Category: Current Issue


Kicks In
Senior Brynn Kusnarowis kicks the ball in a recent soccer practice. Photo by Marc Allard.

Everything is, actually, a little easier to accomplish so far this high school girls’ soccer season. At least, it feels that way to Woodstock Academy coach Dennis Snelling and his players agree.
Considering it’s the social event of the day for most, probably not so much.
Woodstock Academy is remote learning for much of the week which means the athletes don’t get to see one another very much outside of on the soccer field.
“There is no chance to squabble with anyone. You’re not in school for eight hours a day; you see each other for just the one hour. It’s really hard to find disagreements in that amount of time because we’re just working,” Snelling said.
And the Centaur student-athletes are basking in the moments they get.
“One hundred percent (happy),” said senior Lucy McDermott. “I’m glad that we get to see each other and play, no matter what it is. You have to be thankful for what you have.”
Which is being able to be outside and playing a game they love.
“Being in a school environment and seeing each other every day, as much as we love each other, it’s kind of like we are all sisters. Sometimes, you’re like ‘Get away from me.’ I think (not being in class) makes us look forward (to soccer) even more. We’ve been cooped up all summer. We appreciate the bond, the friendship and the closeness a lot more than we would have had this (pandemic) not gone down,” said fellow senior Brynn Kusnarowis.
Goal No. 1? Just getting to play some games. Fall high school athletic teams realize just how fragile this season could be.
The Covid-19 virus is still lurking and while the positivity rate in the State of Connecticut is one of the lowest in the nation, there is no telling when that trend could reverse itself and force the cancellation of the season.
“I think you make the most of each day,” Snelling said. “I remind the kids every day that it could be our last outside when you look back at how the last school year ended and how things went with football (this fall). We just try and get the most out of each hour-long session and enjoy each other’s company.”
Soccer teams were allowed to condition and do skill work in small groups for the last couple of weeks. Those practices will grow in size and scope before the scheduled opening day of the season on Oct. 1.
If the season manages to get underway, it will not be a traditional year.
There are some other large differences.
The ECC schedule is not broken into divisions by school size and strength, but more into bubbles. For the most part, with some exceptions, schools have been divided by region. The league has also agreed to incorporate Ellis Tech, Norwich Tech, Windham Tech and Parish Hill into its scheduling matrix.
Because larger and smaller schools will be playing one another, there will be no divisional or league championships.
Due to the late start, soccer teams will play only 12 games and, due to the pandemic and a desire not to bring together student-athletes from different portions of the state, no state tournament or state championship matches.
The Centaurs may have lost several seniors from their 11-7-1 season a year ago. But a lot of talent returns.
Sophomore Grace Gelhaus (17 goals, six assists last season) and senior Peyton Saracina (25 & 5) are two of the most prolific scorers in eastern Connecticut.
Junior Adeline Smith returns at center-mid with seniors Caroline Wilcox and Gillian Price able to contribute in both the midfield and backfield.
McDermott and Kusnarowis are both solid defenders and Snelling is enthused about a newcomer to the program, freshman keeper Rebecca Nazer.
“We would like to get her some 11-on-11 experience at the high school level. She’s certainly the future of that position for us. If we had a game tomorrow, she would start in goal. I have that kind of confidence in her,” Snelling said.
Seniors Sophia Mawson, Ciara MacKinnon, Arianna Di Domizio and Sydney Couture will also contribute to the varsity program as will juniors Stella Brin, Ava Coutu, Sadie Susi and sophomores Lennon Favreau and Magdalena Myslenski.
Girls’ Soccer Schedule: Thurs., Oct. 1:   at Killingly, 6 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 3: vs. Windham Tech   3 p.m.; Tues., Oct. 6: at Killingly, 6 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 9: vs. Tourtellotte, 4 p.m.; Tues., Oct. 13: at Putnam, TBA; Sat., Oct. 17:  at Windham, 11 a.m.; Tues., Oct. 20: vs. Parish Hill, 3 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 24: at Windham Tech, 3 p.m.; Tues., Oct. 27:  vs. Killingly, 3 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 31: vs. Killingly, 11 a.m.; Tues., Nov. 3: vs. Putnam, 3 p.m.; Thurs., Nov. 5: vs. Windham, 3 p.m.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy