Lesson learned through adversity  

Woodland’s Michealla Mastropietro (11) and Watertown’s Rachel Holley (13) battle for the ball Sept. 26 at Watertown High School. – JIM SHANNON/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls soccer team is learning to overcome adversity — the kind of lessons that will make the Hawks a team to contend with heading down the stretch of the season.

Woodland earned a little revenge against Watertown by pulling out a come-from-behind 3-2 win last Tuesday. The Indians gave the Hawks their only blemish on their record this season, a 2-1 loss in the second game of the year.

“The last couple of seasons we haven’t been used to playing when we were behind,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “Usually if we got down we couldn’t turn it around and get back in it. It was good to see that we have that ability to come back like that.”

Watertown ran out to a 2-0 lead last week eight minutes into the game. It didn’t look like it was going to be the Hawks’ night until Megen Sirowich got one to go to the back of the net. Karly Laliberte tied the game and freshman Holly Plasky scored the game-winner as the Hawks rallied for the win.

On Tuesday, Woodland improved to 7-1 with a 4-2 win over Wolcott. Julia Accetura, Laliberte, Juliana Vilano and Haley Andrews each scored for the Hawks.

Laliberte, who missed the first two games of the season, has been a huge factor for the Hawks this season. The junior forward/midfielder has scored in every game she’s played this season, including both goals in a 2-0 win over St. Paul on Sept. 22.

Woodland’s Julia Accetura (22) and Watertown’s Arianna Polletta (3) run down a loose ball Sept. 26 at Watertown High School. – JIM SHANNON/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

“She is a junior but didn’t get a lot of varsity experience her first two years. To have her producing the way she has is huge for this team,” Witham said. “A lot of times we get a little over anxious once we get into the last third of the field and shots go off the mark. Karly is relaxed and calm and doesn’t let it affect her. I can’t remember having a player produce so consistently for me, and she is really a defensive player and didn’t play forward until this season.”

Defense has been another key component for the Hawks’ surge to the top of the league. In between the Watertown games, Woodland posted four straight shutouts.

The defense is led by senior Eliza Smith, juniors Haley Wolfanger and Michealla Mastropietro and sophomore Olivia Kotsaftis in front of junior keeper Alanna Carasone.

“Some of our younger players are really stepping up and taking on bigger roles,” Witham said. “Holly scores her very first varsity goal and it just so happens to be the game-winner, and it’s against Watertown. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.”

The Hawks will host Torrington on Friday to finish out the week.