Woodland gets offense in gear

Woodland’s Anthony Barreira (7) had two goals in a 7-4 win over Wilby on Sept. 30. The Hawks have scored 31 goals through nine games this season, four more than they scored all of last year. –FILE PHOTO

Woodland’s Anthony Barreira (7) had two goals in a 7-4 win over Wilby on Sept. 30. The Hawks have scored 31 goals through nine games this season, four more than they scored all of last year. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys soccer team is creating quite a stir in the NVL.

The Hawks’ only blemishes so far are a 1-0 loss to defending NVL champion Naugatuck and a 0-0 tie to Watertown. Every other game has been a wide margin of victory for the Hawks, who have scored 31 goals in nine games this season. Woodland scored just 26 goals all last season.

The difference this year is the Hawks have plenty of options, and it showed in a 7-4 win over Wilby on Sept. 30. Sophomore Maciej Lewicki tallied four goals to pace Woodland.

“I was just looking to help the team out on offense and show the team what I can do,” said Lewicki about his four-goal performance. “We like to play a spread offense with a lot of passing and a lot of diagonal runs. The passing is the key it has to be right there and we have some really good players who can play this game.”

Junior Anthony Barreira had two goals and sophomore Josh Powanda added a goal versus the Wildcats. None of the three players put one to the back of the net last season. Jack LaPerriere, Nick McCuster, Senol Music, Ryan Swanson and Timothy Mendes all had assists.

“The offense is all about us connecting with our passing game,” Barreira said. “We are all on the same page working as one unit and as long as we continue to do that we will be able to create our opportunities.”

The resurgent Hawks are relying on a new group of players to ignite the offense.

“After what we did last year just about making the tournament and then playing in the championship game, this year they are looking for us,” Woodland head coach Tony Moutinho said. “I thought it was going to take us a little longer to get going because we have a lot of younger kids. But they became accustomed to the varsity a lot quicker than expected, and it’s really got our offense going.

“Defensively I knew we would be able to match up with anyone in the league. I was more concerned about our forwards, but I guess we found a few kids who can score.”

That is an understatement as Woodland continues to find new weapons to add to its offensive arsenal, including freshmen twin brothers Dante and Devon Polletta.

Woodland, led by the defense of Xavier Gibson and Zach Powanda, earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Bunnell of Stratford from the SWC Saturday. A.J. Oliveira recorded 11 saves in the net. LaPerriere scored the only goal on an assist from Barreira.

“The bus ride down there was very serious,” LaPerriere said. “We lost a real tough one last year and knew they are a very good team. We were possessing for most of the game and then I was able to make a run right down the middle of the field. Anthony put a pass right in the middle of the box and I just let go of the shot.”

The Hawks’ newfound offense caught Wolcott by surprise Tuesday as Woodland improved to 7-1-1 with a 4-0 victory. Oliveira made five saves in the net for the third shutout of the season.

Lewicki led the Hawks with two goals. Swanson and freshman Cole Barrows added goals with Lewicki, Music, LaPerriere and Juliano D’Amelio providing assists.

Woodland will be back in action at home on Friday at 3:45 p.m. to take on Torrington. The Hawks will host Oxford on Oct. 11.