Woodland girls maintained focus


By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

Woodland’s Kaitlyn Leonard (13) runs in to defend as Naugatuck’s Julianna Magalhaes (10) winds up to kick the ball up the field in front of Woodland’s Delia Kotsaftis (11) during a game Nov. 2 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls soccer team finished the regular season about as close to perfect as the Hawks could get.

Woodland ended the season 11-0-1 with wins over Naugatuck, 2-0, on Nov. 2 and Ansonia, 3-0, on Nov. 4

“It certainly was a good surprise to finish the way we did,” head coach Cait Witham said. “Considering with what we were up against with the restrictions and guidelines we needed to follow.”

“You just didn’t know what to expect and how the girls would respond, especially early on in the season,” she added. “But we had a real solid core of seniors who helped keep the team focused and doing what they needed to do to be successful.”

Woodland was led by seniors Erica Poehailos, Aries Bell, Holly Plasky, Ava DeLucia, Magdalena Lewicki, Abby Colt and Natalie Miranda.

The Hawks were the top seed in the Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division tournament before the Naugatuck Valley League canceled the postseason on Monday due to mounting concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woodland’s Abby Colt (12) fends off Naugatuck’s Aubrey Deller (16) to get possession of the ball during a game Nov. 2 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

The Hawks scored 50 goals during the regular season and allowed just 10 goals. Woodland also recorded six shutouts.

“The hallmark of our teams are usually a strong defense and that’s what we relied on this season,” Witham said. “That is our bread and butter. Our four defenders have played as well as we could have hoped for.”

Poehailos, Katy Moore, Jenna Mierek and Kaitlyn Leonard lead the defense. Isabela Mejias and Casey Mulligan split duties in the net.

It’s fitting that the Hawks ended the regular season with a pair of shutouts.

Naugatuck’s Emma Sonski (8) controls the ball as Woodland’s Paige Letourneau (18) pressures her during a game Nov. 2 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Mulligan made six saves against Naugy to keep the Greyhounds off the scoreboard. Sara Alessio and Paige Letourneau provided the offense with a goal each. Colt had an assist.

Mejias made two saves in the win over Ansonia. Emily Ruhl, Mulligan and Alessio tallied goals. Letournea, DeLucia and Plasky had assists.

“The upperclassman helped to maintain the standard that we like to build on,” Witham said. “The way this season has unfolded and the challenges that needed to be overcome you just never knew from one day to the next what the path would look like.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article published in the Nov. 12 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on the Naugatuck Valley League canceling the postseason.