The postseason started Saturday with the quarterfinals of the Naugatuck Valley League volleyball tournament.
No. 3 Woodland advanced with a 3-1 win over No. 6 Ansonia. Steph Krebbs paced the Hawks with 18 kills and two aces to go along with 11 digs and two blocks. Alyssa Lukeski had 13 kills, and Fatima Khalid had 32 assists for Woodland.
The Hawks will face No. 2 Kennedy, a 3-0 winner over No. 7 Holy Cross in the quarterfinals, in today’s semifinals. The match is set for 5 p.m. at Seymour Middle School. Woodland lost to Kennedy, 3-1, in the team’s only meeting during the regular season back on Sept. 14.
The winner will play the winner of the second semifinal match between No. 1 Seymour and No. 4 St. Paul in Thursday’s championship. St. Paul defeated No. 5 Naugatuck, 3-0, in the quarterfinals. Seymour swept Oxford, 3-0, to advance and remain unbeaten.
As the stage grows larger, Woodland head coach Jim Amato said the key will be consistency for his Hawks.
“We’re a streaky team,” he told the Republican-American. “We need to put the ball together and run our jobs. Our defense has been some of the best that we’ve had all season, and now we are starting to execute on the front line.”
Krebbs told the Republican-American the Hawks need to be ready for anything and everything in the postseason.
“The biggest thing is not to prepare for specific teams moving forward,” she told the Republican-American. “We need to prepare to defeat anybody, anybody and everybody.”
After inclement weather postponed the start of the NVL boys and girls soccer tournament, the tourneys are set to kick off this afternoon.
On the boys side, No. 3 Naugatuck — the five-time defending league champion — begins the hunt for a sixth straight title at 6 p.m. against No. 6 Crosby at Naugatuck High School. Naugatuck defeated Crosby, 4-0, when they meet on Oct. 12.
No. 2 Woodland hosts No. 7 Seymour at 3:30 p.m. The Hawks received good news recently when their top player, Maciej Lewicki, returned from injury. The teams played once in the regular season with Woodland winning, 3-0, early last week.
The winner of these matches will play in the semifinals on Tuesday for the chance to advance to Thursday’s championship game at Naugatuck High. The top of the bracket pits No. 1 Watertown vs. No. 8 Torrington and No. 4 Holy Cross vs. No. 5 St. Paul.
For the girls, No. 4 Naugatuck hosts No. 5 Woodland today at 3:30 p.m. The Greyhounds and Hawks played to a 1-1 draw in their only meeting in the regular season on Sept. 21.
The winner will advance to face either No. 1 Watertown or No. 8 Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Watertown enters the tournament as the favorite with only one loss on the season, a 1-0 setback against Woodland on Oct. 16. The Hawks also played Watertown to a 0-0 draw on Oct. 5. Watertown topped Naugatuck, 5-2, in the teams’ only match of the regular season on Oct. 1.
In the bottom half of the bracket, No. 2 Wolcott plays No. 7 St. Paul, and No. 3 Holy Cross hosts No. 6 Oxford. The championship game is Thursday at Naugatuck High.