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Naugatuck’s Candido Carrelo (6) duels with Ansonia’s Dave Perez (22) for possession of the ball Monday in Naugatuck. The Greyhounds won, 1-0, and head into the NVL tournament seeking their third straight title. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck’s Candido Carrelo (6) duels with Ansonia’s Dave Perez (22) for possession of the ball Monday in Naugatuck. The Greyhounds won, 1-0, and head into the NVL tournament seeking their third straight title. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

The nights are getting noticeably chilly; a sure sign that tournament time is descending on the Naugatuck Valley League.

Forget the mittens, bring a helmet as the race for the boys NVL soccer championship will be a knock-them-down drag-them-out type of affair that the league hasn’t seen in years.

Teams jockeyed for position this week as the regular season came to an end.

“It should be quite interesting how it all plays out,” said Naugatuck head coach Art Nunes heading into the final week. “A different win in a different spot can make all the difference going into the tournament as to how teams are seeded.”

The top eight teams in the league will begin tournament play with quarterfinals on Saturday. The semifinals and final are scheduled for Nov. 3 and Nov. 5, respectively, at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.

No. 2 Naugatuck (11-1-2 NVL) will play No. 7 Seymour (8-5-1 NVL) Saturday at 1 p.m. in Naugatuck.

Naugatuck ended the season with a 1-0 win over Ansonia on Monday and a 6-0 victory over Sacred Heart Tuesday.

Woodland has been a pleasant surprise this season. After a slow 2-3 start to the season, the Hawks finished the regular season 9-4-1 in the NVL. The Hawks ended the regular season with a 2-1 win over Derby on Monday and a 1-0 loss to Seymour on Tuesday.

Woodland’s Xavier Gibson (2) and the Hawks will look to show they are not a team to be taken lightly when the NVL tournament begins this weekend. –FILE PHOTO
Woodland’s Xavier Gibson (2) and the Hawks will look to show they are not a team to be taken lightly when the NVL tournament begins this weekend. –FILE PHOTO

Woodland is the fifth seed in the tournament and will play No. 4 Ansonia (9-3-2 NVL) Saturday at 12 p.m. in Watertown.

The Hawks are certainly not a team to be taken lightly.

“We got out to a slow start and this was supposed to be a rebuilding year,” Woodland head coach Tony Moutinho said. “But the boys really stepped it up especially our younger players. Our team is built around a solid defense and it will be a battle with team number eight through number one and anyone can win this title.”

The Greyhounds suffered their first loss to Crosby since 1991 on Oct. 14, but have been unstoppable since.

Naugy, which is looking to make three straight NVL tournament titles, ended the season by winning five games in a row; all by shutouts. In Naugatuck’s wins and draws this season, goalie Rabbi Ahmed allowed just four goals.

Woodland enters the tournament having suffered just loss in the last four games, and boast a solid goalie of its own in A.J. Oliveira.

“Over the years it’s always been one or two teams being the favorite and the rest of the teams were battling just trying to reach the semifinals,” Moutinho said. “This year anyone can win the tournament. We are very confident and are capable of playing with anyone. But it will come down to a defensive battle with very little scoring.”

The other two games of the tournament will feature No. 1 Watertown (11-0-3 NVL) versus No. 8 Oxford (8-5-1 NVL), and No. 3 Crosby (11-3 NVL) versus No. 6 St. Paul (8-5-1).