Round of Applause
Aside from it being the middle of the best season that high school sports have to offer, this is a much more boo-worthy week. Please, enjoy my gripes.
Chorus of Boos
Ties are the worst. Perhaps it’s because I have always been much more a fan of sports that don’t usually end in ties, but I really can’t stand it when a soccer game ends in a tie. There is something so unsatisfying about a game ending with no winner. I could be wrong, but isn’t the point of a game to find a winner—the better team? A tie does not accomplish that. I know sometimes it’s hard to figure out a way to end a game, whether it’s by penalty kicks (which isn’t great), or full overtime periods, or sudden death, but ties are awful. Both the Woodland boys and girls tied with Watertown, one of the league’s best on both sides, Monday. I suppose the Hawks could be somewhat pleased that they’re at least on the level of the Indians, but having a result one way or the other must be more desirable. At least we get winners in the postseason.
Rain is also the worst. (I know, you can’t have two worsts. Well, we do this week.) It’s incredible how much rain we’ve had over the last month. Doesn’t the saying go, “April showers bring May flowers?” Nowhere in that phrase do we find “September” or “October.” Please, enough is enough. If it’s going to precipitate, let it be snow! (I look forward to your angry letters.)
The New York Jets are also the worst. (Heck, I’ve got two already. Might as well make it three.) That was the most brutal offensive performance I can remember that team having since … well, ever. Even last year’s 45-3 loss to the Patriots wasn’t that bad. The Jets’ offense didn’t hand New England three touchdowns in that game. I might be in the minority of still liking Mark Sanchez, so I’ll defend him as much as possible by saying the offensive line was dreadful. But, come on, Mark. Jeez. All good things must come to an end, I suppose.
Word from the Woods
With Sunday’s 48-10 demolishing of nonconference opponent Jonathan Law, it’s safe to say the Hawks are back on track. Woodland scored 48 unanswered points after falling behind, 3-0, on a field goal in the first quarter, which culminated the drive that was interrupted by lightning last Friday. Matt Zaccagnini rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns while Tanner Kingsley threw for 110 yards and two more scores to Anthony Scirpo and Zach Plourde. Kyle McClintick returned a kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown, Taylor Tucciarone scored on a 21-yard run, and Levi Fancher forced a fumble with a thunderous sack. With the win, the Hawks improved to 2-1 and will resume Copper Division play this week with a trip to Municipal Stadium on Friday to take on winless Kennedy. Woodland is 1-0 in the division after an opening-week win over Sacred Heart.
Woodland lost a meet for the first time last week, but still managed a split and currently sits at 5-1-1 on the year. The Hawks suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Watertown last Friday, 104-82. Woodland won a number of events but the Indians were able to pull away with their depth. Katie-Jean Hinckley won three events, including the 200-yard freestyle, the 500 free, and the 200 medley relay with Chrissy Leeper, Jen Tavares, and Sydney Corneau. Leeper also won the 200 IM and the 100 fly while Tavares earned victories in the 100 free and the 100 back. Dayna Chucta was the best diver at the meet with a score of 193.15. Woodland rebounded with a 59-41 win over Wilby on Tuesday. Event winners included Anna Boris (200 free), Emily Soulier (200 IM), Kim Thrasher (diving), Becca Grabowski (100 fly), Jesse Erickson (100 free), Emily Trumbley (500 free), the 200 medley relay team (Emma Sardinskas, Sam Solomon, Whitney Stow, Erickson), and the 400 free relay team (Sardinskas, Thrasher, Carolyn Luddy, Boris). Next up for the Hawks is a home meet against Naugatuck at 6 p.m. Friday before they host Seymour on Oct. 12.
The Woodland cross country teams enjoyed successful weeks, both going 2-1 at their lone meet of the week on Tuesday at home against St. Paul, Wolcott, and Sacred Heart. The boys beat St. Paul, 21-35, and Sacred Heart, 21-37, but narrowly lost to Wolcott, 29-30. Woodland placed four runners in the top 10, including Joe Reynolds (19:05, fifth), Ian Chamenko (19:06, sixth), Dave Terni (19:55, eighth), and Kyle Beynor (20:03, ninth). The girls had the same overall results, beating Sacred Heart, 19-36, and St. Paul, 22-35, but losing to Wolcott, 23-38. The hawks placed two runners in the top 10, including Mary Sardinskas (21:21, second) and Stephanie Kiley (21:46, third). The boys are now 4-5 while the girls sit at 6-3. Both teams prepare to face Seymour and Holy Cross on Oct. 12 at Seymour.
Naugatuck remained one of the four unbeaten squads in the NVL with an easy, 33-6 victory on Saturday afternoon over St. Paul. Jake Yourison had another superb game, rushing for 180 yards and three touchdowns from 1, 8, and 14 yards to lead Naugy to the win. Mike Schebell also rushed for a career-high 93 yards and a 2-yard touchdown while also catching a 71-yard touchdown pass from Zac Mercer. Mercer was 8-of-12 for 180 yards, completing five passes for 62 yards to Mick Pernell, who returned after sitting out Week 2 with an injury. The Greyhounds’ win was their first in Copper Division play and has them at 3-0 overall. Naugy continues division play this week when it gets set to host its first game of the season at Veterans Field on a Friday night with Sacred Heart visiting. The Hearts are 0-2.
The Greyhounds edged Seymour, 90-78, last Friday. Event winners included Elizabeth Walsh (200 free), Amanda Miller (100 free), Rebecca Doback (500 free), and Maria Carranza (100 breast). Despite winning just those four events, Naugy’s depth was able to pile up the points for the victory. Naugatuck, now 2-1, has two meets scheduled for this week. The Greyhounds get started by visiting Woodland on Friday night before heading to Kennedy on Tuesday to face Sacred Heart.
Both the Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams remained undefeated at their tri-meet on Tuesday at Torrington. The boys beat Holy Cross, 16-41, and Crosby, 15-46. Muad Hrezi won the race in 16:38. Other top-10 finishers for the ‘Hounds included Nick Moriello (16:39, second), Dan Schumacher (16:39, third), Jake Simons (16:40, fourth), and Mike Uva (16:42, sixth). The girls also beat Holy Cross, 28-30, Crosby, 15-50, and Torrington, 23-35. Jordyn Allen was the Greyhounds’ top finisher, placing second in 20:27. Other top-10 finishers included Samantha Hilse (22:05, fifth), Lindsey Thoren (23:11, eighth), and Madison Beasley (23:33, 10th). Both squads are now 7-0 and will get set for their final race of the NVL regular season on Oct. 12 at Veterans’ Park in Watertown against Wilby, Wolcott, Sacred Heart, and Watertown.
CN Athletes of the Week
Coming into the season, Naugatuck knew they had the backs to establish the running game. There was a question mark with concerns of a legitimate passing attack to complement that running game. To have a balanced offense, the ‘Hounds needed to have both aspects working so opponents couldn’t just focus on shutting down the run.
Naugatuck’s Zac Mercer is my choice for athlete of the week for his ability as quarterback to give the Greyhounds that two-dimensional attack they needed to get off to a 3-0 start. Mercer was 8-of-12 passing for 180 yards and a touchdown in the Greyhounds’ 33-6 win over St. Paul on Saturday. For the season, Mercer is completing 59 percent of his passes, going 18-of-30 for 356 yards and three touchdowns.
We’re in the third week of handing out our athlete of the week awards, and somehow we’ve yet to give the honor to any Woodland boys soccer player. Perhaps the biggest reason of many for the Hawks’ undefeated start is their play up front. Woodland’s Eric Dietz led the NVL in scoring a season ago and is busy terrorizing opposing goalkeepers again this year.
Dietz scored two goals last Wednesday against Oxford and piled up four more in an 8-0 win over Wolcott last Friday. Six goals for most players in a season would be something to hang their hats on—Dietz managed it in just two games. Sure, he’s not the only one scoring for the potent Hawks, but opponents can’t let him get loose with his incredible speed and great ball-handling skills.