volleyball pg 7 3-28-24


Boys’ Volleyball
Senior Aiden Finch, left, who spearheaded the call for a boys’ volleyball program at Woodstock Academy, and coach Adam Bottone will lead the Centaurs in their inaugural season. Photo by Marc Allard/Woodstock Academy.

It’s a dream come true for Woodstock Academy senior Aiden Finch.
He worked long and hard trying to convince everyone that a boys’ varsity volleyball program was in demand at the school.
He gets to see that program come to fruition before he dons a cap and gown and graduates as the Centaurs will have a boys’ varsity volleyball season this year.
“It’s incredibly special for me,” Finch said. “I’ve been playing since my freshman year, club teams, clinics, friends’ backyards and on the beach and in grass. To finally have a Woodstock Academy team is awesome.”
The Centaurs did have a club program last year.
“The boys that played last year, you could see when we started the preseason that they remembered the basic skills that we went over, knew the technique and those type of things. Having that year under their belt, especially if they didn’t play offseason club volleyball, there is less of a learning curve,” said coach Adam Bottone.
While it will be Bottone’s first year as head coach of the program, he is hardly as rookie at coaching the game as he leads the girls program in the fall.
However, there are more than subtle adjustments for Bottone as well.
“It’s significantly different,” Bottone said when asked to compare the boys’ and girls’ version of the game. “The (boys) game is more dynamic, more of a side out game. If you can get one good pass, a lot of times you will side out. You don’t see the lengthy rallies that you see in the girls’ game. For girls to be productive and efficient, they have to be really good at the skills. The boys seem to make stuff happen, they just like to run through walls,” Bottone said.
Finch said: “I managed the girls for the past two years so I’ve seen (Bottone) with the girls and the guys, it’s very different coaching guys. Guys are a little more playful but also a little more serious, as contradictory it sounds, it’s true. I believe in coach and I think he will do a great job keeping us on track,” Finch said.
Nineteen student-athletes have come out meaning the team can split into a varsity and JV.
Finch will be a key contributor for the Centaurs and will be joined by fellow seniors Anthony Buckner, Ben Da Silva, Cade Jones, Hunter Larson, T.J. Osborne and Addison Tyimok.
“Aiden has to be a leader for us, he’s played club and has a lot of experience. He will be our go-to guy and I expect a lot from him. I got a core of three freshmen in Brayden (Bottone), Christian Hart and Owen Budd who all played club in the offseason and have grown tremendously. We’re starting the program this year and Aiden is a big part of that, the freshmen group will be the heart-and-soul of developing the program over the next four years,” Bottone said.
Junior Nathan Billings and sophomore Weston Mission make up the remainder of the varsity roster.
“I think what excites me the most is that they are just excited to be here,” Bottone added. “They want to learn the sport, to play, they’re excited to be part of the first-ever volleyball team at the school so they want to leave their mark. It’s hard to say yet what we will do well, we’re still figuring out positions. We have some good servers and passers but we’re still figuring out the game and how it works.”
But the coach does expect that to happen and thinks this team has the potential to get to the necessary eight wins to make the state tournament.
The Centaurs are also part of the fledgling Connecticut Volleyball League, which incorporates all of the schools that are not part of a league that offers volleyball.
For Bottone, the competition will be a learning experience.
“I think it’s possible to make the state tournament but I really don’t know what to expect from the teams we play within our conference because I don’t know a whole lot about them, (Norwich Free Academy) and Putnam are familiar but I don’t know a lot about their boys’ programs. A lot of the schools are tech, magnet or independent schools and I don’t know what their numbers are like or how long they have been in existence,” Bottone said.
The Centaurs open the season at home against Wolcott Tech at 5:30 p.m. Monday inside the Alumni Fieldhouse and then host Bulkeley/SMSA on Tuesday.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


RocketTheme Joomla Templates