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With Masks On, Volleyball Team Strives To Improve Each Day



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Although they are required to wear masks during practices and competition, and there will not be an opportunity to dethrone conference champion Joel Barlow of Redding — or even face the rival Falcons, who do not fall into Newtown’s SWC region for this coronavirus-altered season — the Nighthawks are happy just to be on the court.

“Our goal is just to improve every day,” said Coach Tom Czaplinski, whose year-in, year-out aspiration of winning a championship has been altered significantly this time around.

The Nighthawks have a strong group of senior returning players, with Sarah Nowacki, Maggie McInerney, Kate Petersen, and Amanda Araujo back on the court. Additionally, with Waterbury-based Chase Collegiate School closed for the school year, the Hawks pick up senior transfer Maddie Patrick.

Newtown’s lineup is bolstered by promising underclassmen, including sophomores Grace Miller and Keyera Smith.

“It’s a great mix of youth and experience,” Czaplinski said of his lineup.

Following the Thursday, October 1 Senior Night home match with Pomperaug of Southbury at 6 pm, the Hawks will host Bethel on Saturday, October 3, at 11 am. Each of the team’s remaining ten matches — home and away — are set for 4:15 pm. Following the Bethel clash, NHS has just one home match during a three-week stretch into late October: New Fairfield visits Wednesday, October 14.

Maddie Patrick digs the ball during practice. Patrick is a transfer from Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, which is closed this year. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Chloe O’Connell gets low to keep the ball in play.
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