BEACON FALLS — Hawks captain Tyler Carlos scored twice and Eric Dietz, Christian Pinho, and Steve Vaz recorded one goal apiece in Woodland’s 5-2 rout of Immaculate in interleague play Monday.
Within the first 21 minutes, Carlos, Vaz and Dietz each scored (in the 10th, 16th, and 21st minutes, respectively), and Woodland seemed the dominant squad as it took a lot of good balls deep into Immaculate territory, capitalized often—finishing thrice, and played great control ball. The Hawks hardly gave up possession in this first quarter of the contest.
During this time, the Mustangs seemed hesitant on offense, playing the few balls they got to the fringes, probably hoping for a good cross.
But the Woodland defense must have grown complacent, for in the 24th minute, keeper Damien Giordano and the normally-stoic Hawks defenders let a shot from Immaculate’s Brian Violante squeak by, and the Mustangs were on the board.
Though the setting sun was directly in the visitors’ eyes during the first half, they started to look much stronger after Violante’s surprising goal. The Black and Gold worked hard to keep the Mustangs at bay, but in the 35th minute, Immaculate’s Steven Lardner managed to score again, and the Hawks took a one-goal surplus with them to the halftime bench.
Now the sun was in Woodland’s eyes, and their disadvantage grew as the fiery orb crept lower and lower, toward the horizon.
And for most of this half, the match felt more like a volleyball game than a soccer match, as the ball sailed back and forth across the field. Both teams were winning tough balls but losing them in the red zone, and the match was deadlocked until the 66th minute, when Christian Pinho managed to follow a blocked shot, scoring the insurance goal and bringing the score to 4-2.
And the Hawks really sealed the deal two minutes later when Tyler Carlos scored again, recapitulating his early effort, and the Hawks cruised to an easy, 5-2 victory.
The win brings the Hawks to 5-6-1 on the season. With only four games left, the Hawks must win only once or tie twice to qualify for the state playoffs. But they stand in seventh place in the Naugatuck Valley League; only the top eight will qualify for the NVL tournament. And the last four squads the Hawks play are no pushovers: Seymour (5-2-3) Wednesday, Ansonia (7-7-0) Friday, and Kennedy (4-3-3) and Crosby (4-6-1) next week.
The Hawks have no hope of winning the NVL Brass Division, as Watertown (10-0-1) has dominated. They also trail Seymour and Ansonia, in that order, in the division.
But if the Hawks can pull out all the stops—the way they did with Immaculate Monday, Wolcott last week, and against Naugatuck two weeks ago—in their next four matches, they will not only qualify for the state playoffs, but will likely make it to the NVL tournament to boot.