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Success In Draw Circle Sparks ConfidenceAs Lacrosse Team Enters Into Playoffs



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Possession very often is the name of the game in lacrosse, and for Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team, domination in the draw circle lead to a convincing 17-8 win over visiting nonconference foe Glastonbury, at Blue & Gold Stadium, on May 14.

Newtown won 19 of 28 draws, led by a dozen draw controls by specialist Allie Bradley. Bella Gerace had five controls, and Summer Harrell gained control of the ball off two.

“Then we finished on the offensive end,” Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher noted. “On the first possession we scored and that set the tone for the day.”

The Nighthawks kept getting the ball and scoring. They built a commanding 13-4 halftime lead and cruised to a win that gives them a good feeling heading into the South-West Conference playoffs.

“If we play like we did today we’ll have a lot of success in the postseason,” Fletcher anticipates.

The SWC tourney is set to get underway with quarterfinal-round action on Thursday when the third-seeded Nighthawks host No. 6 Joel Barlow of Redding at 6 pm.

The Nighthawks went into the last day of the regular season in a three-team cluster of squads battling for the top few spots in the South-West Conference playoffs — NHS, New Fairfield, and Weston each with just one in-conference loss; Newtown defeated Weston and lost to New Fairfield in overtime. Because of the three-way tie and the fact all tiebreakers left the teams in that tie, the squad names were drawn from a hat to pick the seeds and Weston got first. Then Newtown got third based on a head-to-head loss to New Fairfield.

Glastonbury, traditionally one of the better teams in the state, is not as tough this year as in past seasons at least record-wise and entered into its final two contests with an 8-6 mark, but the Nighthawks made the win look perhaps easier than it should have, given a trio of Glastonbury’s losses were by two goals or less, including an overtime battle with Simsbury.

NHS cashed in repeatedly on fast-break opportunities, “which we like to do before the defense gets settled,” Fletcher said.

Harrell led the way with a double hat-trick plus one, scoring seven goals — four of which came on free position opportunities — and she added an assist. Elena Sughrue logged four goals and an assist, and Izzy Butler and Erin Phaneuf both recorded two goals and an assist. Jules Battaglia had a goal and two assists, and Gerace scored a goal. Brooke Bulkley and Bradley both had assists.

The Nighthawks closed out the regular season with a visit to Notre Dame-Fairfield on May 17. The Nighthawks won 18-1. Harrell had two goals and played the role of playmaker with a pileup of eight assists, and Sughrue compiled four goals. Phaneuf had three goals and an assist, Battaglia had two goals and two assists, Butler and Gerace both scored twice and added one helper, Bulkley netted two goals, and Claire Kortze also hit the back of the net. Harrell had seven draw controls. Sughrue and Shannon Kelleher both had three ground balls.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Allie Bradley (No. 24) had 12 draw controls to help set the tone for Newtown in its 17-8 win over visiting Glastonbury on May 14. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Elena Sughrue, center, shields the ball from a defender as she cuts in front for a shot on goal. Sughrue had four goals in the win.
Summer Harrell moves in to score on a free position chance as Erin Phaneuf watches the play. Harrell netted seven goals.
Izzy Butler races down the sideline to set up a fast-break scoring opportunity.
Brooke Bulkley (No. 6) makes a move as a Glastonbury player defends.
Bella Gerace controls the ball as Glastonbury players defend and Allie Bradley looks on.
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