Number pg 1 11-9-23

The Woodstock Academy Prep 1 soccer team experienced something it rarely has this season.
In a match on its home turf, the Centaurs found themselves trailing early Saturday.
But they overcame that adversity, rallied and held off Northwood School from Lake Placid, N.Y., 3-2.
The Centaurs followed that up on Sunday with a 4-0 home field win over Hoosac School, to improve to 12-0-1.
The Centaurs are the No. 1 prep team in the country according to
“It’s nice to have that recognition. It means you are doing well but at the end of the day, the polls don’t mean anything,” said coach Owen Finberg. “Every game is hard. It’s hard to score goals, hard to win matches and certainly every team by now knows how good Woodstock Academy is and they give us their best shot. We have to be ready for every play in the 90- minutes every time we step on the field.”
To get them ready for that sort of challenge, the coach comes up with other challenges to not only build team chemistry, but also the team’s will and the team has responded to those challenges which don’t always take place on the pitch.
“They definitely have a strong character amongst the group,” Finberg said.
He and the coaching staff tested the team’s resolve on Friday.
They took the group up to the public swimming area at Muddy Pond and sat in the 40-degree water for six minutes.
“When we got back to the locker room, I told them, ‘You guys can do hard things. In life, you will have some of those things coming your way,’” Finberg said.
It was prophetic as Woodstock had to deal with a little adversity against Northwood School.
The Centaurs fell behind the Huskies, 1-0, when Mitchell Baker from Melbourne, Australia, scored off a corner from Cedric Lemaire 14 minutes, 27 seconds into the match.
“We made a great response before I could even talk to them at halftime,” Finberg said.
Just about 4 ½ minutes after the Northwood School goal, the Centaurs responded with a goal of their own when Enoch Joseph took a pass from Choeil-Hui Cho and buried it into the back of the net to tie the match at 1.
Freshman Richard Sarpong then put the Centaurs ahead just before the half when he took a shot that was saved by Huskies’ keeper Elm Pentinat Llurba. But the rebound got away from Llurba and Sarpong never gave up on it, sticking the rebound in to give Woodstock the lead with 1:45 left in the first half.
“You have to be hungry in the box. That’s what we talk about because that’s where games are won or lost. Sometimes a keeper can make a save, sometimes shots are deflected and you can’t watch. You have to put yourself in a position to anticipate where the next ball will drop and he did a great job of doing that. He has done it all year long,” Finberg said.
It was the 10th goal of the season for the youngster.
But the trials and tribulations were not over yet for the Centaurs.
Northwood School was able to tie the match just 3:24 into the second half off another set play.
A corner to the right side of Woodstock keeper Alvaro Medrano Jr. found the head of Baker who directed it on to the foot of Camilo Pereda for the equalizing goal.
“Unfortunately, I think we gave them both their goals which made the game a lot harder for us. They have a good team, they fought hard for 90 minutes and they made us earn it. Baker is a big forward and was a handful. You give good teams chances, they make you pay,” Finberg said.
But the Centaurs weren’t taken aback.
They doubled up on their effort and less than five minutes later, a beautiful cross from Jude Essuman found Hendrix Mota coming on to the net and he scored his fifth goal of the season.
“I just got into the box and coach always says to run to the first post. Jude took on the defender, crossed it in, and I just had to tap it in. Collaborative work from the whole team, I was just the man who finished it,” Mota said.
Finberg agreed with Mota. Teamwork was key.
“That was an awesome pass there. That’s something that we work on, getting the ball wide and letting (Essuman) and Richard, especially, take players on. Hendrix did exactly the right thing and made the run to the front post and he’s an excellent finisher and certainly showed it there. That was a tough ball to put into the back of the net,” the coach said.
The Centaurs finished the Prep Premier League regular season with 19 points and will be the top seed from the East Region in the league tournament after the win over Hoosac on Sunday.
They will face Phelps School Nov. 17 in a league semifinal in Tinton Falls, N.J.
Woodstock didn’t take long to get going against Hoosac.
Just two minutes into the match, Daniel Valdes took a corner for the Centaurs which Yeochan Yang turned into a goal with a diving header.
Valdes played a role again just before the half when he sent a ball to Essuman who converted for a 2-0 lead.
Sarpong and Harrison Vail helped on a second half goal as they combined on an overlap and Vail made the cross to David Lee for the Centaurs’ third tally.’
Sarpong finished off the scoring, displaying his excellent skills with the ball, beating three defenders on the left side to get to the net for the goal.
Alvaro Medrano Jr. and Daniel Covelli combined for the shutout in goal for Woodstock Academy. It was the fourth time in seven league games that the Centaurs have posted a shutout.
Da Costa commits to Syracuse University
Prep 1 senior soccer player Kelvin Da Costa had a big moment earlier in the week as he officially committed to play for Syracuse University in New York next season.
“It’s a dream of mine. I’ve worked hard for it. I could not have done it without my teammates and the coaching staff who have helped me in practice to get better every day,” Da Costa said.
Da Costa, who hails from Mozambique, did have some injury troubles this season but was able to get on to the field against Northwood School on Saturday.
The Orangemen are the defending NCAA Div. I champions having defeated Indiana a year ago on penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 draw.
“Guys are here to move on in their careers both academically and athletically and that’s our focus is to get guys prepared for the next step. They have to do those sorts of things here to get those opportunities but then through their experiences here, they’re ready,” Finberg said. “Kelvin is certainly in that mode. He will have an opportunity to step on to the field I think in the best league in country right away next year as a freshman. He was also just named a high school All-American so there are a lot of good things for Kelvin and a lot of good things coming for some of these other guys as well.”
Da Costa also met a future teammate at Syracuse as Sachiel Ming, who plays for Northwood, has also committed to Syracuse.
“That’s exciting. It was nice to get to know him,” Da Costa said.

Prep 2 Finishes Strong
The Centaurs Prep 2 soccer team also had a strong finish on the home field on Sunday.
The Centaurs held off Hoosac School’s second squad, 4-2, in a Global Education Sports Partners League match.
Woodstock improved to 9-3-2 overall and 6-0 in the GESP with the win.
Nico Ochoa blasted one in from 40 yards out for the Centaurs first tally.
Jaiden Banton and Francesco Colantuoni then combined for the next two with Banton scoring the second off a Colantuoni assist and then assisting on a Colantuoni goal.
Matias Solano finished off the scoring off an assist from Jorge Castellanos.
Calvin Field picked up the win in the net but fellow keepers Zeeshan Desai and Sten Lehmann also played.
They got some time on the field as the Centaurs are battling some injury woes.
Woodstock was coming off a 1-0 win over St. Thomas More in Oakdale earlier in the week.
Kevin Thomson’s blast from 25-yards out halfway through the second half was the only goal of the match.
Covelli delivered the shutout in goal for the Centaurs.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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