It was a close battle on Wednesday night in the South-West Conference Tournament semifinal game between Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team and the visiting New Fairfield Rebels. It was a game of catch-up for New Fairfield until Newtown pulled away at the end of the game, earning a 13-11 win at Blue & Gold Stadium.
Newtown, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, led No. 3 New Fairfield throughout nearly the entire game, starting fast with three quick goals within the first ten minutes. New Fairfield fought back hard to a 3-2 score and from there it was a back and forth shootout with Newtown scoring and New Fairfield tying it up again several times.
However, New Fairfield managed to take the lead once, ten minutes into the second half, when Mary Smithe completed her hat-trick effort. Newtown answered right back with a quick Kristie VosWinkel shot to bring it back to 8-8. From there it was back to Newtown leading, with goals from Ferris and VosWinkel to complete their respective hat-tricks bringing it to a close 10-9. After that, Newtown pulled away and made it 13-9 with more goals from the senior duo. New Fairfield managed to bring it to a two point difference but never got closer as the Nighthawks closed down the game with good defense, advancing to the SWC finals.
Senior Kristie VosWinkel led scoring with five goals and two assists while senior Carley Ferris had four goals and an assist.
Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher says of VosWinkel and Ferris, “Both are really great offensive players and are two seniors that have been playing on the varsity team for four years so they are definitely looked at by other players on the field as leaders and they really stepped it up today.”
Freshman Julia Shugrue also made a name for herself with two important goals and an assist. Goalie Kyle Dandrea held it down in the back with a total of nine saves on the night, including some crucial late saves that prevented the Rebels from coming back into the game.
“We started slow in the first half but, second half we really started to kick in and I think we showed whichever team we’ll play in the finals what were made of. It was a close game but whenever they got a goal we did a good job of picking ourselves up and fighting for another one,” Dandrea said.
Newtown will fight for its tenth straight SWC championship against the winner of top-seeded Brookfield and No. 4 Joel Barlow of Redding. The title game will be played on Thursday, May 29, at Pomperaug High School in Southbury at 5 pm.