Naugy, Woodland spikers look to states

The quarterfinals of the NVL volleyball tournament on Saturday didn’t pose much of a challenge to the tops seeds, with the exception of the battle between No. 3 Naugatuck and No. 6 Woodland.

Woodland knocked off Naugatuck, 3-2 (12-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20 and 15-13), in dramatic fashion and headed into the semifinal match on Monday against No. 2 Torrington with another upset in mind.

Torrington took Woodland’s best shot, but the Red Raiders swept the Hawks, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-18). Julia Swiatek had nine digs and eight kills to lead the way for Woodland. Steph Krebbs added seven kills and five aces.

“Torrington had a major injury and they responded to it,” Woodland head coach Jim Amato told the Republican-American. “They kept their composure and moved the right pieces in the lineup. It’s a testament to Torrington and their program and an indication of how far we have to go.”

Woodland earned the trip to the semifinals with a dramatic game-five comeback win against Naugatuck, a team that beat the Hawks twice during the regular season.

Naugy built a seven-point advantage in the fifth-and-deciding game only to see Woodland storm back to win the match. Krebbs led the Hawks with 21 digs and 12 kills.

Fatima Kahlid steered Woodland’s offense with 40 assists and 25 digs. Swiatek added 16 digs and 10 kills, and Alyssa Lukeski added 14 digs and 13 kills.

“It’s never easy to beat a team you’ve played three times,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “I’m sure they had a little revenge on their mind after we beat them 3-0 last time around. Certainly losing to Woodland is not a bad thing. They are a good team and are coached very well. Hopefully this will be an eye-opener heading into the states.”

Naugatuck and Woodland will now prepare for the states, which begin Monday with first-round games.