By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — After a 3-0-1 start to the boys soccer season, Woodland coach Kenan Collins is happy with how his Hawks look — but he’s even happier that they’ve gotten to play some teams outside the Valley.
Woodland, which ripped through its COVID-induced division-only schedule last season, opened the year with a nonleague contest against Brookfield and a matchup with perennial Naugatuck Valley League championship contender Watertown. The Hawks didn’t see either team in 2020.
“It was nice to see us start the season with two great results right off the bat,” said Collins, referring to the 1-1 tie against Brookfield on Sept. 9 and the 3-2 win over Watertown on Sept. 11.
Last year, Collins joined everyone’s frustration in not having a traditional season. He said this year has felt like a typical season from the start, and the vibe is better than ever.
“It was difficult to get a good look at the kids [last year],” Collins said. “I was aware of some of our players, but I also integrated new players. We had a more natural flow this year, and the kids responded to it. Just the fact that they don’t have to adhere to so many restrictions, you get to see them in their soccer-loving state.”
Woodland followed up the big win over Watertown with 8-0 and 9-0 routs of Watertown and Ansonia, respectively.
Alex Farr and Preston Alessio have led the scoring onslaught to start the season.
“A lot of our goals are coming through junior Alex Farr and sophomore Preston Alessio,” Collins said. “If it’s Preston banging in a goal, it’s probably because Alex fed him, and vice versa.”
A two-week layoff thanks to a few postponements left the Hawks with a busy October slate, featuring 12 matches in 27 days. It’s set to begin Oct. 1 at Derby, followed by an Oct. 4 rivalry match at Naugatuck. They’ll return home Oct. 8 vs. Torrington.
“We have some big challenges coming up,” Collins said. “They’re challenges that I know the boys will be up for, but because of rescheduling a lot of games, they’re going to play a lot in a short amount of time. They’ve just got to keep themselves in good shape, and they’re ready to prove themselves.”