Up to the challenge

Woodland’s Megen Sirowich (12) pushes the ball up the field as Naugatuck’s Erin Doris (5) defends Sept. 15 at Naugatuck High School. Woodland won the game, 1-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls soccer team entered the season with some big holes to fill after the graduation of three-year, starting goalie Jenna Pannone and All-NVL offensive players Gillian Hotchkiss and Sam Plasky.

The Hawks have met the challenge, so far.

Woodland cruised on Tuesday to a 9-0 win over Derby. Haley Andrews led the scoring onslaught for the Hawks (4-1) with three goals and three assists.

The only blemish on Woodland’s record is a tough 2-1 defeat to last year’s NVL champion Watertown last Tuesday.

“I thought we maintained possession well against Watertown,” Woodland head coach Cait Witham said. “We managed to shut down Meadow Mancini for 70 minutes. She is a very good player, but if we had converted our opportunities it would have been a different game.

“Watertown had three shots on goal and scored two goals. We had 11 shots on goal and scored once. We need to learn how to finish if we are going to be successful against a team like Watertown.”

The Hawks quickly put the loss behind them with a pair of 1-0 victories over Naugatuck last Friday and Brookfield on Saturday.

“Against Watertown we just didn’t finish our opportunities. Today, against Naugatuck, we didn’t create enough opportunities and spent much of the second half just kicking the ball around,” said Witham after the Naugatuck game.

Woodland’s Haley Andrews (8) and Naugatuck’s Angelina Oliveria (17) battle for the ball Sept. 15 at Naugatuck High School. Woodland won the game, 1-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

“That puts us in a situation where towards the end of the game we are panicking because we didn’t build up enough of a cushion,” Witham added. “It’s frustrating when we don’t finish and can’t get it into the back of the net.”

Woodland scored just over two minutes into the game against Naugatuck when Andrews steered a pass to junior Karly Laliberte for the only goal of the game. Woodland goalie Alanna Carasone made it stand up by recording seven saves for the shutout.

Woodland escaped with the win at Brookfield with Laliberte scoring the only goal of the game for the second game in a row. Megen Sirowich lent the assist.

The Hawks will finish out the week on Friday at home against St. Paul.