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Week 5: WA remains at .500 after tie with Purple Knights, win over Lancers

After playing just one match the week before, Woodstock Academy had to make up a little for lost time and battled through three games last week.

The Centaurs posted a 2-0 win over Waterford at home on Thursday and then finished in a 3-3 tie with Ellington on the road on Saturday morning.

“It put us back at .500,” Woodstock Academy coach Dennis Snelling said. “Waterford has had a good season so far. It’s nice to catch up to these teams that we lost to last year.”

The Centaurs win over the Lancers and a tie with the Purple Knights - the two teams finished in a scoreless tie a year ago at the Bentley Athletic Complex – left Woodstock Academy with a 4-4-2 record coming into the week.

The Centaurs jumped out early against Ellington.

Sophomore Leah Costa scored just 1 minute, 12 seconds into the contest off a feed from senior Grace Gelhaus.

The Knights tied the match but before the half, the Centaurs struck again.

Gelhaus fought her way through three defenders and fired a rocket, according to Snelling, into the back of the Ellington net.

The Purple Knights tied the match before halftime and then went up, 3-2, just two minutes into the second half.

But with time ticking down, Freya Robbie got the ball to Isabella Selmecki on a direct kick and the sophomore lofted it over the oncoming Ellington keeper for the equalizer.

The two teams could not score in overtime.

“Considering the way the game went back and forth, and ultimately how the team played evenly or better than Ellington, it was a good draw for both teams,” Snelling said. “All of our available players made essential contributions to our strides as a team this week.”

The middle match of the three for the Centaurs last week also went their way as they hosted and downed the Lancers.

The two teams played a scoreless first half but the Centaurs broke that up just 5 minutes, 15 seconds into the second half.

The key: a decision by the team to send the opening kick of the second half long into the Lancers’ end.

It paid off.

Gelhaus got a through ball into Costa who delivered it into the net for the 1-0 Woodstock Academy advantage.

The goal by Costa put the Lancers back on their heels.

“They didn’t expect to fall behind. They were really confident going into the game,” Snelling said.

The score remained that way for the next half hour until Gelhaus, playing in the midfield, sent a ball in and Bella Mawson got her head on it and re-directed it into the net for two-goal lead with just five minutes left.

“(Gelhaus) has moved back in the formation, more of a midfielder than a forward so she can get the ball more. She wants to do that; be in charge of the offense. She has been putting through to the forwards because she really sees gaps in the defense well,” Snelling said.

Keeper Fiona Rigney was challenged but was able to keep the ball out of the net.

“It was a good shutout for her, good confidence-builder, definitely her best game of the season. She was very consistent,” Snelling said.

The Centaurs were tripped up earlier in the week at Killingly where they suffered a 1-0 loss.

“It seems like anyone in the (Eastern Connecticut Conference) can beat anyone,” Snelling said of the loss. “A lot of the teams have been playing really conservative and look for counter attacks. It makes it tough to get through and score.”

Rigney made five saves but the Centaurs could not find the back of the net as Killingly goalie Aryn Nisbet delivered the shutout.

Spencer Chviek scored the only goal in the match for Killingly (3-6-1) which broke a four-match losing streak with the win.