Field Hockey Team Remains Perfect, Edges Immaculate 1-0
DANBURY — Its offense stealing the show throughout the season by putting up an average of close to six goals per contest, Newtown High School's field hockey team leaned heavily on its defense in its stiffest test of the season, coming away with a 1-0 victory over host Immaculate of Danbury on October 17.
This was Newtown's second consecutive triumph in a battle of unbeaten South-West Conference rivals, handing Pomperaug of Southbury its first loss in a 4-1 decision exactly a week earlier.
The Nighthawks got a first-half goal off the stick of Izzy Butler, assisted by Katie Goyda, and made it stand up with stellar defense and goaltending. Fighting for the equalizer, the host Mustangs compiled a most of their dozen penalty corners in the late stages of the contest. Nighthawk goalie Gigi Marino and her defense stood tall. Marino made a baker's dozen saves and had some help from the back line, including Kelsey Pearson with a stop of ball that got behind Marino during a late Immaculate flurry.
Newtown's offense might have been limited to its lowest total of the campaign, but the goal-scorers certainly helped with the differential in another way when the pressure was on the Nighthawks.
"They're very nerve-racking," Newtown Coach Shannon Paproski said of the penalty corner chances against NHS. "But our forwards and midfielders got back and got into the circle which helped. We had our forwards working hard on defense so it was a team effort."
"They play really tough defense. You've got to give them a lot of credit," Immaculate Coach Shannon Horosky said. "I think we went toe to toe with the best team in Class L."
Whether or not the Nighthawks are tops in the the state's Class L division is something they will have to prove in the postseason. There is a ways to go before the state playoffs with four regular season tilts and the SWC tourney ahead, but this battle had the feel of a postseason competition.
"This game was pivotal for our team," said Paproski, whose lineups has largely gone untested in outscoring teams a cumulative 65-10 thus far.
Newtown improved to 12-0 (8-0 in conference play) and the Mustangs fell to 13-1 (7-1).