Down to the wire

Hawks outlast Greyhounds on the court


BEACON FALLS — The Hawks took the better part of two games to catch up to a very tough Naugatuck team on Tuesday night, but when they did they took flight.

Woodland turned the tables on the Greyhounds to earn a thrilling 3-2 (17-25, 25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 16-14) victory.

“There was a lot of shaking going on with a lot of moving parts,” Woodland head coach Jim Amato said. “We don’t need anyone on this team to be successful we need everyone. I thought they played real well against an incredibly talented Naugatuck team.”

The match came down to the fifth and final set. The largest lead of the set was two points as both teams pulled out all the stops.

Cailee Bergin was in serve when Naugy reached game point at 14-12, but a failed return into the net gave the serve back to Woodland.

There would be no stopping the Hawks this time. Maddie Hupprich served up the win on a kill from Lindsey Gabianelli. Two returns in the net by Naugy gave Woodland the 16-14 victory to win the match.

“We had a couple of breakdowns,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “Woodland did a nice job taking advantage of our errors. We made a strong comeback in games four and five but Woodland played like the champions they are.”

The win evened the Hawks’ record at 1-1 on the season as Naugatuck fell to 1-1. Woodland lost the season opener, 3-0, Sept. 9 to Torrington. The Greyhounds swept Kennedy, 3-0, Sept. 9.

The Greyhounds imposed their will in game one versus Woodland with Olivia Rotatori, Taylor Hyde and Bergin getting it done at the net. Kelly Murphy steered the offense in the middle row as Molly Kennedy and Emma Healy flew around getting to every return over the net.

Naugatuck opened up a 13-7 lead before Amato called a timeout to try and settle his Hawks down. Bergin and Hyde combined for a thunderous block at the net and Kennedy charged the net for a side out kill as Naugy was in command 19-10.

Alyssa Peterson, Jayla Piazza and Michelle Cordova came on to help out the attack, but it took five more services before the Greyhounds were able to close the door on game, 25-17.

Woodland was showing signs of life but still had to overcome unforced errors to make a game of it.

Naugy held the lead throughout game two, but Woodland was right on their heels. It was a 19-16 Greyhound lead when Gabianelli stepped into serve. Woodland tied the match for the first time and then took its first lead 20-19 when the Greyhounds were called for a carry.

From that point on Woodland could do no wrong. Woodland tied the match at 1-1 earning a 25-22 victory.

McKenna Cronin and Hupprich began to charge every ball over the net. Jen Triana and Steph Krebbs became forces at the net. Katelyn Minutillo and Ally Mayne were guarding the back row and the Hawks suddenly showed some game.

The Hawks went out and simply took game three, 25-17. Julia Swiatek and Rachel Poulos came on to shore up the back row for the Hawks. The biggest difference was the influential play of Fatima Khalid, who seemed to be in on every big play.

The Greyhounds showed their own resolve when they battled back from an 18-13 deficit in game four. Hailey Deitelbaum came on to serve, and Rotatori and Kennedy were forces at the net knocking down serves.

Healy dropped in an ace for game point and a Bergin return handcuffed the Hawks middle row as Naugy won the set, 25-23, to set the stage for the dramatic fifth game.

Naugatuck will play Torrington on Thursday and host Wolcott on Friday and Holy Cross Sept. 20.

Woodland will visit Oxford on Friday and host Watertown Sept. 20.