Key Players
Senior goalie Sofia Murray (left), senior attacker Shannon Gagnon (middle) and senior Julia Powell will all be key ingredients for the Centaurs this girls’ lacrosse season. Photo by Marc Allard.

Mikayla Jones loved the intensity and commitment of her Woodstock Academy girls’ lacrosse team last season. The head coach of the Centaurs hopes that returns this spring.
One thing that has already returned is the student-athletes. In her first season at the helm, Jones had to sit idle as the pandemic cancelled the season.
Last year, the Centaurs were able to play 13 games.
 “We were really out of practice. Half of our team, including some of our starters, had never held a stick before. Now, we have so many players who are doing such a great job and are following directions,” said midfielder Stella Brin.
So many players is a key phrase.
The Centaurs, who had to use some varsity players to fill its JV ranks a year ago, have 35 out for the program this season including a lot of freshmen and some first-year players from the upper three grades.
Jones recalled last year when her players were just happy to be outside on the field and had to wear masks on the field.
“They’re getting back into the routine that they have lacrosse this season and next season and, hopefully, it will never get interrupted again. We don’t have a mask mandate. It’s up to the girls and they’re being careful, but again, they are just so happy to be out,” Jones said.
That means the attention shifts to the activity on the field and Jones is happy with what she has seen early especially on the defensive side of the field.
“Our defense has looked awesome in practice,” Jones said.
The Centaurs’ coach has liked how juniors Lindsay Nuttall, Rori Mackenzie and Bryn Miller have worked in the back together with seniors Brin and Sydney Haskins and sophomore Caroline Harris in the defensive midfielder slots.
“We’ve got a new coach (assistant Sebastian Frimpong) for our defensive plays and Lindsay and Rori are putting in the effort and look amazing. We got about five interceptions from our starting players in a practice (recently),” Brin said.
If an opponent happens to slip through, senior Sofia Murray will be waiting as she returns in goal.
“It’s going to be hard to let her go but I think she is going to have a really good year,” Jones said of her senior in the cage.
Abby Houle, a freshman, will back up Murray.
Up front, the Centaurs did lose some firepower with Rachel Canedy (16 goals, two assists), who now plays for Emmanuel College, and Peyton Saracina (11, 5) having both graduated.
Last year’s leading scorer, Shannon Gagnon (15,5) returns as does fellow seniors Haskins (4.2) and Brin (7,2).
“I have a really awesome attacker coming back in Shannon, a really awesome midfielder in Sydney and Stella who may not be the high scorer but runs the center midfield,” Jones said.
The Centaurs have eight seniors in total with Tegan Perry, Claire Anderson, Julia Powell and Siera Fahey all in uniform.
“I think we have the leadership. Stella is a returning captain and the rest of the seniors and even some of the juniors are ready. They know what is expected of them, what they need to do and they show the new girls how and when to do things,” Jones said.
The Centaurs are also hoping for a few more wins this season than their two last year as they compete in Div. II of the ECC with the likes of Stonington, Waterford, Ledyard and Montville.
 “I think this division fits us with the athletes that we have. I think it’s a really good placement for us and I hope we can pull out just a couple more wins and get their spirits up a bit,” Jones said.
The Centaurs are scheduled to play a normal 16-game schedule.
“I feel more comfortable. I feel like I know some of the (ECC) coaches better. I understand the divisions better and understand how it works inside better. It helps that Lauren (Gagnon) is one of my assistants. She is the head coach of our field hockey team and has been for a while. It helps that I have her to help me figure out everything,” Jones said.
Girls’ Lacrosse Schedule: Sat., April 2: at Killingly, 1 p.m.; Tues., Apr. 5:  vs. Waterford, 4:15; Sat., Apr. 9: vs. Griswold, 11; Tues., Apr. 12:  vs. Stonington, 4:15; Thurs., Apr. 14:  vs. Ledyard, 4:15; Tues., Apr. 19: at Waterford, 11; Thurs., Apr. 21:  at Stonington, 6:30; Tues., Apr. 26:  at Ledyard, 5:30; Thurs., Apr. 28: at Montville, 4:15; Sat., Apr. 30: at St. Bernard, 11; Tues., May 3: at Bacon, 4:30; Thurs., May 5: vs. Killingly, 4; Tues., May 10: vs. NFA, 4:15; Thurs., May 12: at E. Lyme, 7.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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