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Week 1: Centaurs open with a tie at Ledyard, fall short to NFA

In neither of their first two matches did the Centaurs start well.

Take the season opener in Ledyard which ended in a 2-2 deadlock on Thursday.

“To be totally honest, they started stronger and we got our first goal probably against better play. We hung in there. They came out really quick out of the box,” Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said.

But high school matches aren’t always decided by who is playing better.

It was the Centaurs who tallied the first two goals.

“Both of our goals came because our boys chased down a lost cause, (the first one we) ended up winning the ball and got a corner,” Rearden described.

The ball that came in to senior Gace Viau from from sophomore John Bennett was dead solid perfect.

“The ball never touched the ground from coming in from the corner to going into the back of the net. It was the best goal I’ve ever seen in high school,” Rearden said.

The Centaurs went ahead by two halfway through the first half when sophomore Austin Byer chased down a ball that a Ledyard defender thought was headed to the sideline. Byer took it, raced toward the net, and put it home.

But that’s where the real good vibes ended.

Nate Vidal sent a long ball through the Centaurs defense with 12 seconds left in the first half to slice the deficit in half.

Vidal tied the game for the Colonels (0-0-1) with 17 minutes to play.

A slow start also cost the Centaurs on Saturday at the Bentley Athletic Complex.

Neither team scored in the first 37 ½ minutes of the first half although the Wildcats took eight shots to the Centaurs one.

NFA finally hit paydirt when Rood Apolon scored not one but two goals in the final 4 ½ minutes to put the Wildcats (1-0-1, 1-0-0 Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I) up 2-nil.

One of the highlights of the first half for Woodstock Academy was the play of goalie Brian Jameson who even foiled a penalty kick attempt by NFA.

“It was a great save and he deserved that,” Rearden said of his keeper.

Apolon struck again just 6 minutes, 21 seconds into the second half to make it 3-0.

But the Centaurs (0-1-1, 0-1-0) were more on the attack in the second half than they were in the first.

“We never gave up,” Rearden said. “We kept on going and I thought we had a foothold in the game.”

That’s because with 30 minutes to play, Max Ferreira scored off an assist from Bennett for the Centaurs.

Unfortunately, that foothold never got much better as neither team would score the remainder of the way.

So far, Rearden is happy with what he has seen.

It’s just going to take some tweaking especially on the pitch.

“The kids get along great as a group but it’s the chemistry between a left back and a left mid(fielder0 on a striker for example that we’re still working on, the on-field chemistry,” said the Woodstock Academy coach. “But it will come, we have some good players out here with a lot of talent. We have to get the breaks and that’s what we’re working on- we have to make our luck.”