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Hawk Laxmen Show Their Resiliency In SWC Quarterfinal Victory



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Before being eliminated by host and top seed Weston 9-3 in the South-West Conference Tournament semifinals on May 23, the No. 5 Newtown High School boys’ lacrosse team put together an effort it will look to build off as the team turns the page and heads into state tournament play. NHS is the No. 17 seed and will visit No. 16 Fairfield Warde in a Class L State Tournament qualifying round game on Friday, May 26, at 2 pm.

The Nighthawks went on the road to take on No. 4 Bethel, a team it lost to 14-7 back on April 22, and turned the tables on the Wildcats. Newtown erased a 4-2 halftime deficit and 6-4 Bethel lead in the second half for a dramatic 7-6 playoff victory on May 18.

Sean Reilly netted the game-winning goal after Marcus Gerace tied things; Charlie Massett assisted on Newtown’s last two tallies. Colby Harrell scored a hat-trick, and Sam Steare and Braden Macey both scored. Fisher Stites had six groundball scoops, Asher Williams collected five ground balls, and J.J. Haddick had four.

“I am very proud of our group for the way they battled adversity, stuck together, and worked extremely hard. We talk about it all the time — keeping an even keel and a next play mentality. We focused on playing the game in five-minute increments and making sure we were in a place to win a game with five minutes remaining. The great thing about the game was how every player had a positive impact. Our bench was electric with positive energy,” Newtown Coach Tony Fitti said.

A key to the win was Newtown having been in hard-fought contests, including a 6-4 win over Joel Barlow of Redding on May 2 and a 5-4 edging of Pomperaug of Southbury on May 9.

“We are battle-tested; we have played in tight games against good lacrosse programs that prepared us for the moment. A season is a series of building blocks. We are still striving for our peak, however we talk about playing our best lacrosse when it counts. Not only are we making strides on the field, but we are coming together tighter and tighter every day as a team,” Fitti said. “Bethel is a very well coached team, I have a lot of respect for that program and the direction they are going. We are happy to have come out on top against a very good team.”

Against Weston, Stites scored twice and Reilly had the other Newtown goal. Williams led NHS with four ground balls.

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

Sean Reilly scored the game-winning goal in Newtown’s come-from-behind 7-6 win at Bethel in the SWC Tournament quarterfinals. —photos courtesy Jen Stockwell
Cole Stockwell breaks away from a pair of opponents in SWC playoff action.
Fisher Stites, left, and the Nighthawks will look for success in the state tourney.
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