Naugy Girls Get Their Revenge against the Raiders, 2-0. By John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
TORRINGTON-Torrington High School girls’ soccer coach Mario Longobucco figured Naugatuck would arrive at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex loaded for Raiders Friday afternoon.
“We beat them 1-0 at their place and I knew they were going to try and come up here and get revenge,” said the coach after the Greyhounds did exactly that on a mild, overcast day, beating the home club by a 2-0 count.
“We played a 5-4-1 alignment, keeping our people back in a defensive posture and hoping to keep them off the board and see what happened,” said Longobucco, whose club fell to 7-4-1, while Naugy improved to 7-3-0 in the Naugatuck Valley League. “But they had just too much firepower for us today and losing junior defender Kendra Covington to an injury in the second half and being without our starting goalie, Taylor Howe (junior), for the game didn’t help.”
Longobucco’s defensive strategy has worked well for the most of the season. The Raiders had allowed only seven goals coming into Friday’s game and recorded three shutouts in a row (Naugy, Derby and Wolcott) two weeks ago.
THS was able to keep the slick passing Greyhounds off the scoreboard for the first half and part of the second with backup goalie, Kasey Roscello, turning in a fine performance in relief of Howe. She made 13 saves, several in quite stunning fashion, but the visitors were able to finally find the net with 12 minutes gone in the second half.
Roscello made a splendid stop of a hard shot by Kelly Koslosky from the right side of the Torrington goal only to have the ball bounce off her. Koslosky continued charging forward and ripped another shot that just got over Roscello bounced off the top of the crossbar and barely made it over the goal line.
Roscello could hardly be faulted when Naugy freshman, Kyla Magalhaes boomed a shot from about 20 yards out that floated over the Raider keeper’s head and into the top left hand portion of the goal with 19:53 on the clock.
Torrington had a couple of chances to score in the second half. One came when freshman Alexis Tyrell one-timed a crossing pass just wide of the Naugy goal with 24:50 remaining in the game. Paige Middleton made some nice individual runs through the stout Greyhound defense, and senior Taylor Pestritto found herself alone about 20 yards out from the Greyhound goal with about eight minutes, only to have her shot easily picked off by Naugy goaltender Cailah Baranowski.
“We were playing a 5-4-1 alignment,” said Middleton, a plucky junior forward who was physically jarred by Naugy defenders throughout the game whenever she touched the ball, perhaps in retaliation for her scoring the only goal of the contest when the teams first met this season. “The mids had to help out on defense by dropping back and we weren’t able to recover quickly enough when we had the ball and tried to get an attack going. We had some chances but we didn’t capitalize.”
Still, Middleton said her team is upbeat about its prospects this season.
“We got them (Naugy) down at their place and we know we have a good team. We’ll just have to refocus and get ready for New Milford (a non-league game scheduled for next Tuesday at home).
Said Longobucco, “We’re certainly right in the thick of the Copper Division race. There are only four teams, Naugy, us, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart, and we have a shot at catching Naugatuck and beating out the other teams, although it seems like we’re always chasing someone and always winding up a bridesmaid. I’m hoping we can win out in the league and maybe get a chance to play Naugatuck again for the division.”
Sacred Heart is 6-3-1 and Holy Cross 6-3 in the wild Copper Division race.
Naugy outshot THS, 20-10, and Baranowski was credited with five saves, although she was never severely tested.
After playing New Milford next week, the Raiders visit Holy Cross Wednesday, host Sacred Heart next Friday, and then entertain the Crusaders Oct. 21 in what could well be a crucial contest in terms of how the Copper Division settles.