field pg 1 9-15-22

Field hockey
team wins 1st
for new coaches
A confidence builder? As Woodstock Academy field hockey co-head coach Gerry LaMontagne pointed out, that goes without saying.
The Centaurs were sky high after a 4-3 win over Somers/Rockville cooperative in their season-opening game Sept. 8.
“We were really afraid that we weren’t going to have a season. Winning our first game especially with the expectations we had coming in from last year, sets the bar a little higher. We’re really glad that we got it and even if we didn’t, we had really great spirit,” said senior goalie Ava Basak.
The Centaurs overcame adversity before the season, waiting to see who would step up and coach the team.
They breathed a sigh of relief when LaMontagne and Donte Adams both stepped up to take the reins.
There was more adversity to overcome in the opener. The Centaurs went up, 1-0, on a Sophie Petrella goal with 4 minutes, 19 seconds left in the first quarter.
But the Spartans rallied behind the stick of Alyssa Reynolds who scored two second quarter goals to give the visitors a 2-1 halftime lead.
Then Centaurs sophomore Grace Pokorny stepped up, taking a pass from Abby Converse to tie the game with 8:19 left in the third quarter.
She put the Centaurs ahead off a rebound with 11:38 to play.
Pokorny is used to stick work. She also plays ice hockey for the Centaurs and that helps especially when it comes to vision and anticipation of what will happen on the field.
Then Audrey Molin tied it with 9:38 left for Somers/Rockville.
But with 2:33 to play, senior Chloe Nason broke in from the right side and sent it across the mouth of the goal where it found the left corner for the game winner.
“That was so amazing. I’m so proud of her. She got it right in that corner - an amazing shot,” Pokorny said.
Nason wasn’t the only senior who delivered.
“We had a lot of great senior leadership (Thursday). Ella (Musumeci) was great just keeping people on point and being a field general; Ava was a great leader in goal making sure what the girls knew what to do and I complimented Ainsley (Morse) for her work on defense,” LaMontagne said.
Coach Adam Bottone admitted to having flashbacks to the 2018 Class L state championship match. The memories were not good ones as his Centaurs bolted to a 2-0 lead only to see Joel Barlow come back to post a 3-2 win four years ago.
While the occasion was not as momentous, just the second match of the season against South Windsor, the scenario played out in a similar fashion Sept. 10.
The Centaurs (2-0) won the first two sets, 25-18 and 25-22. Then the Bobcats bounced back. Fortunately for Woodstock, it pulled out the 3-2 win this time.
The Bobcats tied things up with wins of 25-22 and 25-16. That led to a doozy of a fifth set. The two teams battled to a 15-all tie with senior Morgan Bonin getting a crucial kill to pull the Centaurs back from a point down.
Bonin then put Woodstock ahead to stay with the last of her 15 kills in the match off a pass from setter Sophie Gronski.
Gronski finished with 31 assists in the match.
Cassie Ladd provided the game-winning point with an ace for the 17-15 victory in the fifth and deciding set.
Lily Bottone added 13 kills in the win which could help down the road.
“I really think this was a great way to start the season and it sets us up for success in the future,” Bonin said.
The season opened on a sweet note Sept. 8 when Woodstock took a 3-0 win over Ledyard, sweeping through the three sets, 25-15, 25-18, 25-23.
Lily Bottone had 12 kills for the Centaurs while Ladd was excellent from behind the service line where she recorded seven aces. Bonin was also dominant at the net with nine kills.
There is still some work to do despite the unblemished record. “We had double-digit service errors in both matches so that and our receive. If we serve well and receive well, which everyone wants to do, we’re a dominant enough team where we have enough hitters to terminate. When we’re out-of-system, we struggle a little,” Adam Bottone said.
Boys’ Soccer
In neither of their first two matches did the Centaurs start well. Take the season opener in Ledyard which ended in a 2-2 deadlock Sept. 8.
“To be totally honest, they started stronger and we got our first goal probably against better play. We hung in there. They came out really quick out of the box,” said coach Paul Rearden.
But high school matches aren’t always decided by who is playing better.
It was the Centaurs who tallied the first two goals.
“Both of our goals came because our boys chased down a lost cause, (the first one we) ended up winning the ball and got a corner,” Rearden said.
The ball that came in to senior Grace Viau from sophomore John Bennett was dead solid perfect.
“The ball never touched the ground from coming in from the corner to going into the back of the net. It was the best goal I’ve ever seen in high school,” Rearden said.
The Centaurs went ahead by two halfway through the first half when sophomore Austin Byer chased down a ball that a Ledyard defender thought was headed to the sideline. Byer took it, raced toward the net, and put it home.
But that’s where the real good vibes ended. Nate Vidal sent a long ball through the Centaurs defense with 12 seconds left in the first half to slice the deficit in half.
Vidal tied the game for the Colonels (0-0-1) with 17 minutes to play.
A slow start also cost the Centaurs Sept. 10. Neither team scored in the first 37 ½ minutes of the first half although the NFA Wildcats took eight shots to the Centaurs one.
NFA finally hit pay dirt when Rood Apolon scored not one but two goals in the final 4 ½ minutes to put the Wildcats (1-0-1, 1-0-0 ECC Div. I) up 2-nil.
One of the highlights of the first half for Woodstock was the play of goalie Brian Jameson who even foiled a penalty kick attempt by NFA.
Apolon struck again just 6 minutes, 21 seconds into the second half to make it 3-0.
But the Centaurs (0-1-1, 0-1-0) were more on the attack in the second half than they were in the first.
With 30 minutes to play, Max Ferreira scored off an assist from Bennett for the Centaurs.
Unfortunately, that foothold never got much better as neither team would score the remainder of the way.
So far, Rearden is happy with what he has seen.
It’s just going to take some tweaking especially on the pitch.
Girls’ Soccer
It wasn’t the first week that the girls’ soccer team was hoping for. The Centaurs got off to a bit of a difficult start with losses to Stonington and Ledyard.
The Bears scored three goals in the first 12 minutes of the match, the season opener for both teams Sept. 8.
Woodstock did reduce the deficit to a more manageable two goals when senior Grace Gelhaus tallied from 35 yards out on a direct kick. But Stonington scored two more goals before the half ended and finished with a 7-1 victory.
The Centaurs were much happier with their effort Sept. 10 on the road at Ledyard.
Gelhaus put the Centaurs up, 1-0, with an unassisted first half goal.
That’s where the score remained at halftime but the host Colonels (2-0) tied the match early in the second half.
Maddie McLeod then delivered the game winner with 24 minutes to play as Ledyard prevailed, 2-1.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

 Working the Ball
Sophomore Juliet Allard tries to work the ball up the field against Stonington.  

Bringing the Ball Up
Garrett Bushey brings the ball up the field.  

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