The Woodland girls’ soccer team battled Holy Cross to a 0-0 deadlock in the first half of the quarterfinals in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament held at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury on Saturday. The Hawks finally broke the scoreless tie but couldn’t hold off a Crusaders flurry as Holy Cross put three goals in the net during a 15-minute span to win, 4-1.
Holy Cross (8-8-1) finished off the Hawks by scoring a goal with a minute to play to cap off a 4-1 win to advance to the semifinals. Woodland (9-7-1) will now have a week to pick up the pieces and prepare to make a run in the state tournament.
“We were pretty evenly matched for a good portion of the game,” said Woodland head coach Joe Fortier. “We weren’t able to finish off a few opportunities in the first half and some of the shots we did take were a little off balance. … Playing on turf helped Holy Cross to utilize their speed and it forced us into some mistakes we don’t normally make.”
Woodland got on the board in the opening minutes of the second half when Kelly Boucher sent a direct kick into the box and Stephanie Dumond caught up to it, drilling it into the far corner for a 1-0 Hawks lead at 38:20.
Holy Cross wasted little time getting back in the game as they came down and gained possession out in front of the Woodland goal. Alma Rizvani (14 saves) was up for the challenge but the Crusaders’ Jillian Hughson took the Hawks keeper out of position making a charge to the near post.
Once Rizvani committed, Hughson passed it back across the front of the goal, putting it on the shoe tops of a hard-charging Andrea Broderick, who slammed it into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 at the 36:21 mark.
At 22:41, Holy Cross took over the lead when Teriana Liovvi sent a corner into the box and Kelsey Nolan finished it off for a 2-1 Crusader advantage. A minute later, Holy Cross dropped another bomb when Liovvi drove past a Hawks defender who fell down in the box and the one-on-one breakaway eluded Rizvani for a 3-1 Crusader lead with 21:14 to play.
Raven Palmerie, Riley Shaw and Marissa Mills maintained possession over the middle, creating an attack for Woodland but the shots were just off the mark as the Hawks tried to close the gap. Kelly Sherman, Jamie Minoski, Andrea Piccolo and Kelly Boucher managed to sure up the defense but Holy Cross had already capitalized on a few mistakes that put them out in front.
“We just didn’t recover in our transition defense and they were able to score a few quick goals off those mistakes,” said Fortier. “Now we have to go back to practice and correct those mistakes before the state tournament starts next week.”
Audra Blewitt and Alaina Nedderman helped the Hawks win the battle along the sidelines but the Holy Cross defense closed off the middle, limiting the Hawks’ opportunities down the stretch.
With 1:14 to play, Broderick sent a chip shot over the top of Rizvani for the 4-1 final margin as Holy Cross moved on to the semifinals.