Centaur pg 7 11-19-20

It wasn’t against the usual volleyball competition.
“It was kind of nice to not have a Guilford or a Griswold to play in a championship,” Woodstock Academy senior Marissa Mayhew said.
Instead, the third-seeded Centaurs matched up against No. 4 Windham Nov. 12 for the ECC tournament experience Northern Division Bracket I title and came away with a 3-0 win over the Whippets.
It wasn’t exactly the way it was planned out.
The Centaurs were originally scheduled to play second-seeded Plainfield in a semifinal Nov. 10, and, if they had won, would have had to travel to Griswold to likely face the top-seeded Griswold Wolverines for the title.
The Covid-19 virus, as it has all season, had other plans.
Griswold had to opt out after the Jewett City school was forced to go back to virtual learning.
Then Nov. 9 Plainfield shut its doors.
It left just Woodstock Academy and Windham to play in the title match.
“I’m glad that we never went out (due to the pandemic). We were one of the few schools that never had to stop playing sports because we didn’t go in in the first place,” said Woodstock Academy coach Adam Bottone. “This was a great experience for the girls to be able to play and for me to be able to coach them in a non-conventional season for sure. But when you look at the spring and spring sports getting taken away from those athletes, especially the seniors, I was glad that we were able to make this work for this group for the fall.”
Woodstock Academy just returned to hybrid learning Nov. 9 with students coming to school one day per week.
Bottone was concerned about one aspect of the Centaurs game going into the final; it’s ability to serve/receive.
It was an inconsistent part of the package for Woodstock Academy and it looked like that would be the case again Nov. 12.
Windham came out of the blocks by scoring the first five points of the first set.
The Centaurs had beaten Windham, 3-0, in a previous meeting and Bottone was a bit concerned about the mindset.
“We, sometimes, are not always there in the right head space and we were not in the right head space early on. We weren’t there. We weren’t ready. We struggled with receive,” Bottone said.
Fortunately for Woodstock Academy, so did the Whippets.
The Centaurs came back and made it 8-6 and that’s when Mayhew stepped behind the service line.
The senior Libero put eight straight service points together, including a pair of aces, to put the Centaurs up, 14-8.
“There were a lot of service runs for all of our girls but I was happy that I could keep it up (Thursday), I had a service error, but I had a good run before it so I was happy,” Mayhew said.
Mayhew finished with 18 service points including six aces.
In total, the Centaurs finished with 22 service aces, Sierra Bedard added six and Kileigh Gagnon five.
“We’ve definitely struggled with our service in the past. In one game, we gave up 18 service points (due to service errors) which is pretty huge. Just getting all of our serves in was pretty big,” Bedard said.
The Centaurs won the first set, 25-15, and then took the next two, 25-13 and 25-9 to capture the title.
“It’s really nice (to end with a championship) and all the pretty successful seasons, I’m just glad we had another one of those. Even though our season wasn’t that great, it was a good end to it,” Bedard said.
It was the last time that Mayhew (19 digs) and Bedard (3 kills) will play volleyball in a Centaur uniform although they have had quite the experience in their four years.
They had been a part of two teams that went to the Class L state championship match and, last year, a state semifinal.
“Volleyball is my favorite sport and I enjoyed coming here every day,” Bedard said.
While her playing career may have come to a close at the high school level, Mayhew said she hopes to still be involved in the future.
She may go to Maine to go to an advanced firefighter’s collegiate level course, but if that doesn’t happen, may stay close to home and go to Quinebaug Valley Community College.
That could lead her back to the high school game in a different capacity.
“Before the (championship) game, I was talking to (Woodstock Academy assistant) coach (Alyssa) Geissler about what it takes to be an assistant coach. I never want to give up this sport. It has meant so much to me over the last eight years I’ve been playing. This team and having the coaching and community here has really been a blessing,” Mayhew said.
Mayhew will be one of seven seniors leaving the program which finished 8-3 this season.
“That’s a big number,” Bottone said of his seniors leaving. “I was talking to Leila MacKinnon about it and I think we will only have five or six girls of the 14 I usually keep with varsity experience. We’re going to be very young, very inexperienced. It will be a rebuilding year but that will be exciting because I haven’t had that in a long time.”
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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