Hawks earn hard-fought win over ‘Hounds

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Woodland’s Tayler Boncal goes for the kill Oct. 5 versus Naugatuck in Beacon Falls. The Hawks won the match in three sets (25-17, 25-21, 25-20). –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — A night after its first regular-season loss in almost two years, Woodland bounced back with a sweep of Naugatuck last Friday.

The Hawks lost to Holy Cross 3-1 on Oct. 4, but rebounded with a victory over the Greyhounds. However, Naugy didn’t make it easy.
The set scores were 25-17, 25-21 and 25-20.

After a first-set win for Woodland, Naugy created some tense moments in the second and third sets.

“Naugy is a scrappy team,” Woodland head coach Jim Amato said. “They don’t let the ball touch the floor. Just when you think a point is over, it’s not.”

Junior Brianna Pacileo led the Hawks with 10 kills, while senior Tayler Boncal struck for nine kills.

Pacileo ended the second set with an ace and capped an early 6-2 run with consecutive kills in the third. Pacileo and Boncal continue to impress this season.

“Our two hitters have really developed,” Amato said of Pacileo and Boncal. “They really complement each other on the floor.”

Every swing seems a little easier with setter Samantha Lee, who dished out 20 assists against the ‘Hounds. Lee, a junior, has set up teammates all season.

“She’s really stepped into that role and been serving hitters plenty of opportunities,” Amato said. “She can turn lead into gold.”

Naugatuck’s Melissa Ascencao dives for a dig in front of teammate Raquel Loustanau Oct. 5 versus Woodland in Beacon Falls. The Hawks won the match in three sets (25-17, 25-21, 25-20). –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

On defense, Nicole Fowler had 26 digs for the Hawks. Despite the impressive individual performances for Woodland, the Greyhounds made the Hawks work for every point.

Naugy kept it close, especially in the third. The Greyhounds trailed 22-9, but then scored 10 of the next 11 points.

Stef Barry provided a kill to make it 22-11. And after the teams traded points, Sarah Chandler put on a serving showcase.

Chandler almost single-handedly brought Naugatuck back. She took the ball and served up seven straight points, including five aces, with a jump serve.

“Sarah worked on the jump serve over the summer,” Naugatuck head coach Fred Scheithe said. “She’ll use that with the game point on the line. She has confidence in it.”

Scheithe said the Greyhounds have to continue to improve on serve receiving and communicating on the court.

“They’re coming along,” Schiethe said. “We want to play in the states and the NVL tournaments. We need to win three matches to do so, but we’re going to have to knock off some good teams to do it.”

Naugatuck fell to 5-6 on the season after losing to Seymour, 3-0, on Wednesday. The Greyhounds will face Holy Cross at home on Friday at 6 p.m., then travel to Kennedy on Tuesday.

The Hawks improved to 11-1 after dispatching Torrington, 3-1, on Wednesday. Woodland travels to Watertown on Friday and Seymour on Tuesday. A win against the Wildcats would all but clinch a second consecutive NVL Brass Division title.