Hawks spikers bounce back against Ansonia

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BEACON FALLS — That’s more like it.

After a dreadful performance Monday against Seymour in a 3-0 loss, the Woodland spikers got back on track Wednesday night in a sweep of Ansonia to maintain a three-way tie atop the Naugatuck Valley League overall standings by improving to 8-1.

The Hawks jumped out to early leads in each of the three games, only to have the Chargers close in midway through each. But it was Woodland’s precise kills and stout blocking—and more than a few Ansonia errors—that allowed the Black and Gold to win each game by at least eight points.

“I wanted to see less errors [than we had on Monday],” Woodland head coach Jim Amato said. “That was a key for us….After a good loss, you always prepare differently. We were a little more aggressive. We didn’t try to protect, we tried to attack.”

And attack they did. Junior Jess Patrizi established Woodland’s lead immediately in the match, gaining four service points to build a 5-0 lead. But Ansonia chipped away, narrowing the deficit to 14-13 before the Hawks reeled off four straight points to build some breathing room. Senior Lindsey Wirsing added four service points to give Woodland game point, and senior Steph Badale put the capitulation on the 25-17 game with a kill, assisted by Patrizi.

The second game was strikingly similar, with the Hawks mounting a 7-3 lead before the Chargers rallied to within 9-8. But senior Erika Barnett ended the Ansonia charge with a kill, allowing Wirsing to string together several service points to reestablish the lead. Woodland pulled away utilizing attacks from bench players, including juniors Lindsay Boland and Heather Framski, leading to a Patrizi kill on game point to give the Hawks a 25-15 win and a two-game lead.

“I think one of the reasons we’re sometimes successful is that we have two good teams [varsity and JV],” Amato explained. “Whichever team we put out on the floor, we don’t lose too much talent-wise. Everybody knows their role out there.”

Woodland remained aggressive at the outset of the third, as Framski and senior Emily Hutvagner tallied kills in the early going of the game. Six straight errors by Ansonia handed the Hawks an 11-4 advantage. But as had happened in the previous two games, the Chargers fought back, eventually making it 13-12.

Once again, though, a short service run—this time a four-point streak by senior Kate Frenette which featured an ace, a Badale kill, and a Hutvagner block—widened the gap to 18-12. Wirsing gained the serve at 22-15 and gave her team the opportunity to close out the match at 24-15. After a service error, Ansonia committed an error on the ensuing point to seal the game, 25-16, and the match.

“Tonight our offense started back up,” Amato said. “We found the floor tonight instead of hitting long….And our defense did a good job of not letting much hit the floor.”

At the halfway point of the season, the Hawks stand in a three-way tie atop the overall NVL standings with Seymour and Kennedy, but the Wildcats hold the edge over Woodland in the Brass Division thanks to Monday’s drubbing. The Hawks hit the road for two games against Wilby Friday and Wolcott Tuesday before a three-game homestand beginning Oct. 14.