Academy pg 11 10-11-18

It was a different kind of high school boys’ soccer match Oct. 4.
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs wanted to play their Homecoming game under the lights on the school’s South Campus turf field, but their opponents were ready to offer a forfeit.
New London called and said it didn’t have enough healthy players to compete.
Because it was a special game, The Academy offered a solution; what about a 9-on-9 match?
New London agreed to it.
“It’s a completely different game,” Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said before the match. “We play 9-v-9 in club soccer with the older kids, the 12-and-under group, but we play on smaller fields. I don’t think they know what they are in for. I had them working hard in practice (last Wednesday) and now they get this on a full field.”
Fortunately for Rearden, it didn’t seem to bother the Centaurs too much.
They won for a fifth time in six matches, 7-0, over the overmatched Whalers who brought only 12 healthy players, all of them were either freshmen or sophomores.
It did, briefly, present issues.
“You went for a pass where you normally see someone and they weren’t there,” Woodstock Academy senior Ethan Holcomb said. “You have to adjust a little, but once we got the hang of it, it was good.”
It didn’t take long for that adjustment to take place.
Holcomb scored off an assist from Alejandro Quintas Gonzalez just 4 minutes, 27 seconds into the match.
“You want all your players to never give less than 100 percent and he never gives less than that. You know what you will get from him,” Paul Rearden said of Holcomb.
Gonzalez added his own goal just under seven minutes later for the 2-0 lead.
The Centaurs (6-4-1, 4-1 Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II) sat on that lead until just four minutes were left in the half.
That’s when Holcomb sent a corner to the opposite post and the only thing the ball found was Cole Hackett’s head.
The senior steered it home for the 3-0 advantage.
“I thought it was a bad kick at first, but it went right over the goalie’s head and Cole was right there,” Holcomb said. “There were definitely less bodies in there so there was a little more open space and Cole just ran right on to it and he buried it.”
The Centaurs outshot the Whalers (2-9, 0-5), 34-0.
Jake Marsalisi, Matt LaBounty, Eric Phongsa and Reid Butler also scored for Woodstock Academy.
“We did well. They did everything that before the game I asked them to do. I thought they showed a lot of class out there, no showboating. I told them before the game to keep the shape and keep the ball moving,” said Paul Rearden.
Earlier in the week, the Centaurs downed Fitch, 2-1.
LaBounty was taken down just outside the area which resulted in a direct kick for Sean Rearden early in the second half.
The junior capitalized, putting the ball into the bottom corner of the net for the game-winning goal.
Rearden also helped on the first goal for Woodstock Academy, sending a through ball to Phongsa who scored just 15 minutes into the match.
Caleb Robbins had the only tally for Fitch (5-5).
The two wins were also a little boost going into what is expected to be a difficult week.
“You saw the confidence out there (Thursday) and it was perfect timing for this. It gives us a two-game buffer (over .500) with some big games coming up,” Paul Rearden said.
“Our finishing was OK (against New London) so, hopefully, we can take that to the big games. We create chances every game. We just don’t take them,” Rearden said.
The Centaurs visit Ledyard Oct. 3.
“We definitely have to forget (the New London game) and come in focused on what we have to do, play hard and stay in the game mentally.
Ledyard led the division coming into the week with a 6-0 mark and downed the Centaurs earlier in the season, 2-1.
The Centaurs also play at Bacon Academy on Friday; the Bobcats (2-2) are the third-place team in the division with Woodstock Academy squished in between.
“At least, it’s only two games. We’ve had weeks where we have had three tough ones,” Paul Rearden said.

Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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