After being on the short end of a trio of hard-fought, one-goal games, Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team finally got to celebrate the outcome of a nail-biting contest. The Nighthawks edged host Simsbury 11-10 on May 11, only two days after a 17-16 setback to visiting New Canaan. The Hawks also dropped a 7-6 decision to Wilton and a 17-16 heart-breaker to New Fairfield.
Most of the team’s wins have been lopsided affairs, and pulling through in a tight-to-the finish battle bodes well for the Hawks as they gear up for the postseason.
They’ll try to defend their South-West Conference title yet again, looking to make it nine in a row, when the conference tourney kicks off with the Division I semifinals on May 21.
Newtown earned the second seed and a first-round bye, and will play a semifinal-round contest against the winner of New Milford-Pomperaug of Southbury, Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher said.
The game is scheduled to take place at neutral site New Fairfield High, at 5 pm. The championship will take place at Brookfield High at 7 pm on May 23.
“Finally, we came up with a win in one of these battles. It felt great and gave us some momentum for moving forward. We have had so many minor injuries and setbacks,” Fletcher said of the victory at Simsbury. “This was a top 5 team in the state and was a big win.”
Fletcher noted that it was a battle from the opening draw. Newtown led by two at the half and maintained a late-game lead at which time the Hawks decided to slow the pace.
“They are a run and gun type team, like us. With the injuries we have sustained, we don’t have a deep bench in the midfield and they were exceptional at the draw, so decided to tick some time off the clock. We had a few unforced errors and they tied the game. We were successful in scoring late in the game and holding onto the ball to take the win,” said Fletcher, whose team had only three of the game’s 23 faceoff wins.
The NHS coach noted that her defense had an exceptionally good game. Anna Northrop and Cassie Ekstrom were key defenders, and Kyle Dandrea, who made 11 saves, was solid in the goal. Ekstrom scooped five ground balls, and Lindsey Jagoe had four.
Offensively, Julia Trudell, Meaghan Brophy, and Erin Kenning, all of whom scored three goals, were go-to players.
Caroline Kingsley, as always, was a huge help in transition along with Kristie VosWinkel, Fletcher noted.
Newtown nearly overcame New Canaan despite falling behind 11-4 at halftime. Trudell and Kenning both had four goals, Kingsley scored three, and Brophy netted a pair in the loss.
The Hawks improved to 9-6 overall with a 19-8 win over Bethel on May 15. Brophy scored five times, Trudell netted four shots, and Kingsley added three goals. Newtown was scheduled to close out the regular slate with a non-conference visit to Cheshire on Saturday, May 18.