Comeback Kids: NHS Laxmen Claim SWC Crown
STRATFORD – The May 31 South-West Conference boys’ lacrosse championship game at Bunnell High School, between Newtown High School and the Brookfield Bobcats, was a hard-fought game on both sides. The second-seeded Newtown Nighthawks came out on top with the 10-8 win over No. 5 Brookfield.
It was a comeback effort for Newtown, which quickly went down 4-0 in the first quarter. The Nighthawks quickly got it together and brought the score to 4-3 by the half. From then on it was a close game. Juniors Ryan Sullivan and MVP Brad Kretz were an outstanding force for the Newtown attack with two and four goals, respectively. They worked to get the game to 8-6 in Newtown’s favor with ten minutes remaining. From there, Kretz put another one in the back of the net but Brookfield quickly answered to bring the score to 9-7. Brookfield then scored again, closing the gap to one. But, with three minutes left, junior Jack Condon finished Brookfield off with the final goal of the game.
Newtown Coach Glenn Adams said of the game: “Our guys came out in a bit of a lull in the first quarter but we stuck with it, battled through adversity, and came out in the second and third quarters which were very big for us. It was a great turnaround and showed this team’s ability to weather through the storm.”
After the first quarter Newtown played excellent on both sides of the ball, especially the attack where Kretz led the comeback effort, scoring on all but one of his shots.
“We’ve been waiting all year for Brad to come out and have an effort like this and he finally brought it out in the biggest moment,” Adams said of Kretz’s performance.
However, it wasn’t a standalone effort for Kretz as there were many key players for Newtown, including sophomore defensive mid Mark Urso. He was a force on faceoffs and without him the Nighthawks may not have been able to get out of the first-quarter hole. Senior Jake Ball also had a good game, leading the team in assists (three) and loose balls controlled, while also adding a goal. Goaltender Jon Rospenda played an important role in the game with seven crucial saves for Newtown.
“I thought I did pretty [well] today but I think our defense played really well and helped me out a lot after we got our first-quarter jitters out. We battled through adversity but we fought through it, came out big after the first quarter, and got the win.”
“We’re all so happy. We worked so hard all season for this and knew exactly what we had to do, so we just gave it our all and got the win,” said Ryan Sullivan, another key part of Newtown’s win with two goals and two assists.
Behind a true team effort, the Nighthawks finished out on top to add the conference championship to a very good 13-4 regular season record.
The Nighthawks (seven seed) hope to carry their success into the Class L State Tournament with a first-round game against No. 10 Fairfield Prep on Wednesday, June 4 at Blue & Gold Stadium at 4:30 pm.