Round of Applause
High school sports are finally back, and we’re excited as ever here at Citizen’s News. Fall sports season is perhaps the most special one here in the Valley with the success of the local teams over the years, but even more so because it gets us back in the groove of heading back to high school to watch our alma maters, our siblings, our friends, and our kids compete in the best sports weather there is. I’m still waiting for the seasons to change, but that turnover is finally almost here. I got my first taste of fall sports coverage on Tuesday when I pulled a soccer-volleyball double-dip, and I can’t wait to dive into football at the end of the week. (By the way, when the weather gets cooler I may just have a new signature attire going on the sidelines.) Most of our local teams are poised to have very successful seasons and we want to make the most of them at CN, so we’ll have as much game coverage as well as photos and video on our website at mycitizensnews.com. Besides that content, we’ll have plenty more happening on (cue to read next section)…
Twitter is going to be a major tool for us this season. Make sure you follow CN on Twitter @mycitizensnews for live scoring updates at the games we’re at as well as final score updates and other news and schedule information. In addition, I’ll be tweeting at every game I’m at—even ones from not in our area—on my personal account @kylebrennan1, so you’ll definitely want to check that out. For Woodland fans, all live score updates and news for just the Hawks can be followed @WRHShawks. If you’re not on Twitter yet, you’ll definitely want to be this high school sports season. (Oh yeah, did I mention @mycitizensnews has general news and story updates, too? Something for everybody.)
Chorus of Boos
Warm weather needs to exit our area now. Summer’s great while it lasts, but once we hit the time for school and especially the time for fall sports season, I don’t want to see the temperature in the 70s—let alone 80s—anymore. (I’ll let you get over your collective groan and complaints now.) I understand many people love the warm weather and want it to last forever, but there’s something special about the cooler weather sweeping in for autumn. When I think of soccer and football, I think of colder weather with a breeze so that I have to actually put on some clothes. It’s no fun when you’re sweating while trying to watch a game in the fall. It won’t kill you to pull out that old, goofy-looking sweater with the felt leaves and oversized acorn buttons—or if you’re a little more modern, your hooded sweatshirt or Under Armour—and wear that to the game. The cold weather is part of what makes this season so special, and it needs to get here in a hurry.
American tennis has failed us yet again. Granted, four American men made the US Open Round of 16 for the first time in almost a decade and two of them—Andy Roddick and John Isner—got into the quarterfinals. But both lost fairly easily in those quarterfinals, setting up the semifinals featuring the four best players in the world: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray. Three out of those four are still very young and have plenty of years left in their prime while Federer is Federer. With Roddick now 29 years old (approaching dinosaur status in men’s tennis years) and the other Americans not able to do any better than a Slam quarterfinal in years, it’s almost time to give up hope of any American man breaking through until those Big Four retire. I can’t take the letdown anymore. Sad face.
Word from the Woods
If both offense and defense should be strong points for Woodland this season, then both got off to a great start in Tuesday’s 4-0 opening victory over St. Paul in Bristol. Riley Shaw tallied a pair of goals while Keri DeBiase and Ariana Caruso tacked on scores. Caruso, Kelly Boucher, Marisa Macek, and Steph Dumond each had assists for the Hawks, who stay on the road for a meeting with Sacred Heart on Thursday before opening their home schedule in a showdown with Torrington.
Girls Swimming and Diving
The Hawks began what is poised to be a record-setting season with a 98-88 victory over nonconference opponent East Catholic on Tuesday night in Beacon Falls. The team’s individual stars—Katie-Jean Hinckley, Jen Tavares, Chrissy Leeper, and Dayna Chucta—all had their usual solid performances. Hinckley won the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 4.93 seconds and took the 500 free in 5:32.46. Tavares earned wins in both freestyle sprints, finishing the 50 free in 26.20 seconds and the 100 free in 56.15 seconds. Leeper won the 100 fly in 1:07.67 while Chucta narrowly missed her school record in diving, posting a score of 209.05 to take the event. The Hawks’ 200 free relay team of Tavares, Sydney Corneau, Leeper, and Hinckley earned the team’s only relay victory of the night in 1:51.24. Woodland begins its NVL schedule on Friday afternoon against Holy Cross at Kennedy before returning home for three-straight meets, starting with Monday afternoon’s contest against East Haven.
Woodland starts its season on Saturday at the Wilton Invitational before the first league meet of the season when the Hawks travel to Veterans Park in Watertown to take on the Indians as well as Wilby, Torrington, and Crosby.
The Naugatuck girls soccer began its season in typical Greyhounds fashion—with a blowout victory. The ‘Hounds crushed Sacred Heart, 8-0, in the borough on Tuesday night thanks to Alexya Alves’ four goals and Isabelle Moody’s two. Angelina Piccirillo and Katie Bottinick tallied the other two Naugy goals while Piccirillo, Katerina Gullotta, and Christina Jando added assists. Kaitlin Carter only had to make one save for the Greyhounds, who hit the road for the first time on Friday afternoon to face St. Paul. Naugy returns home to host Ansonia and Wolcott for night games on Monday and Wednesday.
Girls Swimming and Diving
The ‘Hounds begin their season on Friday night in a home meet against Kennedy, their only meet of the week, before four-straight away meets, beginning with Watertown on Sept. 24.
Naugy’s runners see their first action of the season at Saturday’s Windham Invitational before their first NVL meet of the season in Bristol to take on St. Paul and Seymour.
Lips to CN’s Ear
“Guys are going to have to step up and right now we are not getting that across the board. One of our guys is injured but will be back Tuesday. One of our other guys didn’t even bother to show up today. Where is his commitment? So far in the preseason we have looked like a young team. We are trying to build off every practice and every scrimmage.”
Naugatuck football coach Rob Plasky on the commitment he wants to see from the Greyhounds. The Greyhounds lost most of their skill position players from last season’s NVL championship squad which beat Ansonia and qualified for the Class L playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. In order for Naugy to compete in what should be a very even Copper Division, the team will need new players to step up to replace the voids left by graduation.
“It’s a team effort. There’s 11 on the field at the same time, and there’s 40 strong we’ve got. Even when Jack was here, it was still about the team. Football, especially, you need everybody to be on the same page. Jack’s tough to replace. We’re not asking anybody to replace him, but we need everyone to step up their game this year.”
Woodland football coach Tim Shea on how the team will move forward without Jack DeBiase, one of the best players in program history. The Hawks return their entire offensive line and most of their defensive front seven, as well as running back Matt Zaccagnini, who figures to be the main feature of the offense. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Kingsley will be the new signal-caller and could develop as a strong offensive option as the season moves on.
“We’re ready to win. This was a good team we played today. We got the breaks today but overall we had a good game. We used our speed up front to take advantage, our midfielders controlled the tempo, and the defense shut the door on them.”
Woodland boys soccer coach Tony Moutinho after the Hawks’ season-opening 4-0 victory over Ansonia. The Hawks played an extremely even game all over the field, highlighted by lightning-quick forwards Eric Dietz (two goals) and Nick LaPerriere (one), a solid midfield, and a very strong defensive unit. Woodland is poised to make a strong run at not only defending its Brass Division title, but potentially to bid for its first-ever NVL championship.