centaurs pg 1 11-16-23

Centaurs girls’ soccer season comes to close
There is a common thought among all teams who make the state tournament in any sport.
Games, generally, get harder as teams advance.
Such was the case for the 20th -seeded Woodstock Academy girls’ soccer team.
The Centaurs traveled to Simsbury last week to meet the fourth-seeded Trojans and saw their season come to a close with a 3-0 loss.
“They had a lot of high-level players and a professional coach. Those two things go well together. We were right with them but they had a lot more chances,” said coach Dennis Snelling.
Simsbury scored halfway through the first half and then added another 6:48 left to play in the opening half.
The Trojans added a third goal midway through the second half but senior keeper Rebecca Nazer was solid in front of the net, making 10 saves.
Woodstock finished its season with a 9-8-3 record.
It was a day to remember for Leah Costa earlier in the week.
The junior girls' soccer player was beaming after she scored all three goals for the 20th-seeded Centaurs in a 3-0 win over 13th-seeded Killingly in a Class L first round state tournament match in Killingly.
For a while, it looked like the match at Killingly would come down to who snuck one in.
The Centaurs clearly had the advantage as they doubled up on shots, 10-5, but nothing found the back of the net.
The back-and-forth led to a scoreless first half.
Killingly (10-7-1) was then just inches away from going up by a goal midway through the second half.
A corner by Killingly senior Laura Farquhar drifted across the net to the foot of teammate Spencer Chviek.
Fortunately for the Centaurs, senior Taylor Lamothe was there. How big a play was it? In the scheme of things, huge.
Fortunately for the Centaurs, Costa found the range just moments later.
Costa took a pass from Bella Mawson and rifled a rising shot from about 30 yards out to put the Centaurs up, 1-0, with 21 minutes, nine seconds left in regulation.
Costa made it a 2-0 advantage just a little over seven minutes later when Kendall McCormack sent the ball from the left to the middle. While it may not have gone to her intended target, it did get to Costa on the right side who converted the insurance goal.
The last tally came with just under three minutes to play when Freya Robbie made a pretty pass to Costa who made a run on goal and posted the hat trick.
Costa finished with 14 goals on the season.
Cross-Country is not often known as a contact sport.
At the New England boys’ cross-country championships at Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine, it became just that.
In an oddity for a high school event, the start was called back.
“I haven’t seen a recall start in a CIAC or New England event ever,” said coach Josh Welch. “The only time I saw a restart was when I coached in prep school. It doesn’t happen often. Usually there is only a little contact and one person goes down and (the officials) let it ride.”
A handful of athletes went down at the starting line.
The problem was the runners out in front were already 200 yards down the course including junior Christian Menounos.
“They were shooting off the gun to call the runners back from the get-go but there were so many people there that no one heard the gun and they didn’t have a flagger at the front to show them that (the start was no good),” Welch said.
The lead pack eventually realized that everybody had stopped.
The runners had gone out fast to try and get to a spot where the 50-box length at the start narrowed to about 20.
“It wasn’t that bad,” Welch said of the spacing at the start. “I think the kids were really trying to go out hard. It was a little muddy in the first 50 meters or so, not that bad, I think some kids lost their footing or piled up really quick.”
The second start wasn’t much better as a few more runners went down.
“Christian was tired in that first mile,” Welch said.
Overall, the junior did well as he finished in 36th in 16 minutes, 15 seconds.
“I think he was hoping to be sub-16 on that course but with the two starts and the adrenaline, the whole deal, it was a lot for him but he did well. He finished (51st) in 16:50 last year at New England’s and he finished well under that so he made a lot of excellent progress on the season,” Welch said.
Menounos qualified for the New England championship with a 14th-place finish earlier in the week at the CIAC State Open championship.
Menounos finished in 16:16.
The Open was pushed back from the Friday before due to the postponement of the Class LL state championship meet because of heat.
It gave Menounos and teammate Colton Sallum the opportunity to get some good training runs in prior to the State Open.
Sallum finished in 94th in 17:32 at the State Open.
Welch didn’t feel the two large meets in the same week had any adverse effects on Menounos.
The season is not over for both Menounos and Sallum as both will compete in the Foot Locker Regional cross-country championship on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Franklin Park in Boston.
The football team hung with Norwich Free Academy in the first half but couldn’t get much of anything going in the second.
As a result, the Wildcats picked up their third win in a row with a 26-7 victory over the Centaurs on Veterans Appreciation Day.
Woodstock (3-6, 0-4 ECC Div. I) put together a really nice first drive in the game.
After forcing the Wildcats to punt on their first possession, the Centaurs took over the ball on their own 32.
They held on to it for the next 8 minutes, 20 seconds, going 16 plays down to the NFA 17-yard line.
The only problem with the drive was that Woodstock didn’t put any points on the board, turning it over on downs at the Wildcats’ 19.
NFA (3-6, 1-3) responded with an eight-play drive that resulted in seven points.
Quarterback Gage Hinckley spotted receiver Wyatt Woodcock who had got past the defense and lofted the ball to him for a 29-yard score.
Hinckley was “Mr. Everything” for the Wildcats as he completed 15 of his 18 passes for 170 yards and also rushed for 64 yards in nine carries. He is also the team’s kick returner, punter and a key defensive player at linebacker.
The Centaurs came back to tie following one of the few Hinckley mistakes, an overthrown pass that ended up in the arms of linebacker Kyle Grist at the Centaurs 44-yard line.
Woodstock quarterback Teddy Richardson used both his legs and arm and got a little help from NFA to guide the Centaurs down the field.
Richardson hit Lucas Theriaque (4 catches, 74 yards) with an 18-yard pass and added 10 of his 51 yards in 13 carries on the day in the drive.
On fourth-and-14 from the NFA 24, the Centaurs finally caught a break.
A Richardson pass to Theriaque was broken up but a flag flew and the pass interference call gave Woodstock Academy a first and goal at the NFA 9.
After a sack backed them up 4 yards, Richardson ran for three and Gabe Luperon-Flecha added to give the Centaurs a fourth-and-goal at the three. Instead of the field goal, the Centaurs opted to go for it and Richardson (14-for-28 passing, 137 yards) flipped it over the top of the defense to tight end Aiden Brailsford for the only touchdown of the day for Woodstock with 1:50 left in the half.
That turned out to be too much time to leave NFA.
Conor Gaughan dominated a series that would give the Wildcats the lead at the half.
The senior rushed for 16 yards to the NFA 41. Two plays later, Hinckley found him for a 27-yard pass to the Woodstock 31.
Grist almost had his second interception of the day on an errant pass by Hinckley but the senior quarterback didn’t make the mistake a second time, passing to Gaughan for the score with 46 seconds left in the half to give the Wildcats the 14-7 lead.
The second half was largely dominated by NFA as the Centaurs could only muster 12 yards on their first possession, lost eight on their second and only had 22 in their third.
Magnus King scored on a 1-yard run on NFA’s first possession of the half and Hinckley added an insurance score from 2 yards out with 2:35 to play.
The Centaurs finish off the season on the road next week with their annual Thanksgiving Day game at Killingly at 10:30 a.m.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


Junior Christian Menounos proudly displays his medal for a 14th-place finish at the CIAC State Open boys’ cross-country championship at Wickham Park in Manchester last week (Photo by Josh Welch/Woodstock Academy)
Woodstock Academy senior keeper Rebecca Nazer punts the ball away in the Centaurs 3-0 Class L 1st-round state tournament win over Killingly. (Collin Hamilton photo)

Woodstock Academy senior Jacob Lizotte (9) gets some help from his friends in trying to tackle NFA quarterback Gage Hinckley Saturday at the Bentley Athletic Complex. Photo by Abby Ditzel/Woodstock Academy.


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