a perfect pg 7 10-8-20

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Senior Honor Walk
The Woodstock Academy field hockey seniors walk through an honor guard of their teammates prior to the opening game of the season against NFA. Photo by Marc Allard.


There is a big question this fall sports season. Due to the pandemic, how many games will teams be able to play? The uncertainty that surrounds the season was on full display in the season opener for the Woodstock Academy girls’ field hockey team Oct. 1.
In the middle of the game, NFA coach Noel Houle learned that it was possibly the only one that the Wildcats field hockey team will play this season.
Due to a Covid-19 outbreak in town, NFA decided that it would return to an all-remote learning format as of last Friday.
Along with that, all athletic games and practices would be put on hold until, at least, Oct. 19.
It’s for that reason that Woodstock Academy coach Lauren Gagnon made a decision well before the season began.
With 12 seniors on her roster, Gagnon did not want to see the season end without a Senior Day.
So, instead, the season began with one.
The Centaurs celebrated Senior Day in style with a 4-0 win over the Wildcats.
“You always want to win your season opener and you always want to win your Senior Day game. We did both at the same time – perfect,” Gagnon said.
In addition to honoring the seniors, most coaches also like to have the seniors in the starting lineup on Senior Day. Gagnon is no exception.
“We were not playing like ourselves early, partially because of a very strange lineup,” Gagnon said. “We had people playing out of position and had only practiced with that lineup (the day before). We had to get the chemistry going, figure out what we were doing and the pregame is always wonky on Senior Day. They want to look at their posters. Everyone is ready to cry. It took a moment to get started.”
Fortunately, thanks to Alexia Adams, the Centaurs had a lead early. The senior scored just 4 minutes, 38 seconds into the game off a pass from teammate Avery MacNeil.
To make it even more special, it was Adams first career goal. Adams made it a bookend performance as she also scored the final goal of the game for the Centaurs with 3:02 left in the contest off a feed from Eliza Dutson.
Last year’s leading scorer, Rachel Canedy, picked up where she left off. Canedy, who had six goals last season, put a ball in the net in both the third and fourth quarters.
“Those were pretty goals, really great goals, they will give her a lot of confidence,” Gagnon said.
The defense did the rest. Outside of two Dakota Burns’ shots in the first half, the Wildcats were forced to play largely in their defensive zone leaving Centaurs’ keeper Kaily LaChappelle, for the most part, unchallenged. Not that Houle expected to get much past LaChappelle and Woodstock Academy.
“They have 11 starting seniors. If that’s not intimidating, I don’t know what is. Their goalie is on the All-State road, all the ECC coaches see that and we know that she is phenomenal. Getting to prepare for that and hanging in with them? I’m a proud coach today,” Houle said.
However for Houle, a Killingly High graduate, it was a bittersweet moment. Her team, which has not won a game since October 2016, played well. But the Wildcats first game of the season may have been their last due to the outbreak.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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