Hawks take the hard road to perfection

BEACON FALLS — It hasn’t been easy for the Woodland volleyball team, but the Hawks are still perfect.

After beating defending Naugatuck Valley League champion Seymour in a five-game battle last Friday, Woodland came back from a 2-1 deficit Tuesday to defeat Wolcott, 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 11-25, 25-22, 15-10), and improve to 3-0 on the season.

After a 25-11 clobbering in the third game, the Hawks faced a 2-1 hole for the second match in a row. The game remained tight throughout, being tied as late as 17-17, before Woodland pulled away. With a 19-18 lead, Adriana Ambari (14 kills) and Sam Edwon (eight kills) recorded consecutive kills to increase the Hawks’ edge to 21-18.

Wolcott climbed back to within 24-22, but after a Woodland timeout the Eagles served a game point into the net to tie the match.

“Sometimes that’s all a coach can do from the bench,” Woodland coach Jim Amato said about using the timeout.

In the fifth, Woodland jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a service run by Emily Wirsing (19 assists, seven digs) and the match looked to be over. But the Eagles rallied and forced a 10-10 tie before the Hawks won the final five points Edwon tallied two kills and Tayler Boncal served two aces in the last five points to clinch the victory.

“The passes started coming back to the net,” Amato said of his team’s improvements in the fourth and fifth games. “Nicole Fowler started to get her passes inside the 10-foot line. Brianna Pacileo and Tayler Boncal were starting to pick up hits at them. Sam Edwon had a great night at net, and at points we rode her to success.”

Woodland never trailed in the first game en route to a 25-21 victory. In contrast, the Hawks never led in the two, very sloppy games that followed. In each game, Wolcott jumped out to a 4-0 lead before adding long runs to pull away.

In the second, the Eagles went on a 9-1 run to take a 13-4 lead which they held for a 25-21 win. In the third, Wolcott used a 16-4 run to assume a 20-7 advantage before strolling to a 25-11 victory.

“Failure to execute was the major issue,” Amato said. “Doing the things that make volleyball a game—the basics. We were off. Wolcott came in to win. Everyone was getting moving to the ball and finding the seams in our defense. It took the wind out of our sails.”

Amato said he wasn’t sure if there was a hangover from the hard-fought victory over Seymour but he thought the team’s play in both matches was comparable.

“I think we played similar to how we played against Seymour,” Amato said. “Wolcott has made leaps and bounds in its program and it much better now. I think we took it for granted.”

Still, Woodland is a perfect 3-0 and looks to continue its run with packed week of action. After hosting Ansonia tonight, the Hawks visit St. Paul on Friday and Crosby on Tuesday. Then, a nonconference match at Northwestern awaits on Sept. 29 before Woodland finally returns home on Sept. 30 against Wilby.