BEACON FALLS — All it took for the Woodland boys soccer team to get a season-ending victory Oct. 21 was a little bit of listening to longtime coach Tony Moutinho.
Using a bit of halftime advice, James Yacavone drew a foul in the box with less than 4 minutes to play and converted the ensuing penalty kick to lift the Hawks over Wolcott, 3-2, as the home squad celebrated senior night.
Yacavone made the game-winning run down the left side of the field and was pushed down from behind when he entered the box. He drilled the penalty kick with 3 minutes, 21 seconds left to give Woodland the win.
“I did that on purpose,” Yacavone said. “Coach’s rule is that if you cut in, you’re either going to score or get that PK, so I was hoping for one of those. We weren’t sure who was going to take it, but last time I took the PK and made it so I was hoping for a repeat.”
Moutinho said Yacavone changed his usual tactic on the attack based on a chat at halftime.
“Every time he has a breakaway he has a tendency to run outside, so I told him at halftime to run to the inside,” Moutinho said. “If they go through you to get to the ball, they will foul you. He came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Thanks, Coach.’”
Yacavone’s goal was the game-winner for Woodland (3-12-1), but it wasn’t the most emotional goal of the night on which the Hawks honored only three seniors, including usual starters Adam MacDonald and Devin Henaghan.
Edward Zaldumbide, a rarely used senior, earned his first career start and made the most of it.
About 17 minutes into the game, Yacavone penetrated the box from the right side and looked to make a pass to the left post. Adam MacDonald tried to time his slide to meet the ball, and although he missed the ball he drew Wolcott goalkeeper Nick Roth off his line.
When it looked like the Eagles had escaped the situation, Zaldumbide crept in from the left side and chipped home the goal into an empty side of the net. It was his first career goal — “I think even in practice,” Moutinho said — and came as a surprise to the senior.
“I didn’t think I was going to last more than 20 minutes,” Zaldumbide said. “I was surprised I got to score, but through all the practices Tony and Izzy (Oliveira) have put me through, I learned one thing that helped me get the goal: Follow the play every time.”
The goal gave Woodland a 1-0 lead.
“There were almost tears in my eyes when he scored,” Moutinho said. “That was beautiful.”
Wolcott took a 2-1 lead at the half on goals by Tyler Lagasse and Caleb Sisson, but the Hawks evened the score with 35:34 to play in the second half when Thomas Bethin blocked a clear attempt, raced the ball into the box, shot off the left post and knocked home his rebound.
Brandon Ocetnik made eight saves for the Hawks, who will bring back the majority of their squad next season.
“This is a big win for them because they know they can play with almost anybody,” Moutinho said. “We will get almost everybody back next year so it helps them to work in the offseason.”