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Boys’ Soccer Team Blanks Two Conference Foes In Wet Conditions



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Newtown High School’s boys’ soccer team seems to have taken well to the wet weather. The Nighthawks defeated a pair of South-West Conference foes in the rain this past week, earning a 2-0 shutout at Masuk of Monroe under a light mist on October 3 and blanking visiting Notre Dame-Fairfield 4-0 in heavy rain on October 7. Those triumphs sandwiched a 4-0 setback at Joel Barlow of Redding on a nice weather day, October 5.

“Weather conditions such as this tend to lead to sloppier play and more undisciplined style of play; however, the Newtown boys’ soccer team was determined to focus on the details and play a composed style of fútbol,” Newtown Associate Coach Justin Stevens said following the Notre Dame game.

Stevens said Newtown stayed compact on defense and exploded on its attack before scoring midway through the first half. Jake Gonski broke up a Notre Dame play in the offensive half and scored from 30-plus yards out, beating the Notre Dame goalkeeper to the far post. Newtown’s second goal of the half came from Jalen Minter who scored on a through-ball from Joe Premus.

In the second half, the defense — led by Duncan O’Leary — remained composed at the back and thwarted every long ball played over the top from Notre Dame. “Sticking to our tactics of combination play and maintaining possession, Newtown continued to be a threat on every attacking opportunity,” Stevens said.

Newtown’s third goal came from an individual effort from Premus in which he cut across the top of the 18-yard box and hit the top right corner of the goal. Jack Peterson scored the final goal of the evening, finishing a one-on-one with Notre Dame’s goalkeeper after creating a turnover and breaking through several tackles to close in on the goal, Stevens said.

The Nighthawks bounced back from the loss at Barlow, a game in which the score did not tell the whole story.

“They’re a very athletic, solid team — they’re well-coached,” said Barlow Coach Paul Winstanley, adding that he thought the game was much more competitive than the final score shows given the Falcons capitalized on a pair of Newtown miscues.

“They were the better team on the day for sure,” said Newtown Head Coach Charley Amblo, adding that Ryan Ruddy, O’Leary, and Gonski all had solid games for the Nighthawks.

Newtown may have been a bit off its game after a lengthy wait for its team bus and late arrival to Barlow. The lopsided score allowed for the entire roster to get out on the field.

“Everybody got in some much-needed game time,” Amblo said.

In the win over Masuk, Premus and Adem Selmani hit the back of the net after a scoreless first half; Tristan Andrew assisted both tallies. NHS Head Coach Charley Amblo said the Nighthawks successfully executed the game plan of applying unified team pressure on the Panthers.

“It was a good win for us,” Amblo said.

Newtown carries a record of 4-4-1 overall and 3-3-1 in SWC play into a Friday, October 11 visit to New Fairfield at 6 pm.

Jalen Minter makes a move near the sideline during Newtown's visit to Joel Barlow on October 5. NHS lost the game 4-0 but was on the winning side of a pair of shutouts this past week, beating Masuk 2-0 and Notre Dame 4-0. (Bee Photos, Hutchison)
Duncan O'Leary moves the ball to a teammate in the Barlow game.
Tyler Grosso tracks the ball down near the corner flag.
Ryan Ruddy gets his head on the ball.
Jake Gonski passes to a teammate in Newtown's visit to Masuk of Monroe on October 3.
Jack Petersen sends the ball up the field as Masuk players defend.
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