Woodland girls advance to NVL soccer final

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By Republican-American

WATERBURY — The Woodland High girls soccer team used a dominating second half to roll to a 3-0 victory over St. Paul in the Naugatuck Valley League semifinals Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium.

The top-seeded Hawks kept Falcons keeper Zoey Rubins busy by peppering her net with nearly 30 shots. Rubins turned aside 22 of them.

Sara Alessio scored two goals for Woodland, one in each half and both times off an assist by Delia Kotsaitis.

“Delia gave me a brilliant pass,” Alessio said of the first goal.

Freshman Michaela Gasparri got the second goal for the Hawks, booting in a cross by Paige Letourneau that grazed Rubins’ fingertips 11 minutes into the second half.

“We connected well with our passes. We switched the field and had great balls in transition, and we were looking for seams,” said Alessio of her team’s second-half play.

Isabela Mejias and Casey Mulligan shared the goal for Woodland and made three saves.

The Hawks will play No. 2 Holy Cross in the NVL final Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Woodland won once and tied the Crusaders in the regular season.

“It’s going to be intense,” Alessio said. “Hopefully, we can come together for the win.”

In the boys tournament, Naugatuck and Woodland both lost in the semifinals on Tuesday at Torrington High.

Top-seeded Holy Cross beat fourth-seeded Naugatuck, 4-1. Simon Diaz scored Naugatuck’s goal off an Adrian Szmitko assist in the second half.

No. 3 Watertown beat No. 2 Woodland, 1-0. Watertown’s Justin Calabrese bent a left-footed corner kick into the goal with just over 20 minutes left in the first half. Watertown goalie Lucas Fenn made 12 saves, including some close-in attempts by Woodland, to hold onto the win.

DJ Mulligan made five saves for Woodland.