Hawks fans might not even realize just how special this fall season was in the Woods. Let’s examine.
We all know the football team gets—and always has gotten—all the glory and all the coverage (guilty here). And while the Woodland gridders had a solid, 6-4 season (the Hawks’ eighth winning record in 10 varsity seasons), the other fall teams posted some of the best results in school history.
There’s no better place to start than the Woodland boys soccer team. Many, many years ago (two and a half) when I was a little Hawkling, our boys soccer team was rarely a strong squad. But Tony Moutinho kept improving the team. From 2006-11, his team improved its record five out of six times.
Last season, Woodland won its first-ever Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division championship with a 13-6 overall record, by far the best record in school history. With most players returning, this season was going to be better.
But I’m not sure anybody envisioned a 15-0-1 regular-season record, an 18-1-1 overall record, the top seed in the Class M state tournament, another Brass Division title, and the program’s first-ever league championship.
Watching the Hawks this year was just plain fun. Eric Dietz blew away the school record with 36 goals, which led the state. Mike Segala scored 15 goals—that’s a lot—and rarely made many headlines because of Dietz’s ridiculous number.
The team was the sixth to enjoy an unbeaten regular season. It would have been the fifth, but this year’s volleyball team got there first by just a few days.
Jim Amato’s spikers just seem to reload every year. The Hawks had lost almost their entire rotation (again) as well as the best player in school history, Jess Patrizi. That didn’t matter one bit.
Woodland went 18-0 in the regular season, winning six five-set matches along the way, and captured another Brass Division title. While the Hawks were unexpectedly bounced in the NVL tournament quarterfinals (remember, they only got to practice one during that crazy power-outage week), they rebounded to take advantage of their No. 1 seed in the Class M tournament and tie a school record by reaching the quarterfinals.
The boys soccer and volleyball teams were only the second and third teams to ever have top seeds in state tournaments (bonus points if you guessed the 2004 football team as the first No. 1 seed).
But wait, there was more.
The girls soccer team posted the second-best record in program history with a 13-4-3 mark, reaching the NVL semifinals (and barely losing on penalty kicks) and the Class M second round.
The team featured one of the most talented lineups in school history with players like Keri DeBiase, Steph Dumond, Kelly Boucher, Kelly Sherman, Alma Rizvani, and others. Luckily for Joe Fortier’s Hawks, DeBiase and Dumond will return to bring back one of the top scoring threats in the league.
We haven’t even gotten to the girls swimming and diving squad, which easily set a school record with a 13-1-1 dual-meet record. The Hawks also set a program record with a fourth-place finish at the Class S state championships and tied a school record with a third-place showing at the NVL meet.
This year’s Hawks might have their names on the Woodland record board for years to come. Dayna Chucta and Jen Tavares will remember their senior years with league championships, school records, and all-state performances, while Katie-Jean Hinckley won a pair of events at the NVL meet and has her name etched in the record book as much as anyone.
Even the cross country teams, which didn’t have their best seasons, were highly competitive with mostly underclassmen. Jeff Lownds is already excited about the potential of those teams in 2012.
And so it went, perhaps the best single sports season in Woodland history. I hope you didn’t miss it, because there’s no telling if it will ever happen like this again.