Penalty pg 1 11-9-23

Woodstock Academy girls’ soccer coach Dennis Snelling was doing his best to avoid what was seemingly inevitable in an ECC semifinal at Waterford last week.
Penalty kicks.
“I tried to keep sending people forward to try and end it a different way,” Snelling said. “We had not practiced penalty kicks. We took three or four on (Centaur goalie) Rebecca (Nazer) prior to the game thinking it may happen but we hadn’t had a lot of practice time with them.”
But it’s something that may rear its head again as the Class L state tournament looms.
The Centaurs and Lancers battled through 80 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods and no one found the net.
It was the Lancers who prevailed in penalty kicks, 4-3.
A mistake on a goal kick by Waterford resulted in a shot for the Centaurs that went wide. Another opportunity came off a corner kick but a shot from about 30 yards out just cleared the crossbar.
Nazer made eight saves in net.
“Waterford missed the first of its penalty kicks which gave the Centaurs the early advantage in the first round of five.
Macy Rawson, Freya Robbie and Juliet Allard hit their PK’s.
Robbie and Leah Costa were named ECC All-Stars with Allard being named Honorable Mention.
The team’s ECC Scholar-Athlete is Taylor Lamothe with Kayla Leite as the recipient of the team’s ECC Sportsmanship award.
From the ECC tournament right into the state tournament.
The Centaurs are the 20th seed in the Class L state tournament and didn’t have to travel far for their first-round match
Woodstock played at Killingly on Monday (The match ended too late for this edition).
The Centaurs volleyball team made it all the way to the Class L state semifinal last year.
They did not make it past the ECC Div. I tournament quarterfinals, however.
“Last year, we made it here and we lost on our home court. This is really good. A little revenge-type thing. We’re here and we made it to the semifinals this time,” said junior Sophie Gronski.
Fitch upset the Centaurs a year ago. Bacon Academy could not repeat that performance by the Falcons.
The Centaurs quickly bolted out to a two-set lead and then weathered a bit of a storm in the third to post the 3-0 victory. The win sent the Centaurs into the ECC semifinals.
The Centaurs were hoping the third time against Waterford would be the charm. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.
No. 3 Woodstock fell to the second-seeded Lancers, 3-0.
It was the first time that the Centaurs had hosted the ECC semifinals.
The hosts looked like they had the upper hand early.
Woodstock led much of the first set and had doubled up on the Lancers, 18-9, at one point.
But Waterford went on a 10-4 run to cut that deficit to three.
The Centaurs and Lancers split the next four points putting Woodstock on the precipice of a first-set victory, 24-21.
They could not close it out. The Lancers scored five unanswered points to take the set, 26-24.
Woodstock also held a late lead in the second set, 21-20, only to once again see the Lancers reel off five consecutive points for a 25-21 victory.
Waterford led almost the entire third set and completed the sweep with a 25-16 victory.
Liliana Bottone paced the Centaurs with eight kills and 14 digs. Gronski added 22 assists. Izzy Mojica had six kills and Cassidy Ladd contributed 10 digs.
It was a different story in the quarterfinal earlier last week. The Centaurs made it look easy in the first two sets.
Four aces in the first 10 points, two each by Gronski and Reegan Reynolds, catapulted Woodstock to a 10-3 lead and the Bobcats never recovered.
The Centaurs easily took the set, 25-14.
Ladd had all five of her service aces in the first eight points of the second set and gave the Centaurs an 8-1 advantage.
This time, the effect of that early deficit was even more pronounced as Woodstock posted the 25-11 win.
But there was a little cause for concern. Woodstock had six errors in the first set and four in the second and five in the third.
Adam Bottone said, however, 15 service errors in a match could come back to haunt the Centaurs down the road.
Liliana Bottone paced the Centaurs with nine kills. Vivian Bibeau added six and Gronski, who finished with 31 assists, added five short-range flip kills.
Mojica and Mia Sorrentino also had five kills for the Centaurs.
Liliana Bottone and Gronski were selected as ECC All-Stars with Mojica named as an Honorable Mention choice. Emma Kerr is the team’s ECC Scholar-Athlete and Reegan Reynolds was the team’s ECC Sportsmanship award recipient.
The season is not over for Woodstock. The Class L state tournament is next on the Centaurs agenda but if the numbers play out, it will not be all that much different from the ECC tournament.
East Lyme, the top-seed in the ECC tournament, is the top seed in Class L. Waterford, the second seed in the ECC is second in Class L and the Centaurs, the ECC third seed, are the fourth seed in the state tournament.
The Centaurs are the only one of those three who will not receive a first-round bye as 29 teams qualified for the tournament.
Woodstock hosted the last of them, No. 29 Torrington, on Tuesday (the match ended too late for this edition).
Early on, things were good in Groton for the Woodstock football team. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t stay that way.
The Centaurs held the lead briefly in the first quarter and fought back to a tie in the second.
But the two early touchdowns would be all Woodstock could muster while Fitch had plenty more to come and walked off their home field with a 54-14 win.
The Centaurs (3-5, 0-3 ECC Div. I) forced Fitch to punt on its first possession and then was the beneficiary of a recovered fumble on the Falcons’ second possession.
The Centaurs took over on the Fitch 33-yard line and got a nice 12-yard run from quarterback Teddy Richardson (11 carries, 35 yards) on the first play from scrimmage.
Woodstock lost a yard over its next two plays but on third-and-11 from the 22-yard line, Richardson (11-20 passing, 126 yards) found Lucas Theriaque open and he threw him a strike to put the Centaurs up 6-0.
The joy didn’t last long as Fitch answered on a 31-yard pass from Benjamin Perry to Calvin McCoy and hit the extra point to go into the second quarter with a 7-6 lead.
Woodstock Academy used an attempted onside kick by the Falcons, got good field position and drove to the Fitch 32 to start the second quarter. but then the engines went in reverse and a sack led to a turnover on downs at their own 45-yard line.
Perry made it even more costly when he hit Adonis Fine who was open over the middle, made a nice juke around a Centaur defender, and ended up in the end zone for the 45-yard touchdown.
It was just the first of three big plays for the Fitch senior.
The Centaurs, however, were not about to pack it in.
They got good field position off the kickoff at the Falcons’ 48 and running back Gabe Luperon-Flecha (18 carries, 58 yards) made it even better with his longest run of the night, a 32-yard gallop, down to the Fitch 16. One incomplete pass later, Luperon-Flecha found the end zone.
A Richardson to Jacob Lizotte pass for the 2-point conversion tied the game at 14.
Fitch returned the kickoff to the Woodstock Academy 26 and two plays later, Perry used his legs to score from 19 yard out to put the Falcons back on top.
A Woodstock mistake was costly. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by the Centaurs at their own 25.
Perry converted on the next play with a touchdown pass to Raheem Porter Carter.
The Centaurs were forced to punt on their next possession and a Fitch field goal failed to split the uprights.
But the Falcons would go up by 20 at the half when a Lizotte punt was caught by Fine at the Fitch 32 and he brought it to the house 68 yards downfield to put Fitch in firm control, 34-14.
Fine added an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter while Carter had a 53-yard run and Devin Cook had a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter to account for the final.
The Centaurs return home on Saturday, Veterans Day, to host Norwich Free Academy at noon at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

The Woodstock Academy football team’s offensive line does all it can do to stop the Fitch pass rush.

Volleyball Award
From left: ECC Div. I volleyball all-star Liliana Bottone, honorable mention Izzy Mojica, Sportsmanship award recipient Reegan Reynolds, Div. I All Star Sophie Gronski and Scholar-Athlete Emma Kerr all received their awards prior to the ECC championship match. Photo by Adam Bottone/Woodstock Academy.


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