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Week of Oct 9: Costa propels Centaurs to a pair of victories

The Woodstock Academy girls soccer team pulled themselves within a win or a tie of qualifying for the Class L state tournament with a 3-2 win on the road against Ellington.

That’s important as the remaining schedule doesn’t have many easy matches on it.

The Centaurs (5-4-2) begin the week with matches against formidable opponents, Wethersfield and E.O. Smith.

The Centaurs also have to play the remaining three matches of their Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I season, going on the road against Stonington and Norwich Free Academy before finishing up at home against East Lyme.

“We’re looking at all of them as potential make-or-break games at this point,” said Woodstock Academy coach Dennis Snelling. “Every team is in kind of the same situation, getting ready for the end of the regular season. It’s a wild schedule. We have two of probably the best teams in the state back-to-back (Wethersfield and E.O. Smith Monday and Tuesday) to get ready for our more important league games.”

That’s why it’s good that junior forward Leah Costa is peaking at the right time.

Costa has eight goals in the last five matches including two each in the win over Ellington and a 4-0 win over Fitch earlier in the week.

“If you take away the Waterford game (a 2-0 loss on Oct. 7), she’s had two goals a game. I think she started off slow and was disappointed but eight goals in five games is great for the team and her confidence,” Snelling said.

Costa came to the Academy from Stonington a year ago and was a nice complementary to Grace Gelhaus as Costa finished with 13 goals and seven assists.

The graduation of Gelhaus (25 goals, 11 assists) meant the scoring load has fallen upon her shoulders a bit more this season.

“She just runs through defenses,” Snelling said. “A forward is a go-to player no matter what but she is definitely the one that will get ahead of the defense more.”

But it wasn’t only the two goals that were important as Costa also contributed on what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Isabella Selmecki scored that with 11 minutes left in regulation.

“Leah got some space behind the defense, crossed it with her left foot and, in a crowd of people, Izzy deflected it in intentionally. It was a great goal,” Snelling said.

Avery Danis and Juliet Allard had assists in the win.

The girls soccer team was coming off a successful day in Groton earlier in the week.

Costa was again the catalyst as the junior opened the scoring 4 ½ minutes into the contest and then added a second tally off a Selmecki assist.

Rita Rawcliffe also scored in the first half for a 3-0 halftime lead for the Centaurs.

Emma Massey finished things with a second half goal off an assist from Kendall McCormack.