Hawk Laxmen Win State Opener Before 9-8 Setback
Locked in a tie with visiting New Milford late in the third quarter of the Class L state tournament qualifying round contest on the rainy morning of May 29, Newtown High School’s boys’ lacrosse team seized control with a trio of goals in the span of just 28 seconds en route to a 14-8 victory.
The No. 11 Nighthawks survived a scare from a familiar foe: the No. 22 Green Wave is a South-West Conference opponent the Hawks handled 14-4 during the regular slate, also at Blue & Gold Stadium.
“Anytime a team steps up, ready to play like they did, it’s tough. They battled. You tip your cap to them — they played hard,” Newtown Coach Scott Bulkley said of the Green Wave.
The Nighthawks overcame New Milford’s ability to hang in there for a majority of the game, answering the Green Wave’s tying goal when Tanner Trede scored his third of four goals in the game for a 7-6 Nighthawk lead with 2:05 to play in the third quarter. Shaine Luzietti gained control off the ensuing draw and passed to Connor Breslin for one of his five tallies only nine seconds later. Luzietti and Ryan Ruddy worked hard to gain possession off the next draw, and that led to Jake Bulkley setting up Breslin for a 9-6 lead with 1:37 to play in the stanza. That was the score heading to the fourth, and the Nighthawks never looked back.
Breslin had two assists and a pair of ground ball scoops to go along with his five tallies. In addition to hitting the net four times, Trede had an assist and scooped three grounders. Colin Breslin notched two goals and two assists as well as two ground balls. Colby Harrell scored twice, and Ruddy added a net-finder and one assist. Bulkley, T.J. O’Connell, and Luzietti all had assists.
Luzietti did a nice job on the draw and picked up seven ground balls, Bulkley had four grounders, and Mike Haddick had three grounders.
Goaltender Markus Paltauf, filling in for the injured Jake Dandrea, made a handful of saves in addition to reading some of New Milford’s passes and picking them off to spark the counter attack.
Coach Bulkley was pleased with how Paltauf stepped up. Dandrea was injured against Masuk of Monroe in the South-West Conference tourney quarterfinals and played against New Fairfield in the semis, but Paltauf was called upon in the state opener.
Newtown’s coach was impressed with Connor Breslin’s accuracy and happy his team advanced, but a big takeaway was that the Nighthawks had a lot of improvement to make for its first-round visit to No. 6 Simsbury on Wednesday (after The Bee sports section went to press).
“Lack of consistency has been our Achilles heel all year,” he said, adding that when the Nighthawks have taken a big step forward they tend to take a couple of steps back.
Newtown has had a challenging season from the get-go. It began with a bulk of the team quarantining throughout preseason due to coronavirus protocol, and continued with injuries to key players. Despite all of that, the Nighthawks went on to post a 10-4 record in the regular slate and continue its season into the month of June.
The Nighthawks visited No. 6 Simsbury and fell 9-8 in the first round, on June 2. Read more about the Simsbury game in the June 11 print edition of The Bee.
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.