Centaurs pg 7 10-29-20

The Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden considers it a rite of passage.
The maturation of high school student-athletes between their junior and senior seasons.
“This is my fifth set of seniors that I have had the privilege to coach and every year, you say, ‘Those lads were something special, you won’t get another set like that.’ But every year, the next group comes in and whatever happens in those six or seven months in between seasons, they come back and it’s like ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that from these guys,’” Rearden said.
The 2020 crop of seniors is no different.
Richard Hickson, Nate Majewski, Eric Phongsa, Matt Marshall, James Phongsa, Huck Gelhaus, Stefan Chervenkov, Andrew Johnson, Colin Smith, Marco Maluf, Brandon Richards, and Gabe Geyer were all honored on Senior Day prior to their match with Parish Hill.
It’s a group that has had plenty of adversity to deal with.
The Centaurs won only one match a year ago and in March, found themselves thrust by the pandemic into a virtual learning environment that has carried over to the 2020-21 school year.
This season, they were scheduled to play 12 matches but with schools throughout the ECC postponing fall contests due to COVID-19 that number will likely be much less. There is also no league or state tournament to look forward to.
“I think they have recognized how fortunate they are to still be playing and are just making the best of it. Obviously, we haven’t seen a bad result or a bad performance that always throws a kink into the works but the way these guys are going, I don’t even see that having a negative effect,” Rearden said.
These seniors enjoyed themselves on Senior Day.
They helped the Centaurs post a 5-0 win over the Pirates and followed that up with a 4-0 win over Windham Tech Oct. 24 to raise their record to 7-0.
After the win over the Pirates, the Centaurs were beaming.
“It’s a great win,” said Gelhaus of the win over Parish Hill. “We were so fortunate to be able to play this (Wednesday) especially against (Parish Hill). We knew they would be good and we had to come out hard.”
Hickson agreed with his classmate.  “It was amazing. The fans were great. The posters that our teammates made
were amazing. It was a great time to be out there and a great team to play,” Hickson said.
The Centaurs did take the early lead when Johnson took a pass from Maluf and kicked the ball into the lower left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead just 8 ½ minutes into the match. It was Johnson’s second goal of the season.
Junior Ty Morgan put his seventh of the season in with just 11:26 left in the first half when Eric Phongsa found him in front of the net and he gave the Centaurs a 2-0 lead.
It would stay that way until the middle of the second half.
Gelhaus extended the always dangerous two-goal lead to three when he lofted a rocket from 30 yards out over the head of Parish Hill keeper Brent Freed and into the back of the net.
Maluf and Smith capped off the win with a pair of goals in the final 6:25 of the match to account for the final.
“That was the hardest game we’ve had this season,” said Rearden. “I think our depth definitely helped us. They only had 14 players while we were able to keep rotating and stay fresh. The boys had to dig deep at halftime. We were a little harder on them than we have been this season. I think we came out a half-step short of where we have been but we fixed it in the second half.”
With the Saturday shutout of the Mighty Tigers, the Centaurs have now outscored opponents this season, 44-1.
Eric Phongsa scored once in the first half and again in the second and leads the team with nine goals and five assists.
Gelhaus added his seventh goal of the season and two assists to raise his total to four while Matt Marshall scored for a second time this season. With two matches (against Montville and Killingly) cancelled the Centaurs are only scheduled to play one game this week, Tourtellotte at 11 a.m. Oct. 31 at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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