BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls soccer team came into the season with the bar set pretty high after win the NVL title and reaching the semifinals of the Class M state tournament last year for the first time in the program’s history.
Armed with seven seniors, the Hawks were out to prove that 2015 was not a one-year wonder but ran into a tough Immaculate squad Nov. 9 in the second round of the Class M state tournament.
No. 15 Immaculate edged out No. 2 Woodland, 2-1, in Beacon Falls.
“All things considered we had a very successful season,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “After what we were able to accomplish last year no one expected us to be at this level this year, especially with the loss of personnel that we had through graduation.”
The Hawks (16-3-1) trailed Immaculate (12-3-5) 1-0 after Kayla Lanza scored midway through the first half. The Hawks tied the match at the midway point of the second half when Sam Plasky delivered on a penalty kick.
It took the Mustangs just three minutes to regain the lead when Lanza headed a corner kick to the back of the net with 16:50 left to give Immaculate the 2-1 advantage.
Goalie Jenna Pannone made 14 saves in the net to give the Hawks a chance to come back, but the season came to an end a little prematurely for a Woodland team that was looking to get back to the final four.
Seniors Pannone (All-Iron), Plasky (All-NVL), Gillian Hotchkiss (All-NVL), Hailey Boris (All-Iron), Erin Machado, Stephanie McLean and Jordan Williams have a lot to be proud of for the achievements the team has accomplished during their four years.
“These seniors left their own legacy after last year’s run,” Witham said. “They helped to stabilize a young group of girls who came out and took on bigger roles this season.”
The Hawks will return a solid core of juniors, including All-NVL player Haley Andrews, and developing underclassmen.
“The development of the younger players throughout this season will help us to continue the solid foundation we have put into place heading into next season,” Witham said.