centaurs pg 7 3-28-24


From left: Seniors Henry Wotton, Jared Neilsen, Lucas Theriaque, Ryan Wallace and Jacob Lizotte will be relied upon to help carry the Woodstock Academy boys lacrosse program back to the state tournament this spring. Photo by Marc Allard.

The Woodstock Academy boys’ lacrosse team saw a dozen players depart on Commencement Day. But there is good news.
“We’re not in a full rebuild because there are still a lot of seniors coming back,” said Centaurs coach Jason Tata. “We have guys who are able to fill in the holes that all of those seniors left.”
Those holes include that of leading scorer Zach Gessner who had 26 goals and 29 assists last season and midfielder Jacob Jurnovoy who added 12 goals and three assists.
But senior Jared Neilsen, who recorded his 100th career point last season, returns.
“I would like to improve on setting up more plays, hitting the net when I shoot a little more, I struggle with that at times,” Nielsen said. “I think it will be a collective effort (offensively). I know Dylan (Phillips) can feed and I can feed. Zach was a huge passer from that X-spot so we have to each take on that role as well as our third X-man.”
Nielsen finished with 32 goals and 12 assists while Phillips, a sophomore, tossed in nine goals and seven assists.
Junior Gunnar Basak will also be up front with junior Xander Miller, sophomore Corey LaFond and freshman Patrick Griswold also in the mix.
There will likely be some production from the midfield as well with seniors Henry Wotton and Lucas Theriaque (9 goals, 4 assists) anchoring the middle.
“It’s looking alright. The first line has a lot of chemistry because we’ve played together before. We just have to work with the younger guys so we have a line to go to when we need to get subbed out,” Wotton said.
Juniors Keegan Covello, Sam Desmond, Miller and Seamus Coleman and sophomore Logan Rumrill will also see midfield time.
Seniors Ryan Wallace, Jacob Lizotte and Sam Lescault and junior Sam Desmond will play in the back along with a group that Tata hopes will grow up together, sophomores David Genay, Jacob Say and Kyler Smith.
Tata said the three sophomores will see a “good chunk” of JV time, but will be used at the varsity level as well.
“We have a lot of aggressive D-poles which is always good. Most of them played together before so I think they will be pretty good this season,” Wotton said.
The goalie situation is bit tenuous since Kaiden Keddy had most of the varsity minutes a year ago.
Sophomores Quantiwah Sangasy  and Peter Plourde will share net time.
“Quan saw a lot of time on JV (last season) so he’s seen a lot of shots and, hopefully, that translates over to the varsity side and he’s looking good so far. Peter is our new guy who has come into the school. It’s a real bummer that they are both sophomores. We’re going to have to bounce between the two, see who fits in better and, maybe, it’s a case of playing the hot hand week-to-week, game-by-game,” Tata said.
The Centaurs did finish 7-10 last season and accomplished their goal. The team made the Class M state tournament.
“That’s what I’m hoping for again. Every year, that’s all I want. I want to extend our season as long as humanly possible. Looking at the schedule, I think we have some winnable games, we have a favorable schedule, and I think the gap in the (ECC) between teams is narrowing a bit. East Lyme is still East Lyme, but I think we can start to compete with the others more,” Tata said.
Unfortunately for the Centaurs, they will know just how good the Vikings are early as they host East Lyme in the season opener at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
“At first, I always think, ‘Ugh, East Lyme’ but then, that’s the top of the ECC, one of the best in the state, it is always up there. I would rather see them right away, get that little shell shock and then I can say, ‘Guys, this is what we’re aiming for. This is the kind of team we want to become’,” Tata said.
 Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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