BEACON FALLS — The Hawks are quickly becoming a team to be reckoned with on the pitch.
Woodland, the defending NVL champions, may have lost a few talented players from last year’s group but haven’t lost any steam.
Through the first four games, Woodland has outscored the opposition 24-1, including a hard fought 3-1 victory over Watertown in a rematch of last year’s championship game and a 5-0 victory over Naugatuck Sept. 16.
“This team is beginning to understand that if they work up to their potential they can become very successful,” said Woodland head coach Cait Witham following the Naugatuck game. “It’s still early in the season and for the most part we are a young team. We played nine freshman and sophomores. But we do have a solid core of experienced players and so far the mix has been good.
“The plan was to come out here and dictate the pace of the game. When we come out and play our style of game we are successful.”
Julia Casimiro led the Hawks with two goals against Naugatuck and Gillian Hotchkiss added a goal and an assist. Sam Plasky and Megen Sirowich also scored for the Hawks. Julia Accetura, Hailey Boris and Juliana Villano added assists to pace Woodland.
“Our finishing was amazing today,” Hotchkiss said. “We don’t have one person scoring four or five goals. It’s everyone scoring goals and that’s what we like to see.”
Jenna Pannone recorded her 23rd career shutout making five stops in the net for the Hawks.
Cassidy Baranowski made three saves in the net for a short-handed Naugatuck side as Woodland outshot the Greyhounds 17-7.
“Overall I’m extremely pleased with our effort,” Naugatuck head coach Lisa Mariano said. “No one gave up and they played right till the end. Where we lack is in our decision making.”
Woodland got right after. Plasky scored 90 seconds into the game off an assist from Accetura. Eight minutes later, the Hawks were on the attack again.
Villano lined one up and fired away from inside the box but the shot ricocheted off the post. The aggressiveness of Woodland paid off as Hotchkiss charged in and buried the rebound past the diving Baranowski to open up a 2-0 advantage.
The Hawks were off and running and built a 3-0 lead at the half.
The Naugatuck defense led by Erin Doris, Sofia Marques, Bridget Rosikiewicz and Catarina Rego had their hands full as the Hawks continued to push possessions deep into Greyhound territory.
Kyla Magalhaes and Alyana Sosa surged the Greyhounds’ attack, but with four starters out with injuries, including leading scorer Hailey Boulanger, the Naugatuck offense sputtered at times.
“We are young and with four starters out that’s hard to recover from,” Mariano said. “Alissa McNeil played almost the entire game and Paige Cruz is small but good with the ball and sees the whole field. We have some young talent that is going to develop into good players for us.”
“I think we need to continue to push up,” Magalhaes said. “I think we’re still growing as a team, we have a lot of new people and we’re trying out different formations, so, I think it will definitely go somewhere by the end of the season.”
Woodland improved to 4-0 on the year with a 9-0 win over Derby on Tuesday. Plasky and Hailey Boris had two goals each to led Woodland. The Hawks will finish up the week at St. Paul on Friday.
Naugatuck fell, 3-0, to Holy Cross on Tuesday. Baranowski made five saves for the Greyhounds (2-3). The Greyhounds will host Derby on Friday and Pomperaug on Saturday.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.