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Week 7: Centaurs score win on Senior Day

It has not been an easy season for the Woodstock Academy field hockey team record-wise.

But, sometimes, a win on the right day can make things a lot better.

Such was the case for the Centaurs on Friday when they downed Norwich Free Academy, 2-1, on Senior Day at the Bentley Athletic Complex.

“We were looking forward to this (Senior Day) all year and we’re so excited,” said senior keeper Ava Basak. “As soon as we got the first goal, we knew we had it.”

Woodstock Academy co-head coach Gerry Lamontagne thought the win also showed that his team continues to look to improve.

It may not have some of the advantages of other Eastern Connecticut Conference programs, but it does have a lot of heart.

“At the beginning of the season, I said I didn’t want this to be a placeholder-type season for the girls, that’s just not right. We struggle because we don’t have the same type of feeder programs like other programs especially down south with Stonington, Fitch and East Lyme. How do you combat that? They just come to practice and keep getting better. NFA beat us, 4-2, the first time we played and a 2-1 win is a pretty big improvement,” he said.

Prior to the contest, the Centaurs honored their five seniors, Basak, Ainsley Morse, Chloe Nason, Alyson Bunning, and Ella Musumeci.

“We are losing some significant leadership,” LaMontagne said. “Aly and Ainsley on defense; Ava was tremendous even before I got here; Chloe has been a quiet presence and a great leader and Ella is a great emotional leader and has given us a big hand in keeping girls on track in practices and what not. All five will be missed.”

Musumeci got things headed in a positive direction when she took a pass from sophomore Grace Pokorny just 6 minutes, 8 seconds into the match and slid it into the NFA net for her first goal of the season.

“She just lifted it, drag flick, and it was an amazing shot,” Pokorny said of the Musumeci goal.

It was the first goal for the Centaurs in six games.

The Wildcats would answer.

Forward Alice Rourke got her own rebound and put it into the Centaurs’ cage with 1:21 left in the first quarter.

Basak then stood on her head to keep Woodstock Academy (3-10, 1-10 Eastern Connecticut Conference) in the lead.

Basak faced eight shots in the second quarter alone and turned aside five of them.

“Throughout the season, I’ve had a lot of shots taken at me. It’s sort of just practice every game and eight is definitely not as many as it could have been,”Basak said.

Two of the shots went astray and another was kept out by Morse.

“How many amazing saves did she have (Friday)? I told her she was the difference for us in the game. We’ve seen a lot of goalies and I would be hard-pressed to say that any of them is better than Ava,” LaMontagne said. “One of the other games, I think it was against Stonington, she recorded 36 saves. That’s like a National Hockey League goalie and she never complains.”

Pokorny then put the Centaurs ahead to stay with 3:37 left in the second quarter.

“It was definitely weird,” Pokorny said of her goal. “I was trying to pass it and it just went by three sticks and the goalie’s pads. I was shocked.”

The two teams essentially played the remainder of the game between the 20-yard lines to use a football analogy.

The Centaurs did not take a shot in the second half; NFA (1-11, 1-9) was limited to just two.

That despite NFA having five corners in the half.

Most of those were squashed by Bunning bolting out of the cage and going after the ball.

“Aly is just fearless on the corners. She has done a great job all year with that and she re-directed three of them (Friday),” LaMontagne said.