Hawks pick up where they left off

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Woodland junior Julia Lawton returns a shot Monday afternoon during a match against Wolcott in Beacon Falls. The Hawks beat the Eagles, 6-1. Lawton won her match, 8-5. –LUKE MARSHALL
Woodland junior Julia Lawton returns a shot Monday afternoon during a match against Wolcott in Beacon Falls. The Hawks beat the Eagles, 6-1. Lawton won her match, 8-5. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Not even a lost bus driver on opening day could stop Woodland from a fast start to the girls tennis season.

The Hawks arrived late at St. Paul on April 3 and notched a 5-2 victory — the first of four in a row to start the season, all coming without a single loss.

Woodland won its final two regular-season matches last year and the young team picked up where it left off, according to head coach Jess DeGennaro. St. Paul beat Woodland four times last season and placed second in the league’s team tournament a year ago, but the Hawks came away victorious to start this campaign.

Last season, the Hawks featured four sophomores among their singles rotation and aimed to gain experience. This season’s approach is different.

Woodland junior Rachel Mariano returns a shot during her match Monday afternoon against Wolcott in Beacon Falls. The Hawks beat the Eagles, 6-1. Mariano won her match, 8-0. –LUKE MARSHALL
Woodland junior Rachel Mariano returns a shot during her match Monday afternoon against Wolcott in Beacon Falls. The Hawks beat the Eagles, 6-1. Mariano won her match, 8-0. –LUKE MARSHALL

“They’re playing with more confidence,” DeGennaro said. “This year they’re focusing more on setting goals for themselves and the team.”

Julia Lawton, Lauren Tompkins, Rachel Mariano and Salma Shitia have been the regular singles lineup, while Jenica Bartlett has also won a match.

On Monday the Hawks beat Wolcott, 6-1, as Lawton (8-5), Mariano (8-0), Tompkins (8-1) and Shitia (8-6) all scored victories for Woodland.

The Hawks also have wins over Seymour and Watertown earlier this month in their belt.

In doubles action, Liz Martin and Hope Gavigan have started the season 4-0. The duo posted an 8-1 victory on Monday. Martin, a senior, and Gavigan, a junior, are coming off a surprising run to the finals of last season’s NVL tournament.

“They’re the doubles team to watch,” DeGennaro said. “We’re hoping they have a good year.”

Woodland doubles partner Liz Martin and Hope Gavigan play a match against Wolcott Monday afternoon in Beacon Falls. The duo won the match, 8-1. –LUKE MARSHALL
Woodland doubles partner Liz Martin and Hope Gavigan play a match against Wolcott Monday afternoon in Beacon Falls. The duo won the match, 8-1. –LUKE MARSHALL

Despite the fast start, DeGennaro wants the team to stay focused. While the team is off to a good start, it’s still a long season.

“The team you see at the beginning of the season can be very different at the end of the season,” DeGennaro said.

The Hawks look to remain on the winning track this week. They visited Crosby Wednesday morning. The results were not available as of this post. The Hawks return to Beacon Falls on Friday, when they will host Torrington at 11 a.m. Woodland will face Naugatuck, another team off to a strong start, at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.