By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — The pieces to Woodland volleyball’s puzzle are starting to come together.
The Hawks reeled off a seven-match winning streak from Sept. 21 to Oct. 5, which senior setter Kylie Bulinski said is indicative of how much the team has improved and jelled since the start of the year.
“Over the past few weeks, we have gotten much better as a team,” Bulinski said. “We communicate on the floor better than we did at the start of the season. The dedication and team culture has been getting better throughout the season. Each practice, we work harder to make ourselves better and to figure out what works best with different players on the court.”
That work paid off Oct. 5 in a 3-2 win over Wolcott, which was the first time this season that the Hawks had gone to five games. Woodland squeaked out a 15-13 win in the decisive final frame to extend its winning streak to seven.
Bulinski facilitated the offense with 24 assists, while Maille Ianniruberto led the attack with 10 kills and two blocks. Kalle Legassey tallied seven kills with two aces and 10 digs, and Sam Sosnovich added six kills and three aces.
Woodland faced another test Oct. 7 in its first of two regular-season meetings with two-time defending Class M state champion Seymour. Although the Hawks suffered a 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-18, 25-12) defeat, snapping their winning streak, Bulinski thought her team played well and will use the experience positively for future meetings with the Wildcats.
“We know what to expect now,” Bulinski said. “Seymour has great all-around players and it will only help us and prepare us to play them again. We know what they’re going to do.”
Ianniruberto had 11 kills and five blocks to pace the Hawks, while Bulinski dished out 21 assists with 11 digs, four blocks, two aces, and two kills. Legassey had 18 digs with five kills, and Amber Rosato notched eight digs with six kills.
The Hawks got back on track with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-11) win over Wilby Oct. 8 to improve to 9-3. Ianniruberto had eight kills and Ally Lisowski had three kills and four aces to lead the Hawks.
Woodland is set to play Waterbury Career Oct. 12 and Kennedy Oct. 14. Important matches loom for the Hawks over the final two weeks of the regular season, headlined by an Oct. 15 visit to Holy Cross, a return visit to Seymour on Oct. 21, and nonconference matches against Pomperaug Oct. 18 and Nonnewaug Oct. 25.
Bulinski said her team just needs to keep doing what it’s been doing to have a shot at championship success in November.
“[We have to] keep working hard in practice, minimizing errors, keeping that team culture and team bonding up and keeping positive energy on and off the court,” Bulinski said.