Girls pg 9 6-6-19

The most successful season in the history of the girls’ lacrosse program at Woodstock Academy came to a close May 28.
The fourth-seeded Centaurs battled against No. 13 St. Joseph, but lost to the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference program, 17-11, in a Class M state tournament first-round match.
Woodstock Academy fell behind early in the match.
St. Joe’s scored four goals in the first five minutes of the game.
“Some of the girls just weren’t ready for the pace of the play,” said Woodstock Academy coach Kathleen Johnson. “We talked about it, but to see if first hand was a little different.”
The Woodstock Academy coach said the difference between an FCIAC team and an ECC school is pretty pronounced.
“It’s drastic,” Kathleen Johnson said. “I’m well aware of how good they were and the talent they had and the conference they play in. They play Darien; they’re like a college team.”
Kathleen Johnson tried to get her team ready for better opponents earlier in the season when she took them to watch a Boston College women’s lacrosse match.
But watching and playing against are two different things entirely.
It took a while for Woodstock Academy to adjust to St. Joseph’s style and talent.
The Cadets (9-8) extended the lead to 6-1.
It was then that Kathleen Johnson made an adjustment of her own.
“We struggled with the draw at first, not with just their speed, but also their height. They towered over us,” Kathleen Johnson said.
She experimented with different personnel and finally put Eliza Dutson in the draw circle.
“She’s super-fast and can jump. She was able to tire (the St. Joseph’s) player out. We went with A(rielle) J(ohnson), Emma C(iquera) and Eliza in the circle and we were winning,” Kathleen Johnson. “It was a huge adjustment and turning point.”
Ciquera responded with one of her own goals early and then added three more to make it a 9-4 game with 10:34 left in the first half.
The problem for the Centaurs was that they could not get over the hump.
The Centaurs could score on their opponents.
But Woodstock Academy could not stop the Cadets from scoring on them as well.
Senior Arielle Johnson got into the scoring column with a pair of tallies before the half, but the Centaurs trailed at the break, 11-6.
The two teams continued to exchange goals in the second half, but the closest Woodstock Academy could get was a four-goal deficit.
“We were pushing, had some bad turnovers and could never get closer than four goals. (Goalie) Kileigh (Gagnon) played phenomenal, made some fabulous saves. We put up a great fight,” Kathleen Johnson said.
Ciquera finished with six goals and had two assists.
Arielle Johnson added four goals in the loss for Woodstock Academy while junior Emma Redfield had the only other tally.
“They are the only three girls who have played club (lacrosse) and that’s interesting,” Kathleen Johnson said. “I think they have seen a faster pace and have participated in a lot of tournaments so the pace of the game definitely set us back. They were fast passers and scorers, different than we’ve seen so far.”
The loss ended the season for the Centaurs with a 15-4 record.
It will be a season to remember for Woodstock Academy.
It captured its first-ever ECC tournament championship last week.
“We were sorry to see the season come to an end because we were still improving. The girls still want to play,” Kathleen Johnson said. “It was a fantastic season with fantastic memories for everyone. I’m proud of the hard work and dedication they put in.”
The team will lose 11 seniors from this year’s team.
“I’m going to miss all of them, but at the same time, we have great girls ready to fill their shoes. They have been waiting for their turn,” Kathleen Johnson said.
The Woodstock Academy coach pointed to sophomore Brynn Kusnarowis, who saw a lot of time against St. Joe’s, as one of the new keys on defense for the Centaurs next season. She will play alongside the likes of Hallie Saracina, Mia Edwards and Caroline Frost in front of Gagnon who is just a sophomore.
Peyton Saracina and Redfield will have to anchor the midfield along with Dutson. Julia Schad will return on attack and is experienced at the X position which is being vacated by Arielle Johnson.
“There is a lot of talent coming back and that’s great to see,” Kathleen Johnson said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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