BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys tennis team has something that is hard to teach — passion to play and compete.
The Hawks entered the week 3-4 overall after splitting their last four matches with wins against Sacred Heart and Kennedy.
Their lineup features five sophomores and a freshman who all want to learn and get better. And they want to win.
“This is one of the most competitive group of kids I’ve coached,” Woodland head coach Charlie Ostrander said. “That’s one of the hardest things to coach.”
Over the last four matches, their lineup has had good individual performances. Sophomore Josh Powanda, the Hawks’ new No. 1 singles player, went 2-2, as did No. 2 Nick Hudson and No. 3 Richie Weishner.
Freshman Dante Polletta has shown some of the best progress — he’s 3-1 in the last four — including a win in the team’s close 5-4 loss to Watertown on April 13. Ostrander said Polletta’s game and mindset have improved greatly
The team must win five of its last eight to qualify for the states. The remaining schedule is not forgiving with matches against some of the NVL’s top teams, including three-time defending league champion Wolcott and undefeated Torrington. Torrington swept the Hawks, 9-0, last Thursday.
“We have a tough final stretch of eight games,” Ostrander said.
The Hawks are scheduled to face Crosby on Thursday and play at Holy Cross on Friday. Next week features matches against Naugy, Torrington and Kennedy.
The team will also have to make up a meet against Wolcott that was postponed on Tuesday.
All the matches down the stretch will be an opportunity to gain more valuable experience for seasons to come.
“We’re going to have a great foundation to build on,” Ostrander said.