MILFORD — The winningest season in Woodland volleyball history came to an end last Friday in the Class M quarterfinals, as the fifth-seeded Hawks dropped a 3-1 (25-12, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22) decision to fourth-seeded Jonathan Law.
As indicated by the scores, the first two games swung all the momentum in the favor of Jonathan Law, which lost only two matches during the regular season. Woodland junior Jessica Patrizi summed up simply the opening two frames as “really bad.”
“We were adjusting to Law, and it was just something you wish you could forget,” said Patrizi, who led her team once again with 21 assists to go with seven digs and two kills.
“They were a very good team, and their defense was able to pick up a lot of our hits,” added senior Emily Hutvagner, who made six kills, two assists, and two blocks.
Law looked as though it was going to run away with the third game as well, leading 11-1 with all the momentum it could ask for. But the Hawks clawed away and, with a few key service runs, rallied to win the game, 25-23, and extend their tournament lives.
Woodland maintained some momentum into game four, holding an early lead that dwindled as time went on. Patrizi attributed the Hawks’ eventual 25-22 collapse in the game to mounting pressure.
“I think we saw we were in the lead, and then we felt the pressure,” she said. “It was one of those times when nobody wanted to be the one to make the mistake.”
In their final match as seniors, Erika Barnett tallied six kills and two blocks and Steph Badale notched 14 digs and six kills.
Despite the loss, Woodland finished with a school-record 20 wins against just three losses, including its second Naugatuck Valley League championship in three years and the farthest state tournament run in program history, besting the previous mark of reaching the second round.
“I definitely think the season was really successful,” Hutvagner said. “We enjoyed it a lot because we all became really close and loved playing together. Our goal was to take it one match at a time, and I think we really came out and accomplished a lot, but I do believe we still could have had a couple matches to play.”
“We definitely wanted to go farther in states, but on the whole, we lived up to our expectations,” Patrizi added. “We wanted to win the Brass Division, the NVL, and states. We came close to winning the Brass and won NVLs, so we did very well. Even though we lost in states, we made it to the quarterfinals, and that’s the farthest Woodland volleyball has ever gotten in states. I think that’s an accomplishment.”