Promise shows as postseason approaches

Woodland’s Nick Hudson eyes the ball during a match against Torrington’s Kevin Dixon May 3 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. Torrington won the match, 9-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The young Woodland boys tennis team has shown bright spots as the season winds down.

With five sophomores and one freshman in the everyday lineup, the Hawks are 6-8 overall heading into their final match of the regular season Wednesday against Watertown.

Woodland will likely finish sixth in the NVL, but still will have postseason opportunities.

The Hawks have shown glimpses of promise, especially among individuals. And it’s starting at the top.

Woodland’s No. 1 singles player, Josh Powanda, is 8-6 overall heading into his final regular season match.  Powanda, a sophomore, has qualified for the Class S state tournament for the first time.

Powanda took Torrington’s No. 1 Scott Dixon to the brink on May 3. Torrington was undefeated as a team entering the match, and Powanda lost 9-7 to Dixon in a tight contest.

The Hawks followed up with a solid win over Kennedy on May 8. Woodland swept the match 9-0.

In the win over Kennedy, Powanda won his match 8-0 at the top spot. Other singles winners for Woodland included Nick Hudson, Rich Weishner, Dante Polletta, Jeff Varesio and Gabe Sousa.

“The top of our lineup has made massive strides towards the end of the season as they’ve settled into positions much higher than they had last season, which will give us something good to build on going into next season,” Woodland head coach Charlie Ostrander said.

In doubles action against Kennedy, Hudson and Weishner were winners, along with teammates Varesio and Sousa; and Sebastian Wojcik and Tim Mendes.

Woodland’s Josh Powanda returns a shot during a match against Torrington’s Scott Dixon May 3 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. Torrington won the match, 9-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

After Wednesday’s match against Watertown, Woodland will likely face Naugatuck next week in the NVL team tournament.

The tournament quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for May 15 and May 17, respectively, on the higher seed’s court. The final is set for May 19 at 3 p.m. at Woodland with a rain date of May 20. Seedings for the tournament will be announced later this week.

The NVL individual tournament is scheduled to begin on May 23, and the team is focused on making strides. Last year, only one Woodland player made it past the second round.

“The team is gearing up for the NVL Individual tournament and hoping to build on what we did last year,” Ostrander said.