Tiny pg 11 11-1-18

There are some coaches who have the belief that a loss in the regular season is not all that bad a thing.
It can bring a team back to reality and give it more of a sense of purpose knowing that everything it had worked for all season could easily be taken away in just 80 minutes.
Woodstock Academy girls’ soccer coach Dennis Snelling is not a disciple of that philosophy, but it’s how he had to approach it after a 1-0 loss to Norwich Free Academy Oct. 24.
The loss cost the Centaurs an undefeated season. They finished 14-1-2.
It also cost them the top seed in the ECC tournament.
That honor went to Plainfield and so it was the second-seeded Centaurs who took to the pitch Oct. 26 in a Division 1 quarterfinal match with No. 7 East Lyme.
The Centaurs again found themselves behind, but this time, they were able to rally and beat the Vikings, 3-1.
The win vaulted the defending ECC Division 1 champs into the semifinals where they again played NFA Oct. 30 (the match ended too late for this edition) . The championship will be played Nov. 1 in E. Lyme.
“It looked like the NFA game the way we started out. We weren’t playing well enough to win so I was concerned,” Snelling said.
That was a concern following a 4-1 win over Killingly Oct. 22y when Snelling was concerned he had lost leading scorer Ivy Gelhaus (18 goals) for the remainder of the season to a knee injury.
Gelhaus, fortunately, only suffered a bruise and was back on the field against East Lyme.
The concern over the lack of offense grew even more when Emma Belleville put the Vikings (4-12-1) up 1-0 when she took a cross and headed the ball past keeper Irene Askitis with six minutes left in the first half.
Give a big underdog a halftime lead and it gives the underdog confidence.
The Centaurs were able to take that away and had the momentum before halftime when sophomore Peyton Saracina got a nice volley off a corner kick from Kayla Gaudreau for her fifth goal of the season with 54 seconds left in the half.
Still, the Vikings came out and played hard, making it difficult to discern between the No.2 and No. 7 seed until just under eight minutes were left.
Saracina took a cross from Gelhaus and headed it home to give the Centaurs the advantage.
Freshman Adeline Smith scored her third goal of the season off a team-leading seventh assist from Gaudreau with 2:47 left to give the Centaurs a little breathing room.
Snelling said the Vikings concentrated much of their attention on Gelhaus, double covering the senior, which opened the door for the younger Centaurs to get some opportunities.
They could have used that scoring against the Wildcats. NFA sophomore Kayla Park scored a goal in the first half on a breakaway. Snelling decided he had to go for broke.
The Centaurs outshot the Wildcats, 15-4, despite playing on a rather difficult surface. Fontaine Field in Norwich, like many grass fields in the area, has been reduced to more mud than grass because of the wet conditions.
The loss to NFA last week may also have turned out to be a benefit.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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