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Nighthawk Volleyball Team Has Competitive Matches To Begin Slate



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Newtown High School's girls' volleyball team showed plenty of fight in the first two matches of the season, a pair of five-game battles with FCIAC teams. The Nighthawks bounced back from a tough loss at St. Joseph of Trumbull to defeat Darien.

Trailing two games to one and behind 22-16 in what could have been visiting Darien’s put-away set, Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team put together quite a comeback on September 13.

The Nighthawks went on a 9-1 run to close out the fourth game and win 25-23 and force a decisive fifth game. They then bested the Blue Wave 15-10 to come away with the match win 3-2 (16-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 15-10) on September 13.

Coming off a hard-fought 3-2 loss to St Joseph the day before, the Nighthawks dug deep to come out on top against the team that eliminated them from the state playoffs one year ago. Newtown defeated Darien twice during the regular slate last fall.

A kill by Veronica Kroha and pair of blocks for points by Genevieve Murray helped pull Newtown to within a point at 23-22 in set four. A diving save by Kroha led to the tying point, and a long hit out of bounds by the Blue Wave gave Newtown a 24-23 edge. Sarah Nowacki’s kill was too hot for the Wave to handle and closed out the game.

In the fifth set, the Nighthawks seized leads of 3-0 and 6-3. After Darien pulled to within a point at 6-5, Newtown scored four straight, highlighted by two Nowacki aces.

The teams traded points, and Darien was within 12-9 before Newtown scored two straight, capped by a Natalie Horn ace. A service error gave Darien its final point and extended the match, but Nowacki’s kill deflected out off a Darien player to seal the win.

Nowacki had nine kills, five aces, and four digs; Amanda Arujo had six kills; Kroha had six kills; Natalie Horn logged nine digs; Lauren Belden compiled seven digs; and Genevieve Murray tallied four kills.

A key to the comeback against Darien, Newtown Coach Tom Czaplinski said, was improvement in communication on the court.

Against St Joe’s, the match scores were 25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-11. Horn had five aces, ten kills, and 14 digs; Genevieve Murray compiled 11 kills; Kroha had five aces and nine kills; Lauren Belden registered two aces and six digs; Nowacki had three aces, eight kills, and four digs; and Kira Smith had five digs. The Nighthawks accumulated 19 aces.

“They definitely have that fight inside all of them. It’s just a matter of getting off to a better start,” Czaplinski said.

A second straight hard-fought loss to begin the year might have stung a bit more than any other brief two-match losing skid. And getting a win was perhaps all the more important given the lengthy wait until the next match.

“I think it would have been a little demoralizing for the girls... It was definitely great to pull it out,” said Czaplinski, whose team will participate in the John Jay tournament in New York on Saturday, September 21, and will go to Bunnell of Stratford on Monday, September 23, at 5:30 pm.

Veronica Kroha taps the ball over the net during Newtown's win over Darien. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Natalie Horn digs the ball to keep it moving. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Kira Smith splits a pair of defenders with this hit at the net. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Kate Petersen (No. 10) and Veronica Kroha go up for a block attempt. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Genevieve Murray goes up at the net during the match with Darien. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Maggie McInerney hits the ball back the other way. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Sarah Nowacki gets low to dig the ball. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Lauren Belden keeps the ball in play. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Amanda Arujo (No. 4) and Veronica Kroha go for a block. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
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