BEACON FALLS — They might not be able to expect this kind of offense all season, but the Woodland girls showed the firepower Tuesday the league expects to see.
The Hawks scored twice in the first half and four times within the first 11 minutes of the second half to easily beat St. Paul 6-0 in the season opener.
Audra Blewitt scored in the eighth minute after she booted in a rebound from her first shot that clanged off the right post, giving Woodland a 1-0 lead.
Keri DeBiase scored the Hawks’ other goal of the first half on a penalty kick in the 21st minute, easily beating goalkeeper Mary Ranagan for a 2-0 lead.
Woodland only notched those two goals in the half despite 11 shots on net.
“I think we had plenty of opportunities in the first half but we didn’t make the right decisions in the attacking third,” Woodland coach Joe Fortier said. “We shot too quickly because I think we had some first-game jitters. Early in the second half we made much better decisions.”
The floodgates opened nearly immediately after halftime as Steph Dumond converted on a breakaway attempt just 24 seconds into the second half to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead.
Dumond struck again 2 ½ minutes later when inside the box Blewitt found the team’s leading goal scorer from a year ago to make it 4-0.
Four minutes later, Savannah Aviz earned her first goal of the year on a cross into the box from Marisa Macek to make it 5-0 before DeBiase finished the scoring in the 51st minute with a strike from inside the box.
After Woodland pulled back, Fortier said he thought the team’s passing through the middle of the field became better than it was all day.
“The key is Keri and Alexa [Casmiro] developing a relationship in the middle,” Fortier said. “We’ve always had good combinations in the middle and they’re starting to get comfortable. Today we got caught in a game where it became kickball a little bit and we bypassed the middle. Late in the game we started to possess the ball more and it got better. I think we had some good distribution.”
Woodland’s new defense, which only returns one starter in Alaina Neddermann, was up to the task in its first effort and gave up three shots. Alma Rizvani made saves on the only two strikes she saw.
“I think we’ll get better as the season goes on,” Fortier said of the defense. “It will still be a learning process as we go on. They’ll learn by fire. They did some things well but there are some things we need to be better at. We don’t have the speed to get some of the balls on the outside so we have to play those differently.”
The Hawks were set to host Sacred Heart on Thursday before road games next week at Torrington on Wednesday and Ansonia on Friday.