the senior pg 8 10-22-20

If there is one sure thing about 2020, it’s the fact that nothing is assured.
Take the plans for Senior Day for The Woodstock Academy volleyball team.
The Centaurs were supposed to play host to Griswold Oct. 16 and celebrate their seven seniors.
But the Jewett City school was forced to go to remote learning and postpone all of its scheduled athletic events due to several COVID-19 cases at the school and in the community.
So, Woodstock Academy athletic director Sean Saucier reached out to Windham and asked it to move up its scheduled match with the Centaurs from Oct. 23 to Oct. 16.
It turned out to be a prophetic call.
Oct. 16 Windham High announced it was going on a two-week shutdown, due to a COVID-19 “Red Alert” declared by the Connecticut Department of Health, beginning Oct. 19.
The Whippets were allowed to play the match against the Centaurs.
It was just typical of the year as a whole.
“What we really wanted to do this year was focus on doing everything we can with what we have,” said senior Marissa Mayhew. “This was Windham’s last game for the next two weeks. We don’t know if we’re going to have any more games. No one knows. That’s why we make every game so important.”
It’s not an easy task.
Fortunately, according to coach Adam Bottone, this group is one better suited to deal with the issue than some other teams he has had,
“It’s a fun-loving group that drives me insane half the time,” Bottone said with a laugh. “It’s good. We have a nice balance and this year, especially, we needed that with COVID and everything that has been going on with playing and not playing, teams cancelling, scheduling other teams. We have to be really flexible this year and the girls have been awesome with that. They’re just happy to be playing, have a season and the interactions with each other. If this was a crazy, focused, hard-core volleyball group, they would have more difficulty with it.”
For Bottone, it is also a larger crop of seniors than he is used to.
The Centaurs will lose both their middle hitters, Sierra Bedard and Amelia Large; setter Tabitha Bezanson, defensive specialists Marissa Mayhew and Sara Cotillo Soria, opposite hitter Kileigh Gagnon and outside hitter Gabby Garbutt to graduation.
“(This team) has really helped me grow as a person since freshman year. I’ve been hosting Senior Day for three years and now it’s my turn to be on the other end of things. This school has made a big impact on me and the other seniors as well. I’ve just been very proud to be a part of the volleyball program at Woodstock Academy,” Mayhew said.
She has grown not only as a person, but as a player.
The defensive specialist received some preseason recognition.
She was named by the Connecticut Post newspaper in the preseason as one of the top 25 players in the state to watch.
“I was so honored to get that,” Mayhew said. “I always knew that all the effort that I’ve put in for the last three years would come back and show itself but I never thought it would be in that way. I was blown away by that.”
Coaches are always concerned with Senior Day due to its effect on a team’s mental approach to the game itself.
Fortunately for Bottone, that was not a problem.
His Centaurs raised their record to 4-1 with a 3-0 win over the Whippets.
Woodstock Academy won the first set, 25-14, took the second by that same score and put the match away with a 25-10 victory in the third set.
Garbutt (7 kills, 10 service points), Mayhew (16 digs, 13 service points) and Bezanson (20 assists) led the Centaurs to the win.
Junior Aurissa Boardman added seven kills and six assists.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

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