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Girls' Lacrosse Team Edges Barlow In Defensive Battle



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Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team started the season off with a tough 4-3 win against visiting Joel Barlow of Redding, at Blue & Gold Stadium, on April 2.

“This is one of our harder opponents in the SWC, so it’s kind of a hard game to start with because we haven’t played a game yet. So I didn’t really know how our players were going to jibe together, but I’m really proud with the way that the girls played,” Coach Maura Fletcher said.

During the Nighthawks’ pressuring offense in the first ten minutes of the game, freshman Elena Sughrue gave the girls a 1-0 lead. Barlow then turned the game around by scoring two quick goals, the first by Julia Hartmann, and second by Bella Miceli.

Newtown continued to play strong defense, with defenders Collen Phaneuf and Emma Magazu making numerous blocks and ground ball scoops, and getting draw controls.

The first half ended with Newtown’s Rylee Harrell working hard to try to even the score but Barlow carried a 2-1 lead into halftime.

“Barlow has incredible zone defense, so it was really hard for our offense to penetrate. They have two really good offensive players, but our defense did a really good job of shutting them down, and Catie Gregory did a really great job in the goal,” Fletcher said. Newtown sophomore Julia Gerace set the tone for the second half, getting past Barlow’s keeper and tying up the game five minutes in to tie the game. It remained 2-2 after three quarters.

After several minutes of back and forth possession, Newtown took control as Harrell scored with eight minutes left for a 3-2 lead, and again in response to a Barlow goal, a minute later, scoring the game-winner with 1:57 to go.

Sophomore Shea Murphy and senior captain Lu Hage kept the pressure high, both taking many shots on goal.

The Nighthawks held possession of the ball to run out the clock.

“Barlow’s a hard team to start out against because they’re a tough opponent. They’re so scrappy and always a big rival, but we did really well and got the kinks out,” senior captain Keeley Kortze said.

“I really think that in the end, our possessions and 50-50 balls were probably what won us the game. We’ll continue to work on our pressure man defense, transitioning the ball, and creating more space on the offense,” Fletcher said.

The Nighthawks are scheduled to host New Milford, another tough South-West Conference opponent, on Thursday, April 4 at 7 pm.

Newtown will visit Stratford, at Penders Field, on Tuesday, April 9, at 7 pm.

That is the first of four straight road games. The Nighthawks return home on Thursday, April 18, when Pomperaug of Southbury visits Blue & Gold Stadium at 7 pm.

“I think we’re going to be good this season because our chemistry is very good and we have fun playing together, so it makes it much easier to play as a team. We want to win for each other and play very hard for one another,” Kortze said.

Julie Gerace battles her way past the Barlow defense during Newtown’s 4-3 win on April 2. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Elena Sughrue makes her way to the goal. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Lu Hage keeps control of the ball as she looks to make a pass. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

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