Girls pg 9 4-5-18

The Woodstock Centaurs girls’ lacrosse team is already ahead of the game.
In her third year as head coach of the program, Kathleen Johnson found it refreshing that she got the season off to a different kind of start.
“This is the first year in which I have come into practice and tryouts and haven’t had to teach rules. We’re already going into strategies. That’s exciting. The progress of the past few years, introducing the girls who were playing for the first time, now we’re ready to go,” said Johnson.
That comes even though the Centaurs have only one senior, Madison Brennan, on the roster. Brennan is just coming off a successful basketball season where the Centaurs advanced to the Class L quarterfinals for a second consecutive year.
“Lacrosse is definitely my favorite sport. I’m excited to start the season,” Brennan said. “My mom forced me to play when I was younger.  I didn’t want to, but I’m glad she did because now, I just don’t want it to end. I want to play in college. That’s the goal.”
Brennan is one piece of the puzzle, a very athletic player who caused opposing offenses and defenses fits in basketball with her athleticism.
On the lacrosse team, she will have plenty who share that trait.
“We’re going to be a very fast team so we’re going to, hopefully, play a transition game and that athleticism is going to help us,” Johnson said.
In addition to Brennan, the Centaurs will feature junior Ivy Gelhaus, one of 12 juniors on the roster, who comes over from a very successful soccer season.
There is also Emma Ciquera whom Johnson will use just about anywhere on the field and midfielders Emma Redfield, Ellie Jellison and Aislin Tracey.
“It’s a fast game. I play midfield so I go from one end to the other and speed is definitely the No. 1 thing,” Brennan said.
“If you have a quick team, you have an advantage,” Johnson said. “The field is big, 120 yards with the 10 yards in back of each goal. You have to be in shape. You have to have speed to move the ball up-and-down and also defend,” Johnson said.
It’s why she is happy that the Centaurs are deep enough to be able to sub at middie this season.
Brennan will take the majority of draws for the Centaurs and will be trying to get the ball to junior attack Arielle Johnson.
“We will rely on (Arielle Johnson) to finish,” Kathleen Johnson said.
Redfield, Tracey, and Katie Mason, all played indoor lacrosse in the offseason and should be able to help offensively.
Ciquera will lead the defensive unit.
After that, there are some questions in the back.
The Centaurs lost defensive stalwart, Katherine Dalimonte, to graduation.
“It’s something we have to work on as a team. I’m not quite sure who we will be relying on back there,” Kathleen Johnson said.
That defense will be in front of a freshman keeper.
Kileigh Gagnon takes over in the net for the Centaurs.
“She played Pomfret Youth Lacrosse and I coached her a few years back, so she does have experience, but it will definitely be a task for her to come in and start varsity. We all have complete confidence in her,” Kathleen Johnson said. “It’s the defense’s job to stop the ball. She is the last one that we rely on.”
The Centaurs finished with a 5-11 record last season and were 0-6 in Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II.
“We really feel we can make States, so we have to win eight games, but our true goal is to make the ECC tournament for a first time. We’re hoping to get that fourth spot. It’s what we’re training for and what we’re going for,” Kathleen Johnson said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director

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