Woodstock senior Grace Gelhaus is all smiles as she signed her National Letter of Intent to play collegiate soccer for Elon University in North Carolina. Photo by Marc Allard.

It was not exactly a secret. Woodstock Academy senior soccer player Grace Gelhaus has been verbally committed to going to Elon University in North Carolina to play soccer for some time now. But there is a difference when the pen is put to the paper.
Gelhaus signed her National Letter of Intent to Elon just before the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Gelhaus said there were several reasons why she chose to go to North Carolina. She said when she visited the Elon campus, it was “just beautiful” and she knew that’s where she wanted to be. And while she will be far from home, family will not be all that far away.
Plus, she will get a chance to play Division I soccer. “They have a couple of positions in mind for me. I guess we will see how it all plays out,” Gelhaus said.
Coach Dennis Snelling was on hand for the signing ceremony. “It’s kind of bittersweet seeing her graduate from high school and not have her on the team anymore. I think one of the first things I said to her freshman year was that she would end up playing Division I. I didn’t have much to do with it. She came in way ahead and it was nice to see her sign,” Snelling said.
Gelhaus had quite the senior year for Snelling as she finished with 25 goals and 11 assists for a Centaurs team that finished 14-5-2, won both the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I and tournament titles and became the first Woodstock Academy girls’ soccer team since 2003 to make the Class L quarterfinals.
“To see your best player keep getting better, is just rare. I think a lot of seniors just get tired. They know it’s going to end or they are thinking about grades or prom but she just got so much better in the second half of the year. She’s the best player I have ever worked with. She just loves the game,” Snelling said. “I imagine she will be in the top of the (Elon recruiting) group. I know she will probably start right away and she will be just fine.”
Woodstock was able to keep the Killingly running game at an acceptable level for a second year in a row on Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, the Centaurs could not take away the arm of Killingly senior quarterback Thomas Dreibholz.
The Killingly quarterback came through in the clutch as he completed 10 of his 15 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-0 win for Killingly over the Centaurs.
“They are a dual threat team so you try and take something away but they make plays, they’re tough,” said coach Sean Saucier.
Junior running back Soren Rief came in with 1,517 yards on the ground in the first nine games, averaging 168-plus yards a game.
The Centaurs limited him to 60 yards in 17 carries and he had only one carry that went for double-figure yardage, a 16-yard scamper late in the first quarter.
But Dreibholz has other weapons. Both Woodstock and Killingly could not get first downs on their first possessions of the game.
The Centaurs also stalled on their second drive but on fourth-and-five decided on a little trickery as they faked a punt and Seamus McDermott got the direct snap. But he got only two yards, giving Killingly the ball on the Woodstock 29.
If Killingly did struggle with something on Thanksgiving Day, it was penalties.
They were flagged eight times for 78 yards including twice on their second possession on a holding call and an ineligible receiver which negated a touchdown pass from Dreibholz to Braden Petersen.
But on fourth-and-10 from the Centaurs’ 24-yard line, Dreibholz hit fullback Keith Perry who got loose out into the flat with a pass and Perry weaved his way to the end zone to put Killingly on the scoreboard.
Killingly forced a Woodstock punt on the next possession and got the ball back in Centaur territory at the 48. Eight plays later, Rief bulled in from five yards out to make it 14-0.
The Killingly defense forced another punt but it pushed them deep into their own territory at the 11-yard line.
Killingly employed a series of three short passes to the sideline to get out of harm’s way at their own 35 and then, instead of short right, Dreibholz went to the air long to the left and hit senior receiver Noah Colangelo (4 catches, 85 yards) in stride for a 65-yard score.
Killingly owned a 28-0 lead at the half as Jax stepped in front of a Woodstock receiver at the 34-yard line and took it to the house for a pick-6 with 2:53 left.
Woodstock had a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard late in the half. Two Killingly penalties on the same play, a pass interference and a personal foul, moved Woodstock 30 yards downfield into Killingly territory.
Quarterback Teddy Richardson (11-for-22 passing, 94 yards) completed an 11-yard pass to Brandon Nagle and followed that with a 21-yard strike to Lucas Theriaque (5 catches,55 yards) to the Killingly 5.
But with just seconds left in the half, an incomplete pass was followed by a Richardson scamper. The Centaur quarterback was pushed out of bounds just before the pylon and time ran out before Woodstock could get another play off.
Killingly finished up the scoring when Dreibholz hit Jax (4 catches, 107 yards) with a 39-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the third quarter.
The loss finished the Centaurs season with a 4-6 mark. “Throw the record out,” Saucier said. “What we have been through and never stopped competing and the attitude never wavered, I’m very happy.”.
The Centaurs also go into next year knowing the cupboard is not bare. They will have the Richardson-Theriaque combo back and have another playmaker in Seamus McDermott returning.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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