The St. Paul Falcons, who lost to Woodland and tied Naugatuck during the regular season, got a little revenge in the NVL tournament.
No. 5 St. Paul knocked over No. 4 Naugatuck, 3-2, in the first round on Saturday and beat No. 1 Woodland, 2-0, in the semifinals on Tuesday to advance to the championship match.
Woodland made it look easy in Saturday’s 7-1 quarterfinal win over No. 8 Seymour. Megen Sirowich led the way, scoring three goals. Haley Andrews, Julia Casimiro, Jill Barbarito and Shannon Pruzinsky each scored for the Hawks.
The Hawks could have used a little of that offense in the semifinals.
Woodland’s defense, led by goal keeper Alana Carasone (8 saves) and defenders Eliza Smith, Haley Wolfanger, Michealla Mastropietro and Olivia Kotsaftis, kept the Hawks within striking distance of the Falcons.
At one point St. Paul was charging into the box and Carasone came out to defend. The Falcons broke through and had two attackers looking at an open net. Smith came from behind and somehow was able to knock the ball away.
However, Woodland’s offense was no match for St. Paul goal keeper Nina Zwolinski, who made 17 saves in the net to keep the Hawks off the scoreboard.
Trailing 1-0, the Hawks got into the Falcons’ end with Molly Hussey and Julia Accetura setting up a scoring opportunity, but the shot by Karly Laliberte was pulled down by Zwolinski.
Moments later with 33 minutes to play, St. Paul’s Kendall Davis broke into the box from the right post and drilled a shot on an angle past the diving Carasone for a 2-0 lead.
That would prove to be the final salvo fired, and for the second year in a row the Hawks fell in the NVL semifinal round.
“The Holy Cross PK’s last year definitely hurt worse,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “I would rather get beat in regulation than to go through PK’s. We took the first 40 minutes off. We came into this game knowing the team that showed up would be the team that would probably win. By the time we decided to show up it was too late.”
“When he started to play our style of soccer credit St. Paul they played until the whistle,” Witham added. “Our decision making was not good once we got inside. Their keeper is one of the top two in the league, and you are not going to get it in the net shooting from 30 yards out.”
On Saturday, St. Paul grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first half against Naugatuck.
Naugatuck goalie Sydney O’Donnell (4 saves) has been outstanding all season, but the Falcons stretched the Naugatuck defense.
The Greyhounds cut the lead to 2-1 one a free kick from Angelina Oliveria with 36:40 left to play. St. Paul’s Briana Senese made it 3-1 before Naugatuck’s Alyana Sosa scored on a penalty kick with just over 3 minutes left.
The Greyhounds couldn’t get the equalizer in the waning minutes.
Woodland and Naugatuck will now prepare for states, which start on Saturday with qualifying rounds. Seedings will be announced on Friday.