Woodland girls drop first NVL match in finals

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Woodland's Alexa Casimiro, left, tries to get to the ball controlled by Watertown's Erin Montambault during the NVL championship game Saturday afternoon at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Watertown took home the victory, winning 2-0. –RA ARCHIVE

WATERBURY — As Woodland girls soccer coach Joe Fortier said last Saturday afternoon, it’s pretty hard to be both good and lucky every single time on the pitch.

The No. 1-seeded Hawks lost their first Naugatuck Valley League game in the tournament final last weekend at Municipal Stadium, falling to No. 2 Watertown 2-0.

Woodland (17-2) allowed both goals in the first half and never recovered, despite having plenty of opportunities.

“We had some chances in the box but it just didn’t fall,” Fortier said. “It’s pretty hard to go 17 games without that happening to you once. It just stinks to have it happen now.”

The Hawks had an opportunity to score the game’s first goal but in the 16th minute Keri DeBiase was pulled down from behind while streaking into the box. The officials made no call and Watertown cleared the ball.

Five minutes later, the Indians broke the ice when Lilyann Cotas netted a goal after the Hawks failed to clear a ball in the box.

Woodland had the best of chances over the next 10 minutes, too, but a throw and a cross by DeBiase were directed just high by Alexa Casimiro and Jess Rodrigues.

The Indians scored again in the 32nd minute when Erin Montambault found herself in front of Woodland’s defense on another failed clear. Montambault appeared to be offside but the officials again made no call.

“The two goals, we just couldn’t get the ball off our line,” Fortier said. “You can’t give teams chances like that, no matter how good your goalkeeper is. I thought we had some breaks go against us.”

Woodland had three corners within the first six minutes of the second half but couldn’t convert and only had a handful of opportunities throughout the rest of the match.

“We played tight and nervous,” Fortier said. “You can’t win games when you’re not aggressive to the ball. Going up against a stacked defense and the wind in the second half, it was just too much for us.”

DeBiase, Rizvani and Audra Blewitt earned All-NVL honors after the game. DeBiase was also named the NVL’s Top Senior.

Woodland begins state tournament play Monday after earning a bye into the second round. The No. 2 Hawks will host either No. 15 Platt Tech or No. 18 Holy Cross on Monday at 2 p.m.

“You can’t hang your head,” Fortier said. “We’re going to try to go as far as we can in the state tournament. It’s the only thing we can do to salvage the season.”