiple times this season she has come up huge for us. Without her in goal the results would have been different.”
Woodland lost to Watertown 1-0 earlier in the season, but turned the tables in a 4-0 win two weeks ago.
The Naugatuck girls (9-7) came into the NVL tournament with a full head of steam having won the last three games of the regular season by a combined 12-6 margin. The girls ran into Watertown in the quarterfinals and fell 2-0 in spite of Sophie Boucher making 15 saves in the net.