Hawks ramp up their play heading into homestretch

Woodland’s Holly Plasky (14) and Wolcott’s Emiah Soto (8) battle for the ball Oct. 8 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls soccer team headed into the homestretch of the season with a renewed focus.

After coming from three goals down to tie Naugatuck 4-4 in late September, the Hawks rattled off three straight wins to improve to 6-2-2.

“We are getting there,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “I’m not saying we are there yet, because we are still taking a fair amount of shots that are not finding the back of the net. But anytime you can come back from being three goals down, it’s a good sign that you are making progress.”

Woodland showed that progress in a Tuesday rematch with Wolcott, which defeated the Hawks 2-1 earlier this season. The Hawks turned the tables on the Eagles and won 2-1.

“From a confidence standpoint, coming back against Naugatuck like that was huge,” Witham said. “The offense is spread out so it’s not all on one or two players. We are still going through some growing pains. We got the opportunity to get one back from Wolcott and in a short season you don’t always get that chance, so I’m happy we took advantage of that.”

Jenna Tracey put Wolcott on top on a shot that ricocheted off the top of the crossbar three minutes into the game.

The Woodland defense of Erica Poehailos, Olivia Kotsaftis, Jenna Mierek, Kaitlyn Leonard and keeper Isabela Mejias (8 saves) shut down the Eagles the rest of the way.

With 21 minutes left in the first half, the Hawks charged into the Wolcott end on a three-on-one breakaway. Sara Alessio managed to wrestle away a ball at midfield and steered a pass out in front to Aries Bell who shed a defender. Bell found Holly Plasky breaking down the middle unopposed, and her shot tied the game a 1-1.

Woodland’s Jillian O’Neil (17) and Wolcott’s Ella Vaughn (9) race to the ball Oct. 8 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

In the second half, Magdalena Lewicki got a pass through the defense to Letourneau, who scored the game-winning goal.

The Hawks’ three-game win streak included a 3-1 win over Portland in a non-league match Oct. 5. Bell scored twice for the Hawks and Poehailos added a goal. Mejias made seven saves.

Woodland kicks off the final six games of the regular season Friday against Watertown. The Hawks will have a week off before hosting Torrington Oct. 18. The following week, the Hawks have Seymour, a rematch with Watertown and Oxford.

“It’s only going to get crazy from here on out,” Witham said. “We still have Watertown twice and a very good Oxford team left, so a lot can happen as far as seeding go for the NVL tournament.”

“We certainly have some challenging games left that will test us and see where we are and what we need to improve on,” Witham added. “The next couple of weeks are going to be very exciting.”