Even a ninth straight South-West Conference championship didn’t fully heal the wound New Fairfield left the Newtown High School girls’ lacrosse team with last spring. The Rebels, during the 2013 regular season, ended Newtown’s six-plus season winning streak against conference opponents.
The Nighthawks avenged that setback with a come-from-behind 11-8 win over the Rebels at rainy Blue & Gold Stadium on April 11.
“It feels great to have a nice comeback on them,” commented Kristie Vos Winkel, speaking as much of the rebound against New Fairfield as the teams’ overcoming a two-goal deficit in the most recent battle.
Vos Winkel had five assists to set up the second-half rally. Meaghan Brophy had five goals, and Emily Maher and Carley Ferris both netted hat-tricks to round out the scoring.
This was the second of three wins to begin the season as the Nighthawks headed into a potentially challenging nonconference clash with Glastonbury on Wednesday.
Newtown defeated New Milford 15-4 on April 14. The season opener was a 16-3 triumph over Stratford. Vos Winkel thought the Nighthawks showed a much better team effort in their second win of the campaign, the big one over the Rebels.
“It was a really good win for us — for these younger players,” Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher said.
The game wasn’t without its flaws, said Fletcher, noting that she wanted to see her players get more aggressive to the ball early on. The coach was pleased with Newtown’s ability to battle harder for loose balls in the second half, and that was a difference-maker in the outcome.
“I think they just came together, got more aggressive on the ground balls,” the coach said.
Down 6-4 early in the second half, Brophy got the next two net-finders to tie the score, taking centering feeds from Vos Winkel and Nevan Gattey just 1:01 apart.
The Rebels reclaimed the lead less than four minutes later, with 13:36 to go, but Maher went to work, scoring twice in a span of just 12 seconds to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage. Vos Winkel assisted the tying tally with 11:30 left. Off the ensuing draw, Maher scooped up the ball and went half the field with possession to register another goal to make it 8-7.
Newtown wouldn’t look back, although the Rebels threatened to tie things up, only to see a sharp-angle shot clank off the post.
Another Vos Winkel-to-Brophy connection made it 9-7 with 7:05 to play. Another Newtown goal was answered by New Fairfield but the Rebels couldn’t trim the 10-8 deficit in the final minutes. Newtown’s Cassie Ekstrom intercepted a pass, which led to Ferris’ put-away goal with 42 seconds left.
Newtown goaltender Kyle Dandrea made six saves, Ekstrom had three ground ball scoops and a trio of draw controls, Lindsay Jagoe came away with three interceptions, and Celia Gold had three grounders.
In the win over New Milford, Ferris erupted for not one but two hat-tricks — and four assists. Her six-goal, four-helper effort for ten points helped Newtown pull away early. The Hawks established a 10-0 halftime lead.
Brophy had three goals and two assists, and Vos Winkel and Maher each registered two goals and an assist.
Ekstrom had four grounders. Dandrea stopped all four shots she faced, and Tess Baldino saw a half of action and also made four saves.