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Week 3: Centaurs end week with 6-1 record

Last year is now clearly in the rearview mirror.

The Centaurs surpassed their five-win total of last year this past week with a pair of victories over Killingly and Coventry to open the season on a six-match win streak.

“We struggled through last season to get those five wins so coming out and get six right away was nice,” said Woodstock Academy coach Adam Bottone. “I was hoping it could have been seven.”

The Centaurs saw the early season win streak come to an end when they fell to Norwich Free Academy on the road, 3-2, on Friday.

“If we use (the loss) as a learning experience, don’t dwell on it and don’t let it negatively impact us moving forward, there is still a lot of volleyball to be played. I still expect to get into the postseason, be a contender for the Eastern Connecticut Conference titles, so there is still a lot to get done,” Bottone added.

The Centaurs needed just two more wins to get into the state tournament coming into this week.

It was a back-and-forth affair in Norwich.

The Centaurs went into the match without senior libero Ellie Nunes due to a thumb injury. She did come on to play a little but was continually bothered by the injury.

“We were just out of sorts and NFA played really well,” Bottone said.

The host Wildcats won the first (25-22) and third sets (25-21) while the Centaurs took the second and fourth by identical 25-19 scores.

The decisive fifth set went to NFA, 16-14.

The Centaurs (6-1, 0-1 ECC Division I) went up 12-9 in the final set, but an NFA block and a service error helped the Wildcats tie the match at 14 and they got the final two points for the win.

Liliana Bottone finished with 17 kills for the Centaurs while Morgan Bonin added 10. Sophie Gronski was again solid at setter with 35 assists.

Woodstock Academy opened the week with a 3-0 win in Killingly.

Liliana Bottone had 12 kills and four digs while Nunes had seven digs and Gronski contributed 22 assists and 11 digs as Adam Bottone substituted liberally.

“It was a great match because we played pretty well and a lot of people got a lot of playing time which is always nice to get the younger girls some experience and learn how to perform under pressure a bit,” Adam Bottone said.

Coventry was much more difficult as the Centaurs were just able to prevail on the road, 3-2.

Reegan Reynolds led the team with 16 kills while Liliana Bottone added 14 and Nunes had 25 digs in the five-set marathon.

“Coventry was a really good team with a really good defense and we just plugged away and pulled it out. It was nice to be away and win a decisive fifth set, 17-15. As we move further into the season and we’re in these situations where are backs are against the wall, we have some matches that have gone to a fifth set and further than 15 points. While I don’t thoroughly enjoy that, it does give us the experience that we need,” Adam Bottone said.