It was a disappointing moment for the Woodstock Academy girls’ lacrosse team, but it was one of the few this season.
The Centaurs left the field for a final time together May 31 after a 14-7 loss to Guilford in a Class M quarterfinal match at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
Some of the girls may have left with tears in their eyes, but also with fond memories of what had been a breakthrough season for the program.
The list of accomplishments is long.
The most wins in program history – 14.
The first Eastern Connecticut Conference regular season title which the Centaurs shared with Stonington and Bacon Academy.
The first ECC tournament appearance where the Centaurs lost in a hard-fought semifinal to Stonington, 9-7.
Only the second state tournament appearance in program history and its first-ever victory, a 10-6 win over Mercy High School, May 29.
“It was the girls.” Woodstock Academy coach Kathleen Johnson said after the Centaurs win over Mercy. “We had practice (on Memorial Day), on our day off, working hard. They didn’t want to stop. It’s within them. We have girls who want to fight hard and Maddie (Brennan) did not want it to be her last game.”
Brennan, the only senior on the team, played a pivotal role in the win over the Tigers.
Up just 4-3 inside of five minutes to play in the first half, Emma Ciquera took a pass from Arielle Johnson and found the net with the second of her two goals in the game to give the Centaurs a 5-3 lead.
Brennan took over in the final two minutes of the half.
She scored with 1 minute, 17 seconds to play and then made what was the key play to the game.
Mercy was awarded a shooting space foul against Centaur goalie Kileigh Gagnon. The freshman had to come out of the net and go behind the Mercy shooter, leaving the net open.
The shot was missed from near point-blank range.
The Centaurs got the rebound, passed it to Brennan, who ran nearly the length of the field and deposited it into the Tigers net.
“I wanted to make sure we were ahead going into the half,” Brennan said. “That last goal was incredible for our team. We used that missed shot, took it and went to the goal.”
Mercy came out of halftime and put a ball into the net just 1:23 into the second half.
Regan Kasacek, who was switching with Ciquera between offense and defense, tallied just 2 ½ minutes later with her first goal of the season. Brennan then scored again to make it 9-4.
“It was very important that we answered. If we didn’t, that momentum we had would not have kept going and it would have taken us down,” Brennan said.
Brennan finished with four goals in the win.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
That happened against the Indians on Thursday.
The Centaurs jumped out on top early against Guilford, 3-2.
Arielle Johnson scored two of those goals and assisted on the other by Brennan.
“We were able to score on them, but we couldn’t get possession and when we couldn’t do that, our defense had to work very hard. Kudos to them, they had some great attackers and great shots,” Kathleen Johnson said.
That possession was key.
It has been a strength for the Centaurs all season, but Guilford’s height and skill on the face off proved to be problematic and Guilford advanced to the semifinals with the win.
Brennan again led the way with four goals for the Centaurs.
“She really came on strong at the end of the season and has been a great leader, obviously on the field, but also off the field. She got everyone one board. We had girls who wanted to play and wanted to win and that may not have been that way in the past,” Kathleen Johnson said.
Brennan finished with 55 goals on the season to lead the team. Freshman Bridget Horst added 41 goals and 15 assists in her first and last season for the Centaurs. It will leave Arielle Johnson (36 goals, 20 assists), Ivy Gelhaus (23 goals, 7 assists) and Emma Redfield (19 goals, 5 assists) as the leading returning scorers.
“This is going to lead to good things down the road. I’m excited to come back. We’re losing just the one senior and we’re losing Bridget, which is a tough loss. But I have a few girls playing club lacrosse who will be looking to improve their skills which is great,” Kathleen Johnson said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director

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