Hawks gain perspective from loss

Woodland’s Julia Casimiro (5) attempts to head the ball into the goal against Holy Cross’ Meghan Diorio (30), Carley DeFoe (26) and goalie Emma DeVico Tuesday at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Holy Cross won the game, 1-0. -CHRISTOPHER MASSA/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

BEACON FALLS — Holy Cross snapped the Woodland High girls soccer team’s nine-match winning streak Tuesday night — and it might have been the best thing that could have happened to the Hawks.

Holy Cross’ 1-0 victory on freshman Alana Snow’s goal at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury served Woodland (10-2) its first defeat since a 2-1 loss to Watertown on Sept. 12.

“I think it puts everything into perspective,” Woodland coach Cait Witham said. “The kids need to understand that if you don’t play your best day in and day out, in practice and games, you don’t deserve to be unbeaten. It was a reality check that I think we needed before the postseason.”

Witham drew a parallel between this loss and a loss to the Crusaders in last year’s Naugatuck Valley League tournament. The Hawks carried an 11-match unbeaten streak into the semifinals, where they suffered an upset defeat.

“We finished the season winning games last year and lost in the (NVL) semifinals to Holy Cross,” Witham said. “I think when you win a lot of games, you forget what it feels like to lose. Sometimes you need to be reminded of that.”

Woodland had been mostly dominant during its nine-match run. The Hawks, backed by junior goalkeeper Alanna Carasone, had pitched six shutouts while outscoring opponents 40-5. Witham cited senior Haley Andrews for leading the offense and senior Eliza Smith for taking charge on defense during the streak.

Eight different Hawks — Andrews, Smith, Megen Sirowich, Brianna Iannicelli, Karly Laliberte, Juliana Villanova, Molly Hussey and Jill Barbarito — scored during last Friday’s 9-0 win over Sacred Heart. Carasone only had to make one save.

Woodland’s Haley Andrews, left, and Holy Cross’ Paydon Bushka go up for the ball Tuesday at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Holy Cross won the game, 1-0.- CHRISTOPHER MASSA/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

“We had been finishing well,” Witham said. “We had also been doing a good job of playing to feet and maintaining possession. Although we out-possessed Holy Cross, we did a terrible job with decision-making in the final third.”

Woodland will have some time to rebound as it battles with Naugatuck for the top seed in the NVL tournament, which begins Oct. 28 at higher seeds. The tourney continues with semifinals Oct. 30 in Torrington and the finals Nov. 1 in Seymour.

The Hawks will host Ansonia on Thursday before a nonleague matchup with Masuk on Saturday. Their home finale is Monday versus Naugy, which could decide the NVL’s top seed. The regular-season finale is Wednesday at Torrington.

“I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but we have four more games in the next eight days,” Witham said, “so luckily we have time to see how they’ll react and see what adjustments we may need to make to prepare for the postseason.”