Woodland girls’ soccer, volleyball bounced

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The seasons of the Woodland girls’ soccer and volleyball teams ended last week as both teams lost in the second round of their Class M state tournaments. The girls’ soccer team, seeded No. 14 in the class, fell to No. 3 Joel Barlow, 7-0, last Thursday in Redding, while the fourth-ranked volleyball team was upset by No. 13 Tolland, 3-1, last Wednesday in Beacon Falls.

The girls’ soccer team finished with a 10-6-2 overall record, including a 9-4-2 mark in the Naugatuck Valley League regular season. The Hawks earned the No. 4 seed in the NVL tournament before losing to Holy Cross in the tournament quarterfinals.

Woodland earned its first state tournament win since 2007 with a 3-1 first-round win over No. 19 Enfield last Tuesday in Beacon Falls before being shut out by perhaps the best team in Class M, Joel Barlow. Barlow was set to play against No. 2 Suffield in the Class M semifinals Wednesday night.

Senior captain Raven Palmerie said her team didn’t have expectations for this season as much as it had goals—literally and figuratively—in mind.

“I wouldn’t call them expectations as much as goals because you never knew with our team,” Palmerie said. “We never expected much, we just strove to be the best and come out as a competitive team.”

All in all, Palmerie said, she feels her team had a successful season.

“We met our goals which were to be in the top half of the NVL tourney and make states,” Palmerie said. “When we made the state tourney our next goal was to get past the first round. A common goal has been to improve each year and with our record and statistics we did improve.”

Palmerie, who finally earned all-state honors in her last season, didn’t lead the team in terms of stats but provided a valuable, veteran voice to lead a team that featured only four seniors.

“I think this season has been my best,” Palmerie said. “I finally accomplished my ultimate goal of getting all-state. To me, this year wasn’t about getting the goals or glory but making the girls around me play like a team. That was the only way we’d succeed. I passed the ball a lot and put my teammates in a position to succeed.”

The volleyball team posted an 18-4 overall record, including a 16-2 ledger in the NVL regular season. The Hawks advanced to their fifth NVL tournament championship game in the last six seasons but fell short to an excellent Seymour team, 3-1.

The No. 4-seeded Hawks earned a first-round bye in the Class M state tournament but were upset in the second round by No. 13 Tolland, 3-1 (25-18, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18).

Still, it was a remarkable season for a team that lost seven of its eight regular players from the 2009 NVL championship team. But it wasn’t a surprise to senior Jess Patrizi.

“I expected us to [play this well],” Patrizi said. “As freshmen, we had a great team and great chemistry. Even though we had a ‘rebuilding year,’ it wasn’t one in the sense that we already played together before and I think that really helped us get as far as we did.”

She says the way Woodland reloads instead of rebuilds is a testament to the dedication of the coaching staff, led by Jim Amato.

“Coach Amato prepares all levels for good volleyball,” Patrizi said. “In practice, no matter what level, we all would scrimmage each other and warm up together. I think that helps with boosting the skill level because even our youngest players can keep up with the varsity play.”

Patrizi, who was again named to the NVL all-tournament team and will undoubtedly have more awards coming her way, says she hopes to play in college next fall.

“The coach at St. Joseph wants me to play for her team,” Patrizi said, “so if all goes well, I will.”