Offense Clicks Early For Laxmen In Triumph Over Bethel
The Newtown High School boys’ lacrosse team is on an upswing coming off an 11-6 win over the visiting Bethel Wildcats at Blue & Gold Stadium on April 23 and a 15-6 win at Brookfield on April 26. The Nighthawks had been battling sickness and injuries the past few weeks, making the season-opening games extra-difficult. However, with most of the squad back, the Nighthawks ran their offense effectively and finished shots against Bethel.
The Nighthawks started off strong in the first quarter, pulling ahead 4-1 in the first quarter and built a 10-1 halftime lead.
“We ran our offense correctly, we fed the ball inside, and we finished our shots. Our Achilles heel lately has been not finishing our shots; we’ve been hitting the goalie. We did a better job of getting higher percentage shots and finishing,” Coach Scott Bulkley said.
Similarly, in the second half, Bethel went on a 5-0 run, but it was not enough to surpass the cushion that Newtown had built up. The Nighthawks sealed the win in the final minutes of the game with a net-finder.
The team was pleased with its play, especially in the first half.
“Today, the first half was way better. Unfortunately, the second half we relaxed a little bit,” Bulkley said
Sam Steare, Colby Harrell, and Andrew Swierbut had a pair of goals each. Matt Jacobs, Jake Bulkley, Kyle Ruddy, Michael Ihlefeld, and Fisher Stites all found the back of the net as well. Bulkley had two assists and Steare, Ruddy, and Stites all had an assist. Markus Paltauf was also solid in net with 12 saves.
“A lot of the time it’s just continuity, getting the same guys on the field. We just haven’t had that yet. It seems like every day we have a different group of guys out there. It’s difficult to learn where guys are gonna be, to trust where guys are gonna be, and to have everyone on the same page when it’s not always the same guys out there,” Bulkley said.
Injuries on a team disrupt consistency. Without consistency, it is difficult for a team to find a rhythm offensively and work as a unit defensively. With players back, the Nighthawks are finding their rhythm.
“We came out to a slow start at the beginning of the season with injuries and illness but now we’re really finding our groove and that’s especially important as we get into the hardest part of our schedule. We’ve done a good job so far bouncing back from tough losses and we’re looking to keep our foot on the gas,” Newtown senior Andrew Jacobs said.
NHS was coming off an 8-4 setback at Weston on April 21, but Bulkley was seeing positive signs following that contest. “We played much better. Slowly getting to where we need to be,” the coach said. Bulkley had two goals, Harrell and Stites had one goal each, and Steare had an assist. Paltauf had 18 saves.
In the Brookfield game, Bulkley had two goals and three assists, Steare had two goals and two assists, Harrell scored twice and had three assists, Jacobs had two goals, Chris Stowell scored a goal, Swierbut had a goal and two assists, Colin Breslin netted two goals, Ruddy had a goal, and Ihlefeld had two goals and one assist. Swierbut and Stites won 16 face-offs and Swierbut and Bulkley picked up eight ground balls each. Paltauf had 8 saves.
The Nighthawks visit New Fairfield on Thursday, April 28, at 6 pm, and will go to Scarsdale, N.Y., Friday, April 29, at 7 pm. They host a tough Joel Barlow of Redding team Monday, May 2, at Treadwell Park at 7 pm, and host Glastonbury Wednesday, May 4, at 6 pm.