Short stay in state tournament
The Woodstock Academy boys lacrosse team ran into a strong opponent in its first foray into the state tournament since 2016.
The Avon Falcons, the 15th seed out of the Central Connecticut Conference, struck early and often on Friday on their home field and downed the 18th-seeded Centaurs, 16-4, in a Class M qualifying round match.
The loss ended the Centaurs’ season at 8-9.
“I would say eight wins is progress the program can be proud of,” said coach Michael Noel. “We need players that are going to make the commitment to improve their game in the offseason. Hopefully, we return next year with improved skills and take another step forward.”
Avon (9-7) had nine goals by the middle of the second quarter and led 10-3 at the break.
“Avon was a good attacking team full of athletes. We had a tough time keeping up with their speed especially in transition,” Noel said.
Sophomore Guerin Favreau scored a pair of goals, both of those came in the first half, to give him 43 on the season.
He also assisted on both of the other Centaur goals. That raised his assist total to 29 and gave him 72 points for the year.
Senior Ethan Holcomb, who will be headed to Keene State to play Division III college lacrosse, had the other two goals to give him 28 on the season. Add his 29 assists to that total and Holcomb finished with 57 points on the year.
Senior Ethan Haass, the team’s third-leading scorer with 31 points, added an assist in the game.
Seth Libby (29 points) and Austen LeDonne (13) rounded out the top five scorers for the season.
While the loss ended the season, at least, the Centaurs were able to play one more game than they had in the recent past.
“The team set a goal at the beginning of the year to make the tournament. They accomplished that goal and they should be proud,” said Noel.
Week 7 review: Centaurs finish regular season with .500 record
The regular season has come to a close for the Woodstock Academy boys lacrosse team.
Fortunately, for the Centaurs, there is a postseason to look forward to.
For the first time since 2016, Woodstock Academy qualified for the Class M state tournament.
“It was a goal, something we talked about all year. We wanted to get to those seven wins,” coach Michael Noel said.
The Centaurs went a little beyond that.
They finished with a .500 record.
Woodstock Academy downed the St. Bernard-Wheeler cooperative, 12-7, on Saturday to finish with an 8-8 mark.
Sophomore Guerin Favreau led the way with four goals and three assists.
It gave him 68 points for the season (41 goals, 27 assists) and 108 for his career.
Favreau cleared the career century mark in points earlier in the week in a loss to Norwich Free Academy.
“Guerin is the backbone and it’s nice that he is just a sophomore. He’s going to be stick around and, hopefully, we will get some people that can ramp up their game and help him out. I know it’s a frustrating thing when the team relies on you solely,” Noel said.
Favreau got some help against the Saints.
Senior Ethan Holcomb finished with three goals and an assist while Colin Smith added a pair of tallies.
Gabe Geyer, Austen LeDonne and Seth Libby also scored.
The win was a good way to finish the week for the Centaurs who lost a heartbreaker to Fitch early in the week.
The Centaurs fought hard, but lost, 10-8, to the Falcons in a game that was switched to the Bentley Athletic Complex and ended a stretch of five games on the road.
Things didn’t get much better away from the friendly confines as the Centaurs fell to Norwich Free Academy, 9-6, on Thursday.
Favreau scored four goals and Ethan Haass added a pair but the Centaurs came up short, against the Falcons.
Woodstock Academy never held the lead in the match, but kept it close throughout.
“Every time we tied it up, it seemed like we ended up in a man-down situation and they capitalized,” Noel said. “That was the disappointing part. You can disagree all you want with the officials, but the call is the call.”
Fortunately, for the Centaurs, they didn’t dispute those calls with the officials.
“They competed, they battled. Lacrosse-wise, it was a fun game to watch, but it was disappointing in the end result,” Noel said.
Favreau's first goal of the game tied it at one midway through the first quarter.
LeDonne added another first quarter tally but the Falcons led, 3-2, after one.
Haass scored his first goal to tie the match briefly at three, but the Centaurs found themselves down, 5-3, at halftime.
Favreau was the only one to find the back of the cage in the third quarter, but goalie Alex Wojciechowski (13 saves) held the Falcons scoreless and it was a one-goal match going into the final quarter.
It was the first time that Wojciechowski played between the pipes.
“I was pleasantly surprised with that,” Noel said. “That was a fantastic effort by Alex. It was great of him to step up. We needed it and I think the team fed off of him.”
The two teams traded goals with Favreau, Haass and Libby getting goals to tie the game at eight.
Fitch captured the win with a pair of goals over the final 2:57 of the game.
Favreau added two more goals in the loss to the Wildcats on Thursday.
The team had also been hampered by an injury to senior Ethan Holcomb (23 goals, 28 assists, 51 points).
He finished with three assists against Fitch and had a goal and two assists against the Wildcats before the four-point game against St. Bernard-Wheeler.
Holcomb had been bothered by a tight hamstring.
“He’s good to go,” Noel said. “I want him to get more offensive opportunities. He needs to take more shots. He’s been trying to get everyone else goals and he’s doing a great job of it, his assist numbers are fantastic. But he and Guerin at the beginning of the season were working well with each other, feeding off each other and feeding each other. I want to get back to that.”
Libby scored two goals against NFA and Sean McCusker had the other.
The loss to the Wildcats meant the Centaurs finished 1-7 in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
Week 6 review: Centaurs make postseason play
For the first time since the current crop of seniors were freshmen, the Woodstock Academy Centaurs boys lacrosse team will play in the Class M state tournament.
The Centaurs last appeared in 2016 when they lost a qualifying round game to Masuk.
They promised themselves a return trip with a 14-4 win over Montville on Saturday to raise their record to 7-6.
“I’m extremely proud of this group that has worked hard all year,” Woodstock Academy coach Michael Noel said. “They set out with the goal of making the tournament and they did it with three games still to play.”
The Centaurs didn’t waste any time in the win on the road over the Indians.
Guerin Favreau scored the first two goals for Woodstock Academy.
The sophomore put his first home with 7:21 left in the quarter to give the Centaurs the lead for good. His second came just 32 seconds later and he would finish up the hat trick before the end of the first quarter.
Favreau added two assists, giving him 31 goals and 23 assists on the season.
Ethan Haass also finished with three goals before the end of the quarter and Austen LeDonne, who added two assists, capped things off just before the horn sounded to give Woodstock Academy a 7-0 lead.
“It was nice to see them with good energy and enthusiasm for a Saturday morning away game. They knew it was important to come out strong and not let up,” Noel said.
Seth Libby scored twice in the second quarter and Ethan Holcomb added another just before the half to make it 10-1 in favor of the Centaurs.
While Holcomb had only the one goal, he assisted on six others for Woodstock Academy.
Libby also finished with a hat trick while Gabe Geyer, Jackson Chambers (two assists) and Ian Nielsen also scored.
The Centaurs set themselves up for their seventh win with a 12-10 victory over the Rockville-Stafford cooperative program last Wednesday.
Favreau finished with six goals and an assist while Holcomb contributed two goals and three assists.
Haass and Libby scored twice and Alex Wojciechowski tossed in a pair of saves.
Goalie Colin Liscomb made 16 saves.
“We knew the game was going to be competitive and the team remained focused and worked hard for four quarters. We are going to need more of that for our last three games,” Noel said.
The Centaurs did have a rough go against Waterford.
The Lancers handed them a 15-6 loss.
Holcomb had three goals and two assists in the loss while Favreau (1 assist), Libby and Haass also scored.
The Centaurs have games remaining at Fitch (Tuesday), Norwich Free Academy (Thursday) and St. Bernard-Wheeler (Saturday).
“I personally think our record could be better at this point. We have the talent and the desire but we need to avoid the self-inflicted errors and maintain our composure at all times,” Noel said. “I told the team that they shouldn’t be satisfied with just qualifying for the tournament. A winning record is something achievable and they need to focus on these next three games.”
Week 5 review: A mixed bag for Centaurs
The goal for the Woodstock Academy boys lacrosse team is to make the Class M state tournament for the first time since 2016.
That may not seem like all that long ago, but consider, at that time this year’s seniors were freshmen,
To accomplish their goal, the Centaurs must win two of their final six games.
There are winnable games out there, including Wednesday’s game at Rockville-Stafford, which came into the week at 1-9, and Saturday’s game at Montville (0-9).
But after that, it gets dicey.
All of the other remaining games for the Centaurs are also on the road and they come against Waterford which downed the Centaurs 18-5 in their first meeting; Fitch, a 9-8 loss; St. Bernard-Wheeler, a 7-3 loss and Norwich Free Academy, a 10-9 overtime win.
“They’re tough games, but they are the type of games that this program needs to start winning. Those are the teams we have to beat to make the next jump. I thought the composure we showed in that NFA game was amazing, but somehow, we’ve lost it,” Woodstock Academy coach Michael Noel said.
The Centaurs quickly came down to earth in their next game, a 13-4 loss at Stonington on Tuesday.
It took a strong second half by the Centaurs to post an 11-4 win over the Norwich Tech-Windham Tech cooperative on Thursday.
That win evened the Woodstock Academy record at 5-5.
The Centaurs didn’t get out of the box very quickly and led only, 5-3, against Norwich Tech-Windham Tech at the half.
“We were disappointed with that. We beat them 14-0 the first time so being only up by two going into the third quarter was a little bit of a shock,” Woodstock Academy sophomore Guerin Favreau said.
So, Noel mixed it up in the second half.
“We moved Guerin down to attack and he started to feed people and he ended up feeding Libby,” Noel said.
Libby was more than happy to get the free lunch.
The junior finished with five goals in the game, giving him 17 on the season.
“At the beginning of the first half when I was playing middie, they were pressing me really close and didn’t let me get the ball at all. Then I went to ‘X’ and they completely dropped the press and it was a lot easier to get the ball and distribute it to other players,” Favreau said.
Favreau finished with two goals and three assists while Ethan Haass chipped in with a hat trick for the Centaurs.
It was a much better ending to the week than the start.
The Centaurs went to Stonington and never got off the bus.
“I was very disappointed with that game,” Noel said. “We were lethargic, they didn’t have any energy at all.”
One of the key reasons for that could have been the absence of Ethan Holcomb.
The team captain pulled his hamstring in the win over NFA and missed most of that game and was also on the sideline for both the Stonington and Norwich Tech-Windham Tech games.
“It affects everyone because he is so dominant on all parts of the field and he’s our playmaker. It hurts not to have him out there,” Favreau said.
Noel said Holcomb started practicing light again late in the week and will be back in time for the Rockville-Stafford match.
“He says he’s feeling a lot better, but I want him 100 percent for the rest of the season, so I’m giving him some time and, hopefully, that works,” Noel said.
In Holcomb’s absence, the Centaurs offense sputtered against the Bears.
Austen LeDonne had a pair of tallies while Favreau (21 goals, 19 assists this season) added a goal and two assists and Sean McCusker added the other.
Colin Liscomb, despite giving up 13 goals, played well in the cage, making 19 saves.