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Lyddy Looks To Coronavirus-Driven Discipline As Possible Catalyst For Boys’ Soccer Success



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Discipline is one of the many key pieces that goes into the success of a sports team. Ryan Lyddy, first-year head coach of the Newtown High School boys’ soccer team, is hopeful the coronavirus-forced rule-following off the field contributes to a good product on the playing surface.

Lyddy said if his Nighthawks are the most disciplined team with mask-wearing and social distancing off the field, it can translate onto the playing surface.

A result of the impact of the coronavirus is that traditional conference and state tournaments are on hold. Teams will play slightly condensed schedules against nearby opponents, and engage in a postseason experience that is yet to be determined.

“Win, lose, or draw it’s just about getting the kids out there,” Lyddy said.

The preseason, heading into this week’s upgrade to full team practices, was limited by social distancing restrictions, with small cohorts and shorter practices for all sports. The result was a return to the basics in training and an opportunity for coaches to assess individual skill sets.

“It gave me an opportunity to meet the guys, understand their personalities, what they want, what they need,” Lyddy, who came to NHS after coaching at Fairfield Prep, said of the summer training sessions.

“I think we’re a very fast, aggressive team,” said Lyddy, adding that he expects the Nighthawks to engage in fast-paced, possession-style soccer, with the program continuing its tradition of using a variety of different formations based on opponents.

Lyddy said 76 players came out for the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams, and the commitment displayed by all of these athletes is impressive. “The program’s looking healthy right now, which is great,” he said.

Captains are Tanner Trede, Ryan Ruddy, Jack Petersen, and Tyler Grosso. Goalkeepers are Chris Shaker and Connor Mandarano. Tyler DiMartino, Clayton Kunzweiler, and Jake Gonski are other players to watch, Lyddy said.

The Nighthawks are scheduled to begin the season Thursday, October 1, when Pomperaug of Southbury for a 6 pm Senior Night contest at Blue & Gold Stadium.

Goalkeeper Connor Mandarano is in position as teammate Tanner Trede puts a shot on goal during preseason practice. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Clayton Kunzweiler makes a run with the ball during a drill.
Mateo Moura dribbles during practice.
Jack Petersen makes a turn with possession.
Tanner Trede looks up as he prepares to cross the ball.
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