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Week of Sept. 4: Centaurs open with win over Rockville

The youngsters shined early for the Woodstock Academy girls soccer team in its opener.

The Centaurs had several freshmen contribute in a 1-0 win over Rockville Thursday on the road according to coach Dennis Snelling.

That’s good considering the Centaurs lost eight players to graduation.

It was freshman Rita Rawcliffe who got the only goal of the contest with 25 minutes left in regulation, scoring her first career high school goal.

“We had like three shots on goal in a row. The first one hit the post and the ball was played back across to Emma (Massey) who smashed it at the goalie. She made the save, but the rebound went out to the top of the box and Rita put it into the top corner,” Snelling described.

It was fitting for the Centaurs who did have the advantage in possession and shots.

Keeper Rebecca Nazer only touched the ball once in the second half for the Centaurs.

“We used more substitutes, we had more energy and better fitness and that’s kind of why it went that way later in the game,” Snelling said.

The domination of possession was also good to see as the Centaurs did lose their two center-midfielders to graduation, Lennon Favreau and Grace Gelhaus.

In fact, it’s the first time the Centaurs haven’t had a Gelhaus on the team in nine years.

“We realized in practice that Macy (Rawson) was going to be that person because she is just so defensive and is smart about the game. She matches up well with center-mids on the other teams and she and Kayla (Leite) are doing the job,” Snelling said.

Considering the losses to graduation, Snelling thought it was important to get off to a good start.

“We don’t call it rebuilding, it’s just a re-load. The players who graduated are replaced by players that are very good also,” Snelling said.

The team also persevered through the recent heat and humidity wave.

That meant late practices and a late opening game.

The match at Rockville was pushed back to 7 p.m. to let that heat subside a bit.

“It’s been annoying for practice. It was pretty nice by the time the game started at 7 but it was better to get that game in instead of putting it off because we have three games next week. It was a give-and-take with the weather and it was nice that Rockville had lights,”Snelling said.

The Centaurs have three tough home matches scheduled for this week as they will host Ledyard, Wethersfield and Stonington,

“I think we still have to work on connecting the midfield with the forwards a bit more so the forwards don’t have to do their own attack. We had a lot of individual attacks, it should be a little more connected, not so spread out, and more support for the strikers when they have the ball,” Snelling said.