BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls soccer team rallied once, but the Hawks couldn’t do it again.
The eighth-seeded Hawks bowed out of the Class M state quarterfinals for the second year in a row with a 2-1 loss to No. 16 Weston on a chilly afternoon last Friday in Beacon Falls.
Woodland (14-6-1) had reached the quarters with a thrilling, 2-1 comeback victory over No. 9 Plainfield last Wednesday. The Hawks battled the Panthers to a scoreless draw in the first half before Plainfield took a 1-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the second half.
The score remained that way for the next 26 minutes, when Audra Blewitt controlled a header by Hailey Borris atop the box. Blewitt took one touch and left-footed a shot just inside the right post for the equalizer with 11:56 left in regulation.
Nine minutes later, Blewitt struck again for the game-winner. Plainfield keeper Serena Gunter aggressively came out and stopped a shot from the right side, but she couldn’t control the ball. Blewitt tracked down the loose ball just outside the 6-yard box and tapped a shot that deflected off the inside of the left post and into the goal for the 2-1 lead.
The Hawks went into comeback mode again in the second half of last Friday’s quarterfinal against Weston. The Trojans scored two goals in a 100-second stretch, thanks to a pair of lasers by Whitney Farber and Audrey Dannenbaum that left Woodland coach Cait Witham impressed by the stars from the South-West Conference.
“These SWC teams — I don’t know where they teach the kids to kick,” Witham said. “One of their girls went upper-90 from 30 yards out. It was like, really?”
That was Farber, who lined up for a direct kick with 31 minutes left in regulation after a scoreless first half. She drilled it into the left upper-90, allowing no chance to Woodland goalkeeper Erika Tyrrell.
At the 29:14 mark of the half, it was Dannenbaum’s turn. She played a touch in the middle of the field, about 25 yards away from net, and let loose a shot in traffic. It, too, was a rocket that snuck under the crossbar for a 2-0 Weston lead.
“After the first half, when we had missed a few chances that should have been in the net, we came out in the second half knowing that we had to play our game,” Dannenbaum said. “We had to control possession and find each other’s feet, which we did.”
Woodland stuck around, cutting the lead in half with 17:48 to play when Borris made a run down the left side and crossed in the box to a streaking Samantha Plasky, who rippled the net past Weston goalkeeper Ursula Alwang.
“That keeper is legit,” Witham said. “For us to get a goal past her was good for the girls.”
The Hawks had a number of chances for the equalizer inside the last 10 minutes, but Alwang made two saves on point-blank shots by Shae Geary and Jess Rodrigues to preserve the win.
“I was happy with the way they played,” Witham said. “Our first two rounds, we didn’t play our game and we waited to respond to other teams. We played hard through everything today. It sucks that we lost, but they couldn’t have done anything more.”