Hawks control their destiny

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Woodland’s Ashley Michie (5) digs the ball in front of teammate Jillian Gorman (2) Oct. 10 versus the Greyhounds in Naugatuck. The Hawks lost the game, 3-1, but still control their destiny for the Brass Division title. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Ashley Michie (5) digs the ball in front of teammate Jillian Gorman (2) Oct. 10 versus the Greyhounds in Naugatuck. The Hawks lost the game, 3-1, but still control their destiny for the Brass Division title. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland volleyball team just couldn’t outlast Naugatuck last Thursday.

The previously unbeaten Hawks suffered their first defeat of the season to the Greyhounds, who took a 3-1 (25-20, 17-25, 26-24, 25-18) victory on their home court.

“Naugatuck was prepared and executed the plan they had for us,” Woodland coach Jim Amato said. “We didn’t execute our plan nearly as well.”

Naugy didn’t rack up all sorts of kills — Kara Klimaszewski led the balanced ‘Hounds with four — but Amato said the Greyhounds’ defense did a good job keeping points alive and returning lots of balls.

“We were firing but we were making mistakes,” Amato said. “They’re so scrappy that they keep putting the ball over until you make a mistake.”

Brianna Pacileo notched a match-high 17 kills and nine aces while Samantha Lee added 35 assists and 11 digs. Hannah Deegan tacked on 12 kills and 23 digs, and Rachel Starkey had 17 digs.

Entering that match with a perfect 11-0 record and the leader in the Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division, Amato thinks his Hawks played a little tight.

“Sometimes you play with a destiny you have not yet earned,” Amato said. “We were undefeated, we’re title contenders and we want to make sure that we get there. Sometimes that causes us to play with hesitancy. Sometimes we make more mistakes than we should.”

The Hawks wasted no time in rebounding, though, as they took a 3-1 (25-20, 25-14, 20-25, 25-12) win over Ansonia the next night.

Pacileo tallied another 17 kills and six digs, and Lee contributed another 35 assists. Deegan played a well-rounded game with nine digs, six aces and five kills, while Abbey Rosato added nine kills and two blocks. Starkey also had 11 digs and Machol Butler tacked on two kills.

On Wednesday Woodland knocked off Watertown 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-10).

Woodland’s Rachel Starkey (34) bumps the ball in front of teammate Brianna Pacileo (15) Oct. 10 versus the Greyhounds in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Rachel Starkey (34) bumps the ball in front of teammate Brianna Pacileo (15) Oct. 10 versus the Greyhounds in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Brianna Pacileo had six kills, four aces and four digs. Lee had 16 assists, seven aces, two kills and three digs. Jillian Gorman had five assists, two kills and three aces. Rosato had three blocks and six kills. Anna Khlaid had three blocks and four kills. Starkey added nine digs.

That victory over Watertown improved Woodland to 13-1, including 12-1 in the NVL and 7-0 in the Brass Division. The Hawks control their destiny in the division. A win against Wolcott at home Friday will clinch another Brass title.

But on an off day Tuesday, Woodland’s spikers looked like the cross country team. They took a pre-practice run up the hill to the track, where they ran sprints before running back down the hill for a full practice.

“We’re only halfway through the season, so we don’t want to slow down,” Amato said. “We have another month and a half to play, and we plan on being around. You prepare; you don’t predict.”