Return to Headlines

ECC Tournament: Falcons upset Centaurs in quarterfinal match

The same word has been haunting the Woodstock Academy volleyball team.


And that was no different on Halloween night.

The fourth-seeded Centaurs went into their Eastern Connecticut Conference quarterfinal with No. 5 Fitch as the favorite as they had downed the Falcons in the two regular season meetings between the teams.

The third time, however, was the charm for Fitch.

The Groton-based school handed Woodstock Academy a 3-1 loss to advance to the league semifinals on their home floor against top-seeded Griswold.

“I think it is kind of a wakeup call when a team that you defeated twice, you let come into your house and be as dominant as they were. It should be a wake up call that we cannot be complacent. I always emphasize that no matter whom we play because we are not consistent. We need to be disciplined from the get-go,” said Woodstock Academy coach Adam Bottone.

The Centaurs (12-9) trailed just about the entire way through the first set until late.

A block by Morgan Bonin and a kill by Mia Sorrentino cut the Fitch lead to one, 23-22. But a service error gave the Falcons the serve back and they capitalized as Katie Touhy, the Falcons middle hitter, put in a hard spike to give the Falcons a 25-22 win.

Touhy finished with 11 kills.

“We’re not a super-strong blocking team and we know that. I was trying to get the girls to just front their dominant hitters (Touhy and Annalyn Cahill). I didn’t care about blocking anyone else, but when they were on the front row, they were the ones we had to watch out for. We did that some of  the time and got some touches, but when we didn’t dedicate to them, they swung away,” Bottone said.

Woodstock Academy did rebound early in the second set and behind a strong service run by Cassidy Ladd opened a 7-2 lead.

But the momentum gradually swung back to Fitch with the visitors taking the lead for good at 15-14.

Cahill (16 kills) finished things off with a pair of kills to give the Falcons a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead in sets.

It looked like Fitch was going to complete the sweep as it took the lead in the third set at 5-4 and held on to it until the Centaurs tied it at 23.

Woodstock Academy senior Leila MacKinnon finished off the comeback getting help from a kill by Reegan Reynolds to tie it before she delivered an ace and then watched as Fitch could not return her third service. It gave the Centaurs a new lease on life in the match with a 25-23 win.

But four service errors in the final set came at crucial moments and Fitch utilized them to take the early lead that it would never surrender, posting a 25-17 win to advance to the semifinals.

“It’s going to be tough to win when you have 19 service errors,” Bottone said. “Our passing out of receive was pretty consistent with what we’ve been doing all season but it wasn’t good enough because we were struggling to terminate the ball. When that happens, we have to do the other parts of our game better.”

Liliana Bottone had 14 kills and 13 digs, Sophie Gronski had 27 assists and Bonin finished with seven kills and five digs.

The season is not over yet for the Centaurs.

They qualified for the Class L state tournament which begins likely on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“We’re going to be working on serving and receiving a lot and then some more serving and receiving, and a little more serving and receiving before a little bit of hitting to get them to get the ball in a little more consistently,” Bottone said.