Hawks make running uphill look easy

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BEACON FALLS — The Hawks ran the hill on Monday. The symbolic gesture means two things: The Woodland boys just won a tennis match and wanted to keep working.

Woodland defeated Watertown, 8-1, and improved to 6-0 on the season. After the match, the Hawks did what they have done after every victory this season—sprinted up the hill right next to the school’s tennis courts.

“It shows this team realizes there’s always more work to be done,” said Woodland head coach Jim Amato, who is in his third year leading the Hawks.

The win on Monday comes after an important, 8-1 win over Torrington last Friday. It was the first loss of the season for the Red Raiders, who are traditionally one of the stronger teams in the Naugatuck Valley League.

Senior Mike Krakowski has set the tone. Krakowski won, 8-1, on Monday over Watertown’s No. 1 seed, Connor Fenn.
Krakowski has been a positive force in practice and on match days, according to Amato.

“Mike has worked on his game for three years,” Amato said. “His goal is always to get better. He’s our No. 1 seed and has led the team and helped the younger kids get better.”

Matt Murphy, Pat Dietz, Kyle Beynor and Steve Pec also won singles matches for Woodland over the Indians. Nick Bocuzzi won by forfeit for the Hawks.

Pec, Dietz and Beynor have yet to lose singles matches this season. Amato said each has improved his game in a different.

Pec’s game has matured, Dietz has been more consistent and Beynor has been more precise with his shots. The result: The best start in team history.

On the doubles side, Jimmy Tompkins and Chris Zmuda won their match as the Hawks’ No. 1 team. Dietz and Beynor have also joined together have had success at the No. 2 spot.

“Their style of play supports each other,” Amato said of Dietz and Beynor.

Amato has also been impressed with the overall attitude of the team.

“What’s special about this team is this team,” Amato said. “They’re worried about how their performance will affect the team. They’re out there to win for the team.”

Woodland’s 6-0 record has come rather easily as the Hawks’ closest match was a 6-3 win over Naugatuck in their first outing of the season on April 7. Since then, Woodland has won 41 of its 45 matches en route to commanding the NVL standings.

The Hawks will step out of the league today to face Lewis Mills. On Monday, Woodland will host Naugy before welcoming Wilby on Tuesday.