Boys’ Lacrosse Team Set To Begin State Tournament
Some things take time. In the case of Newtown High School’s boys’ lacrosse team, getting up speed in the beginning of a coronavirus-impacted preseason, one in which a majority of Nighthawks had to quarantine rather than practice leading up to the first game, took a while. That led to the Nighthawks playing catchup throughout the season.
But the Nighthawks turned it on late in the regular slate. They capped off the regular season by defeating a Weston team it had lost to by just one goal with a 9-5 victory, then started the South-West Conference tournament with a 15-4 triumph over visiting Masuk of Monroe in the quarterfinals on May 20. NHS had beaten Masuk 6-2 in the regular slate.
“I think we’ve turned the corner. We’re playing more as a team right now. We’re playing more for each other,” Coach Scott Bulkley said following the playoff win over Masuk.
Bulkley said his players are making good shot selections on offense, for example.
Newtown fell 13-5 to top-seeded New Fairfield in the SWC semis on the road on May 24, but NHS has had a solid overall effort late in the slate and the Hawks hope to get back to their winning ways in the upcoming state tournament. The Hawks will host New Milford in a qualifying-round game on Saturday, May 29, starting at 10 am.
The Nighthawks have battled numerous injuries this spring.
“We’ve had a lot of kids step up and do what they’re supposed to do,” said Bulkley, adding that players who started the season on the junior varsity team have made their way into the varsity lineup and done well. “That’s a testament to our coaches and how they all work in practice.”
In a 15-4 win over Masuk in the quarterfinals, Tanner Trede netted a double hat-trick, scoring six times. Connor Breslin had a hat-trick to go along with a pair of assists. Jake Bulkley had two goals and two assists, and Sam Steare and Ryan Ruddy both scored twice. Colin Breslin had a trio of assists. Shaine Luzietti recorded an assist and scooped a team-best eight ground balls. Bulkley had four grounders, and Ruddy and Trede each had three. Goaltender Jake Dandrea made eight saves.
“Our offense stepped up completely,” said Dandrea, who enjoyed watching the attack players build on a slim third quarter lead and seize control of the Masuk game late in the third and early in the fourth.
Two goals late in the third made it 9-4 Nighthawks heading to the fourth. Connor Breslin set up Steare only 18 seconds into the fourth quarter for a 10-4 lead, and Treade and Ruddy whipped home shots to pad the advantage less than three minutes into the final stanza.
The momentum did not continue against a New Fairfield team that had twice beaten the Nighthawks in the regular slate, the second time by just one goal. In the playoff clash, the Rebels jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Newtown got two goals from Trede, and a goal each from Bulkley, Connor Breslin, and Steare. Luzietti led NHS with five ground ball scoops.
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com.