Naugy, Torrington cap off a wild soccer week.
You’ve got to love the NVL girls soccer schedule-makers. Well, maybe not if you are Torrington girls soccer coach Mario Longobucco or Naugatuck’s Jose Sendra. They were both looking a little battle weary Friday night. But if you are one of us that do the watching the week that was, was, well, pretty darn good.
Look what we got the last six days. Monday it was against Torrington. Wednesday it was Torrington against Watertown. Thursday it was Naugatuck and Woodland and Friday Torrington and Naugatuck tangled at the other end of Route 8.
You want good matchups? Look at the records by the time the last shot had been pounded at a goal and last shove had been registered Friday night.
After knocking off Torrington, Watertown and the talented Jess Spezzano was sitting there with a 7-0-1 mark. Torrington with a 1-1-1 mark in its difficult triumvirate of games was sporting a 7-1-1 mark. Naugatuck, also 1-1-1 for the week, was sitting at 6-1-1.
Meanwhile, Woodland, the team nobody seems to be talking about but should be, was more than just hanging around with a 6-2-1 record after dropping a decision in the last 27 seconds to Naugatuck.
All the best teams banging heads and knees in a glorious week. It kept us on our feet, it kept our attention. It had us applauding. It had us wearing big smiles. It was in short, very good stuff. And you know what we found out or were reminded of? That this is going to be one dandy of a race probably decided on the last day.
Unlike in years past, Naugatuck is not one-up on the rest of the gang. As Sendra said in the darkness and the developing dew at Naugatuck, “The NVL is a little tighter, it is a little more even this year.”
How about a lot tighter and a lot more even. This is going to be fun over the next few weeks. That much we know.
I was on the sideline for the Naugatuck-Torrington battle Friday night. Nobody knew what to expect. Not after Torrington had handled the Greyhounds in very rare fashion Monday, 4-2.
Not after Naugatuck had needed a goal from Nicole Sambrook with that 27 seconds left just 24 hours earlier. Not after Torrington had come out a bit flat after beating Naugatuck and was done in by Watertown, 3-0, in the middle of the week.
Who knew what each had left. Who knew what to expect. Sendra admitted to the unknown before the game, “I have no idea what we’re going to get,” he told me.
On the other sidewas equally a bit in the dark. With a bevy of quad-taped player including Aly Otis and Mariah Cerruto, one very up win and one flat loss, he was wondering. Midway through the second half he made mention of hoping to be within one goal with a chance to win. No thought of another 4-2 victory.
All anybody agreed on was that Naugatuck would remember the first time around and come out with a chip on its shoulder and that proved to be true. For most of the game and thoughts of being drained from the previous night’s exertions against Woodland were quickly erased.
Sendra talked about playing ball possession and the Greyhounds did it to perfection. Taylor Christiano who had torched the Greyhounds for three goals Monday found no openings this time around.
Meanwhile, the Greyhounds led by the terrific tandem of Sambrook and Stephanie Santos, dominated for 50 minutes. They peppered shots at the Torrington goal and keeper Kylie Okenquist. Torrington’s first shot of the game came with just under 10 minutes gone in the second half.
A statistical big time blowout. Ah, but such is the beauty of this season although maybe not to Naugatuck’s eyes. The stats didn’t match the score.
Only once could Naugatuck score with Santos converting a pass from Sambrook. Torrington needed just one play to even things out. A bomb Bret Favre would have been proud of was launched from Brittany Kackowski to Christiano who punched the ball into the net with a tad under nine minutes left in the game.
It ended there. No one came close the rest of the regulation and in two overtimes. In a way it was a great ending to a great week. The game settled nothing and the league is very unsettled. We need more weeks like this.
Both teams left the field wondering about their depth, particularly Longobucco who saw Kackowski injured at the end of regulation and unable to return. Both teams know this one is going down to the last minute this season.
What a week and we’re only halfway through the season.