• Boys soccer

  • Woodstock Academy's Chad Graley works the ball against East Lyme

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    Team Updates

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    Season comes to close for Centaurs

     

    It was, again, a matter of inches.

     

    Such has been the fate of the Woodstock Academy boys soccer program this season.

     

    Andrew Johnson sent in a shot against Windham on Monday that curled nicely toward the net and, unfortunately, hit the post early in the second half.

     

    Just moments later, Sean Rearden broke in from the left side and a Huck Gelhaus cross was just a little too long and rolled harmlessly out.

     

    “That’s been the story of our season. We take a wrong step in the penalty area and it winds up in the back of the net. We end up just on the wrong side of the post on our shoot and it doesn’t go in. That’s been the difference in the games. That was a microcosm of our season,” Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said.

     

    The Centaurs made a game of it on Senior Day in their final home game, but lost to the Windham Whippets, 4-2.

     

    “It’s tough seeing all the parents come out and seeing us lose but, obviously, it’s not all about the result, it’s about the effort and journey we went through to get to this stage,” Sean Rearden said.

     

    The story was similar in the season finale Wednesday in Colchester.

     

    The Centaurs hit the post, the crossbar, and had a couple of shots headed for the goal line that were cleared before they got there.

     

    It resulted in a 4-0 loss to Bacon Academy.

     

    The loss ended the Centaurs’ season at 1-12-3.

     

    It’s not what seniors like Sean Rearden had hoped for.

     

    But not every season can be like 2018.

     

    “It’s been a great four years, especially last year, winning the ECC’s with that team,” Sean Rearden said. “This year has had more of a learning curve and a bit of a building year for the next few.”

     

    Sean Rearden knew it would be difficult because of the loss of key individuals to graduation but had hope that the Centaurs would be in most games.

     

    He believed that to be the case.

     

    “We have competed in most of our games but sometimes, the results just don’t fall for you,” the senior said.

     

    “That’s sport at any level and that’s why we love it,” Paul Rearden said. “We had a quality group of guys. It’s a pleasure coaching and I can’t wait for next season.”

     

    The Centaurs saw 11 players put away the jersey for a last time following the match with the Bobcats.

     

    In addition to Sean Rearden, Doug Newton, Jack Butler, Nelson Rodrigues dos Santos, Nathan Craig, Reid Butler, Greg Weber, Matt LaBounty, Chad Graley and Grayson Walley are all in their senior years.

     

    “It was just fun playing with everyone. It doesn’t have to be a win to have a good time,” Graley said.

     

    The Centaurs fell behind the Whippets (12-1-2) early thanks to the efforts of Alfonso Vazquez.

     

    The senior striker already owns the state record for career goals by a high school player and he added to that total against the Centaurs.

     

    His first came just 7 ½ minutes into the first half when he took a pass from Alexandro Coj, got past the defense and there was just nothing Woodstock Academy keeper Zack Roethlein could do.

     

    The Centaurs tied the game with 14:17 left in the first half when junior Eric Phongsa scored his seventh goal of the season off the rebound of a shot by Logan Talbot.

     

    That’s how the two teams went into the break.

     

    Vazquez struck again in the second half and again, it happened 7 ½ minutes in.

     

    The senior worked his way through the Woodstock Academy defense, forced Roethlein (7 saves) to come out and flipped it over the keeper into the far corner to put the Whippets atop for good.

     

    Kaleb Calixto added a third Windham goal 12 minutes later when a free kick from Andy Linares found Calixto on the opposite post and he booted it home.

     

    The Centaurs did make it a one-goal game again when Graley scored his second of the season.

     

    “A ball was played in and I got a nice touch on it I guess and put it in. I haven’t had a lot of those this year so it was nice to put it in,” Graley said.

     

    It gave the Centaurs some hope with 14:38 left in the match but with five minutes to play, Vazquez made the nice move in the penalty area to give him a little opening for his right foot and he lofted it into the opposite corner for his 44th goal of the season and 138th of his career.

     

    “We gave them a game. Take Alfonso out of the game and we win the game,” Paul Rearden said.

     

    “It’s hard to contain a player who is that fast and that strong with quick feet,” Sean Rearden said.

     

    Paul Rearden said while the loss and the season as a whole was a bit disappointing, there was plenty of good things this season.

     

    “Especially on Senior Day, you look at what you have and know it’s the last home game for some of these boys. You look at how they have worked over the season and looking at the big picture, they have all worked their hearts out. Everyone came in and played a role. Yeah, things haven’t quite clicked for us in certain areas. It would have been easy for these guys to drop their heads and not give the effort that they did and that goes from the seniors right down to the two freshmen that we pulled up,” Paul Rearden said.

     

    Paul Rearden added despite the loss of 11 seniors, the cupboard is not bare.

     

    “The next couple of years look really, really good,” the Woodstock Academy coach said.



     

    Bears shutout Centaurs

    The Stonington Bears are tough customers this season.

    "They are a very good side," Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said.

    Senior Tyler Fidrych scored two first half goals and Will Sawin added a goal in the second half for the Bears (12-0-2, 5-0-1 ECC Division I) who clinched the ECC Division I title for themselves with a 3-0 win over Woodstock Academy Saturday.

    Rearden, however, thought the Centaurs acquitted themselves well.

    "We actually contained them really well and created a couple of chances of our own," Rearden said.

    The Centaurs had four good chances in the second half but failed to finish on any of them.

    "I thought we went toe-to-toe with them for 80 minutes, showing desire, confidence and just sheer, hard work," Rearden said.

    Woodstock Academy was playing without seniors Sean Rearden, Grayson Walley and Reid Butler.

    The Centaurs fell to 1-10-3 and finished 0-6 in ECC Division I.

    They play their final home match of the season on Monday at 3:45 p.m. against Windham at the Bentley Athletic Complex.

    The game will be broadcast live on woodstockacademy.org/live in radio format only.

    Centaurs settle for scoreless tie

    Neither the Centaurs nor Waterford could find the net and the two Eastern Connecticut Conference teams had to settle for 0-0 deadlock.

    Zack Roethlein made a save on a penalty kick in the second half to preserve the tie for the Centaurs (1-9-3).

    NFA slides past WA, 3-1

    The Centaurs played pretty well again.

    It just didn't show on the scoreboard at the end of the match.

    Woodstock Academy outshot Norwich Free Academy, 16-6, but only one ball found the back of the net for the Centaurs Monday at the Bentley Athletic Complex while the Wildcats scored on 50 percent of their opportunities in a 3-1 win.

    The Wildcats broke out to a 2-0 lead before the Centaurs (1-9-2, 0-5 Eastern Connecticut Conference Div. I) got on the board late.

    Eric Phongsa took a through ball from Sean Rearden and converted for his sixth goal of the season with 13 minutes left in the match.

    NFA  (4-6-1, 2-4) took advantage of a red card issued against the Centaurs to score a third goal late to account for the final. 

     

    Centaurs enjoy undefeated week

    Woodstock Academy boys soccer coach Paul Rearden was hopeful that the momentum the Centaurs built on Friday was going to carry over into Saturday.

    It did.

    “Coming on the heels of (Friday’s) game, it was a big ask for them to compete at that level again. But they came out of the blocks flying,” Rearden said.

    The Centaurs finished in a 1-all tie with Auburn, MA. on Friday, scoring a goal in the final three minutes.

    On Saturday, they scored the first goal in a match at Coginchaug Regional in Durham and again finished in a 1-all deadlock.

    The two ties gives the Centaurs a 1-8-2 record.

    “It would have been nice to win (the Coginchaug match) after the tie Friday but the boys were saying, ‘This is what we need,’” Rearden said.

    Unfortunately, the Centaurs will need a little more than that to qualify for the Class L state tournament.

    The Centaurs have five matches left coming into the week and need to win them all to make the postseason.

    It begins on Monday with a home match against Norwich Free Academy at 3:45 p.m.

    Rearden said its back to the old cliche, "one game at a time" for the Centaurs.

    “We just have to worry about winning the next game. If you look too far out, you tend to trip over things because you’re not looking at what is in front of you. We just have to keep up the performances,” Rearden said. “Look at the positive, we were undefeated (last) week.”

    Nothing is impossible.

    Rearden pointed out that Coginchaug shutout Valley Regional recently, 3-0, and the Warriors were a 4-0 winner over the Centaurs.

    “Soccer has a weird way of falling. You can’t take anything for granted. We have a head of steam now and we just hope we can use it,” Rearden said.

    The Centaurs had plenty of rest coming into the week.

    Their last match was on Oct. 7 before they returned to the field on Oct. 18 in Auburn, MA.

    The Rockets opened a 1-0 lead early when they scored just 15 minutes into the match on Friday, even though Rearden thought Woodstock Academy had the better of the play in the first half.

    The second half was similar with neither team having a very good chance.

    The best for the Centaurs came off the foot of Logan Talbot who struck the cross bar with a shot.

    But with three minutes left, the Centaurs finally caught a break.

    Woodstock Academy’s Andrew Johnson was taken down in Auburn territory.

    “The after effects of that challenge was still bothering (Johnson Saturday),” Rearden said.

    So, the Woodstock Academy coach thought it was only fitting that Talbot sent a ball into the area and senior Sean Rearden got his head on it and directed it into the net for his fourth goal of the season.

    The Centaurs followed up that last-minute game saver with an early goal on Saturday in Durham.

    Paul Rearden thought his team played a very good first half and could have easily been up by multiple goals.

    Instead, they had to settle for the one-goal advantage.

    Leading scorer Eric Phongsa scored his fifth goal of the year off an assist from Huck Gelhaus.

    The Centaurs had Coginchaug in retreat and their defense was trying to make a stand inside the penalty area.

    Coginchaug tried to clear the ball but Gelhaus won the 50-50 ball and headed it back in the direction of Phongsa.

    “Fantastic finish,” said Paul Rearden. “Eric just made a great turn and rifled one in. A spectacular goal.”

    The Blue Devils tried to respond early in the second half but the Centaurs defense was staunch.

    Coginchaug (10-2-2) finally tied the game with 25 minutes left. A Blue Devils’ corner bounced into the middle of a crowd, finally finding Coginchaug’s Kevin Ryan who found the back of the net.

    The efforts may not have produced wins, but that didn’t bother Paul Rearden.

    “Two really unbelievable performances against two good teams,” the Woodstock Academy coach said. “I’m really pleased for the boys. Sooner or later, if you keep working, you will start to get the breaks.”

     

    Centaurs lose heartbreaker

    Woodstock Academy boys soccer coach Paul Rearden wanted to put a little fire in striker Eric Phongsa’s belly.

    Rearden took his leading scorer out late in the first half after seeing him looking a little tired on the field against East Lyme last week.

    He kept him there until midway through the second half.

    “I just left him sitting there, thinking about what I said, and maybe it would get his blood boiling a little bit more,” Rearden said.

    It worked.

    The junior scored two second half goals to bring the Centaurs even in the second half.

    Unfortunately as their luck would have it this season, it wasn’t enough and a late goal lifted East Lyme to a 3-2 victory.

    The loss dropped the Centaurs to 1-8 on the season, 0-4 in Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I.

    East Lyme struck twice in the first half.

    Ethan Stewart scored the first goal for the Vikings halfway through the first half off an assist from Kurt Mahlke.

    With just under 10 minutes to play in the half, East Lyme made it 2-0 when Jon Northcutt put home a ball off a corner from Evan Kluge.

    “It was a strange start,” Rearden said. “The last few games, we have been good at anticipating things and getting to the ball first. It seemed like we were questioning ourselves. As the half went on, it got a little better. By the end of the half, I thought we were nearly there.”

    But finishing at the net, as it has been all season, was a problem.

    The Centaurs have 15 goals this season, but eight came in a win against New London. Put that together and they average less than a goal a match.

    What followed in the second half made Rearden much happier.

    His Centaurs played perhaps their best half of soccer of the season thus far.

    Phongsa kicked it into gear when Rearden put him back in.

    “I told him to go out there and give it everything you got,” Rearden said. “And in fairness to him, he worked as hard as I’ve ever seen him and got rewarded.”

    Phongsa scored two second half goals to tie the game.

    He took a through ball from Logan Talbot and went around the East Lyme keeper to get Woodstock Academy on the board.

    The second was more individual effort as he stole a ball with six minutes to play and again beat the keeper to tie the match.

    But with 46 seconds left, Woodstock Academy was awarded a free kick following an East Lyme foul.

    The free kick didn’t reach midfield.

    “We were just in too much of a rush to take it,” Rearden said.

    It didn’t reach the half and came back in faster than it left.

    Stewart got a through ball from a teammate and scored his second goal of the game.

    “It was one of those times especially when it’s that late in the game where you get the second goal and tie it up that late and coming off the field, with a 2-2 tie, would taste and feel like a victory. You can carry that into the next match. So to have happen what happened, it’s cruel,” Rearden said.

    Fortunately for the Centaurs, Rearden said they could glean some positives from it as they felt like just playing East Lyme close was an improvement.

    Rearden was hoping to wash the taste from his team’s mouths with a good effort against Coginchaug later in the week.

    The match was postponed by weather.

    “We wanted to get back on the field, back up on the horse so to speak, because we did play really well in the second half (against East Lyme) and they were looking forward to playing again. We didn’t know what to expect from Coginchaug,” Rearden said.

    The postponement of the game (it had not been rescheduled at yet at press time) meant the Centaurs have nine days off without a match before playing Auburn, MA. at 4 p.m. this Friday.

    “We just have to keep the spirits up in practice,” Rearden said. “Keep the pace of the practices up because with the break in games, we don’t want them to lose the sharpness.  We have a decent JV team so maybe we can scrimmage them to keep (the varsity’s) legs going.”

     

    Centaurs down New London; fall to Amherst

     

    The Woodstock Academy boys soccer team did something they haven’t done all that much this season.

    The Centaurs jumped out in front of New London on a Logan Talbot goal just 3 minutes, 56 seconds into the match.

    Still, coach Paul Rearden wasn’t happy about his team’s early play.

    “I actually thought it was probably the worst we played this season,” the Woodstock Academy coach said. “Our shape was all over the place. There wasn’t much discipline and when they had the ball, we were sloppy and gave it away.”

     As a result, the Whalers tied the match.

     And that was a mistake for New London which found itself on the wrong side of an 8-1 score to the Centaurs Thursday at the Bentley Athletic Complex.

     It was the first win of the season for Woodstock Academy.

     “It’s a huge win,” said senior captain Nathan Craig. “It’s the first one. We got some finishing in. Our strikers are getting more confident and that will help us in other games.”

     The Whalers’ Wesley Paulo took a ball that skidded off a Centaur player’s head and went backwards down the sidelines.

     The New London player lofted it in from about 35 yards out and it found the upper portion of the opposite corner of the net with 25:34 left in the first half.

     “I didn’t expect it to go in, but it was a great shot. There was nothing (Woodstock Academy keeper) Zach (Reothlein) could have done about that,” Craig said. “It woke us up. We came back after that.”

     In a blistering way.

     The Centaurs retook the lead just 2:24 later when Eric Phongsa had a break away.

     New London keeper Emmanuel Marin had no choice but to come out and challenge the Woodstock Academy striker and the two collided.

     The Centaurs were awarded a penalty kick and Sean Rearden put it home for the 2-1 lead.

     Just 1:15 later, Phongsa would get his own.

     He took a defensive clear from Gabe Geyer and again was challenged by Marin, this time well awayu from the net.

     Phongsa slipped by the keeper and casually rolled the ball into an open net.

     Just 24 seconds after that, Reid Butler came in from the right, got Marin to commit, and made a beautiful cross to Richard Hickson who converted into an empty net to make it 4-1.

     Phongsa made it 5-1 by the half when a corner kick by Hickson was re-directed by Sean Rearden on to Phongsa’s foot who scored his second goal of the match.

    "You could see the confidence once the second one went in and then we got the others in quick succession. I think after that, you could see the confidence flowing and I think that was all that was missing in front of goal. It's OK to get chances, but you have to be confident to take them," Paul Rearden said.

     Paul Rearden began to empty the bench.

     Geyer, Chad Graley and Justin Marcotte all scored in the second half.

     “It was great to see the goals shared out,” Paul Rearden said. “It was great to see lads who haven’t had that much luck with playing time come in and do a great job.”

    Unfortunately for the Centaurs, the script returned to what has become normal for the season on Saturday.

    They fell to 1-7 with a 4-1 loss to Amherst, MA. at the Bentley Athletic Complex.

    “They were a good side,” Paul Rearden said. “I think they were the better team. When the ball was in our box, we competed for everything. But when it dropped outside, everybody backed off and their first two goals were on long shots. Maybe you get caught on the first one, you can’t let it happen a second time. We make mistakes, we get punished for them.”

    Amherst made a mistake but it came too late to make too much of a difference.

    Hickson was tripped inside the area and Woodstock Academy was awarded a penalty kick.

    Sean Rearden converted on his second PK of the week.

    The only problem was the goal came with just 17 seconds left.

    “Getting the PK says wonders about the spirit of the boys,” Paul Rearden said. “These boys never stop. They don’t know when they’re beaten. That’s a massive positive.”

     

     

     

    Lack of scoring makes life difficult for Centaurs

    Putting the ball into the net has been a challenge for the Woodstock Academy boys soccer team this season.

    That challenge continued on Thursday.

    “The boys gave their all and totally dominated the game. We just can’t buy a goal,” Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said.

    As a result, the Centaurs left Norwich Free Academy with another loss by shutout, 3-0, at the hands of the Wildcats.

    The loss dropped the Centaurs to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

    To make matters worse, it was an even less than enjoyable bus ride home.

    The game was played in a vicious driving rain.

    “The weather was unbelievable. You couldn’t even see through the rain at one point,” Rearden said.

    There was little the Woodstock Academy boys soccer team could do on Tuesday either.

    “I just said to the boys, sometimes, you have to get slapped around the head for the mistakes we made, but other times, you just have to hold up your hand, and say, ‘Good team,’”Rearden said.

    Such was the case with Stonington.

    The Bears were dominant throughout at the Bentley Athletic Complex and went home with a 5-0 victory over the Centaurs.

    No one was more dominant than Stonington’s sophomore striker Sam Montalto.

    “The thing that I was the most grateful about (Tuesday) was that I wasn’t on the field marking him,” Rearden said. “When you have a striker like that, it wasn’t just what he was doing on the ball, it was his movement without it. They have the kids behind with the vision and ability to play some through balls that they got to him.”

    Rearden wasn’t happy with the first two goals which he thought were the result of defensive breakdowns.

    Montalto took a pass from fellow sophomore Will Sawin just 3 minutes, 18 seconds into the match and beat Centaurs goalie Colin Manuilow.

    Manuilow was starting in place of Zach Roethlein who was saddled with a red card in the previous match against East Lyme.

    Manuilow recorded nine saves for the Centaurs.

    One of his goal kicks, however, found the wrong jersey.

    Montalto picked it off, dribbled it in and fired it home just five minutes after his first tally.

    Montalto got his hat trick before the first half was even half over.

    A Montalto shot was rejected by Manuilow, but Tyler Fidrych picked it up for the Bears, and gave it back to the striker who scored for a third time with 20:12 left in the first half.

    Fidrych would get one of his own with 9:17 to play in the first half and Ethan Allen finished the scoring off with a goal for Stonington 8 ½ minutes into the second half.

    Rearden said the team has been a little snakebit thus far this season.

    A bounce or two, here-and-there, might have helped.

    It just hasn’t happened.

    “We’ve had two goals this season where the ball has come right off the crossbar and landed straight at the feet of the other team. It’s little things like that you just have to shake your head at,” Rearden said.

    But Rearden remains optimistic because of the manner in which his team continues to play.

    Despite being down the five goals on Tuesday, his Centaurs were still challenging for 50-50 balls and winning them.

    “They never gave up,” Rearden said. “One day, we will, hopefully, have a little luck on our side. As long as you keep on trying to do the right thing, it’s all you can do. You just have to keep reinforcing that. They are a great set of kids.”

     

     

    Second half spoils Centaurs week

    The second half of matches was not kind to the Woodstock Academy boys soccer team this week.

    Against both Ledyard and East Lyme, the Centaurs had the lead in the early part of the last 40 minutes only to see it slip away.

    As a result, Ledyard beat the Centaurs on their home turf on Tuesday, 3-1, and East Lyme got the best of the Centaurs, 4-2, down by the shoreline on Friday.

    “You just have to keep upbeat,” Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said after his team dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference following the loss to East Lyme. “Nobody let their heads drop on the field. The spirit is there and they are trying to do the right thing. They are working hard, trying to do the things we tell them and there are definitely improvements in every game. Eventually, hard work gets rewards.”

    Just not last week.

    The Centaurs fell behind the Vikings on Friday when senior Kurt Mahlke made the most of a "cruel deflection" in Paul Rearden's opinion and beat Centaurs' keeper Zach Roethlein 10 minutes into the contest.

    Woodstock Academy answered just before the break when Huck Gelhaus won the ball at midfield and played it to Sean Rearden.  He passed it to Eric Phongsa who looked like he was headed for the net, until he spied Logan Talbot in a better position. Phongsa's pass got to Talbot at the perfect time as Talbot only needed one touch to beat the defense and send the ball into the top corner of the net.

    It was Talbot’s second tally of the season.

    The Centaurs went ahead 10 minutes into the second half when Sean Rearden got position in the box and Jack Butler got him the ball. Sean Rearden had a nice first touch, got his foot on the ball on the first bounce and sent it into the far bottom corner for his first goal of the season.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t stand up.

    East Lyme (2-2, 1-0 ECC Division I) tied the game on a goal by junior Noam Sokolovsky.

    And then, halfway through the second half, it all came crashing down.

    Roethlein was given a red card when he had to come out of the area to challenge an East Lyme player on a breakaway and the two collided.

    It wasn’t the hit that got Roethlein, it was the fact that he was the last Centaur standing between the East Lyme player and the goal and had there not been contact, the ball likely would have ended up in the net.

    It did soon after.

    As soon as Roethlein was forced to the bench, Colin Manuilow stepped into the net. Mahlke was awarded a free kick from just outside the box and his well-placed low liner eluded Manuilow and put the Vikings up, 3-2.

    “I wouldn’t say it was a mistake by Zach because if the same thing happened again, I would expect him to come out for that ball,” Paul Rearden said.

    About 10 minutes later, Sean Rearden was forced from the match when he fell awkwardly and struck his head on the turf.

    “He had to come out, and he’s one of the most influential players on the team. To go down to 10 men and then to lose one of your captains, one of your leaders, it’s a double whammy,” Paul Rearden said.

    The Centaurs decided to push up.

    Late in the match, East Lyme took advantage of that and got a breakaway opportunity.

    Sokolovsky took a rebound off the cross bar and directed it into the net for the insurance goal that sealed the Centaurs fate.

    Woodstock Academy had its chances on its home grass against Ledyard.

    The Centaurs outshot the Colonels 8-3 in the first half including some darts from Gelhaus, Sean Rearden, Phongsa and Talbot.

    Nothing found its mark.

    Woodstock Academy finally broke the scoreless tie early in the second half when Sean Rearden sent a corner into the box, Ledyard thought it had cleared the ball, only to see it land in front of Talbot who took the bounce and sent it into the upper left corner.

    Rich Hickson almost made it 2-0 when he took a cross from Talbot, but he was hit in the foot just as he kicked it which sent the ball right at the post.

    As the Centaurs luck this year would have it, it ricocheted harmlessly away.

    Halfway through the second half, the Colonels (2-1) tied it on a goal by Nick Washington.

    Ledyard then went ahead when Alex Warmus converted just four minutes later.

    Roethlein did turn away a Ledyard penalty kick, but the Colonels added some insurance when Washington scored with five minutes remaining.

    “A lot of teams get away with the mistakes they make. We’re just in one of those periods of time where every little mistake bites you,” Paul Rearden said. “The last two games, we’ve looked a lot more solid defensively. The game against Ledyard, that took away from out attacking game a little. But the practices we had between, we talked about once we did win the ball to be braver and go for it and we had two great goals (versus East Lyme).”

     

    Centaurs have tough first week

    Things didn’t go well from the start on Saturday for the Woodstock Academy boys soccer team.

    It was par for the course so far for the squad.

    Colin Smith, in warm ups, planted his foot and went to the ground.

    Fortunately the injury didn’t appear to be serious, but he was unable to play for the day.

    It was the beginning to a not-so-great day against Valley Regional who walked away from the Bentley Athletic Complex with a 4-0 win over the Centaurs.

    The loss dropped the Centaurs to 0-2.

    But it’s a start that coach Paul Rearden has become accustomed to.

    “Last year, we didn’t win our first two games, either,” he said. “Learning curve. This might sound totally ridiculous, considering it was a 4-0 final, but we gave away two goals and, conservatively, we had five good chances in the first half, not so many in the second, but we should have come out with something. Give them credit, on the couple of chances they had, they made them.”

    The numbers seem to bear that out.

    The Warriors took 14 shots, the Centaurs 13.

    “We have be tighter on defense, as a team, not just the defensive line. Do you learn from it? I did take a lot. Our first half performance, I couldn’t fault. Two little mistakes gave the goals away,” Rearden said.

    Cameron Frazier scored the first goal for the Warriors just 5 minutes, 55 seconds into the match off an assist from Evan Benson.

    Just 12 minutes before the end of the half, Keenan Pinder found the net from a feed from Jake Burdick.

    Valley Regional finished it off in the second half on a pair of goals from Ryan Shasha.

    The Centaurs have only scored one goal in the first two games, but Rearden feels it could be much better.

    They have been playing without the leading returning scorer from last season, Eric Phongsa.

    Had one or two of those missed chances gone in Saturday, it may have led to more.

    “It could be better,” Rearden said. “We just have to show some determination, show some backbone to recover from two tough results. This is a good set of lads, have a great attitude, they will bounce back.”

    The Centaurs tried to mount a comeback but fell short and lost to Fitch in Groton, 4-1, in their season opener Thursday.

    The Falcons took the 3-0 lead before Woodstock Academy was able to break through.

    Logan Talbot was dragged down 30 yards away from the net.

    His ensuing free kick found the foot of Sean Rearden who delivered it to the head of Huck Gelhaus.

    The junior headed it into the top corner of the net to cut the deficit to two goals with 15 minutes to play.

    Paul Rearden thought his team had pulled within a goal moments later when a Greg Weber header hit the cross bar and came down to the foot of Gelhaus who directed it home. But the goal was disallowed as it was ruled out of play after it hit the crossbar.

    The Falcons put the game away when Sebastian Duffy completed his hat trick to give the Falcons the three-goal lead again.

    "Fitch looks formidable this season, both individually and as a team," Paul Rearden said. "They were the better team on the night and showed where we needed to improve."

    Zach Roethlein started in goal and made five saves for the Centaurs.

    The Centaurs took only seven shots at the Falcons' net.

     

     

     

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  • Woodstock Academy's Eric Phongsa tries to track down the ball against East Lyme's Kane Salan

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