Week 8: Centaurs finish regular season with 12-8 record
The Woodstock Academy volleyball team took time out prior to its match with Waterford on Monday to honor four of its own.
The annual Senior Night match saw seniors Morgan Bonin, Ellie Nunes, Jade Desmond and Leila MacKinnon receive flowers and other parting gifts from their teammates.
“They are such a great group of girls and, I say this every year, I am blessed to have the group of girls that I have. When seniors graduate, I always say it’s such a good group and then the next year comes and they are just as good if not better. These four are great girls, involved in a lot of other avenues than just volleyball which is nice and they’re great students and kind people- great role models for the younger girls coming up. I will definitely miss them,” Woodstock Academy coach Adam Bottone said.
Unfortunately, the night would not end on the kind of note that the Centaurs hoped for as they fell to the Lancers, 3-1.
Woodstock Academy opened well with a 25-21 first set victory over Waterford.
The Centaurs fell behind early by five points but tied the set at 15 and went ahead to stay on one of Bonin’s 10 kills on the night.
The Lancers (14-5), coming off a confidence-building win over East Lyme, were not rattled, however.
They came back to post a 25-18 victory in the second set.
That momentum carried into the third set where Waterford prevailed, 25-22, and it was all Lancers in the fourth where they clinched the win with a 25-8 decision.
Liliana Bottone had 11 kills and three aces and Nunes added 16 digs for Woodstock Academy.
The Centaurs finished up the season on a 50-50 note.
They lost to Conard on the road in West Hartford on Wednesday, 3-0, but rallied for a 3-0 win over New London at the Alumni Fieldhouse on Friday.
The up-and-down week meant the volleyball team finished with a 12-8 regular season record.
“The win over New London notched us up a few seeding places in the (Class L) state tournament,” Adam Bottone said. “I think I’m a little disappointed because we had such a good start (the Centaurs won their first six matches and eight of their first nine). I think some of it was the result of injuries and sickness this year again and while it wasn’t all at once, it was still enough to make an impact. I think we could have done better than 12-8 but when you look at just five wins last year, it’s a step in the right direction.”
Adam Bottone was not bothered by the loss to Conard which is one of the better teams in Class LL.
The Centaurs played well despite losing in straight sets, 25-13, 25-16 and 25-12.
“We did some really nice things against Conard. When we passed, we were able to terminate. Defensively, we did pretty well. They just had some kids who could really hit the ball and they were going to get their kills. It was just the ability to be able to receive efficiently consistently, that consistency piece. If we could do better with that, it will set us up for the postseason,” Adam Bottone said. “I’m glad we played them. I’m OK with the loss. It’s only going to make us better.”
Sophomore Mia Sorrentino had seven kills while Bonin contributed three kills and four blocks.
It was much easier for Woodstock Academy in the final match of the regular season on its home floor.
The Centaurs rolled past the Whalers 25-13, 25-14 and 25-22.
“It was a good 3-0 win because I was also able to play some of the girls that normally don’t get a chance to play,”Adam Bottone said.
Sophomore Sophie Gronski had 10 aces to go along with her 24 assists and six digs.
Liliana Bottone added 11 kills, Bonin chalked up eight and Nunes had nine digs.
Woodstock Academy will be the fourth-seed in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division 1 tournament and will host fifth-seed Fitch on Halloween Monday in a league quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m.