Unbeaten Field Hockey Team Wins OT Thriller Against Pomperaug, Blanks Brookfield
The only team to truly test Newtown High School’s field hockey team in its first seven contests is Pomperaug of Southbury. The most recent field hockey exam of sorts took a little extra time — as in overtime — but the undefeated Nighthawks got the job done thanks to Shannon Kelleher’s clinching cage-finder 2:20 into OT. Newtown won its second one-goal battle with the Panthers in as many tries, this time prevailing 2-1 at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 14.
Newtown Coach Ellen Goyda was particularly pleased with the fact her team took care of business despite tired legs, coming off a 6-2 victory on the road against a physical New Milford lineup the night before.
“I’m proud of everybody,” said Goyda, whose team got a regulation tally from Brynn Reilly, assisted by Katie Goyda before Pomperaug forced OT with a late goal.
Significant turnover to the lineup following last season put many new faces in the starting varsity fold, but Newtown hasn’t missed a beat. The Nighthawks have outscored opponents in their other five wins by a cumulative score of 35-5, including a 6-0 toppling of host Brookfield on October 19.
“Their chemistry is great for never playing together and having minimal varsity experience,” Coach Goyda said.
Reagan Schoen started the Nighthawks off in the right direction with a goal set up by a feed from Goyda about six minutes into the Brookfield game. Less than a minute later, Riley added one of her own, assisted by Schoen. Brookfield tightened its defense and held Newtown scoreless in the second quarter. It was 2-0 Nighthawks at the half.
In the second half, it only took 32 seconds to get back on the board as Izzy Butler came up with a put-back goal off a scramble in front of the net, making it 3-0. Goyda made it 4-0 on a goal set up off a free hit from Kelleher, and Butler redirected a shot from Reilly later in the third. Cameron Powers scored in the fourth quarter when she pounced on a rebound of a shot from Goyda that ricocheted off the post.
Brookfield had quite a few shots on goal but Rebecca Filiato and Cailyn Sullivan shared goaltending duties held strong to maintain the shutout.
“When all is said and done, I know we are winning but I’d still like to see more give-and-goes from our offense and I’d like to see more discipline from my defense. I think we need to still work on a lot of things, but this is a great game for everybody to get some time on the field. It was a fun afternoon and I’m glad a lot of kids got some play time,” Coach Goyda said.
Maddy Twitchell, Jenna Reilly, Kick, Jillian Clure, and Victoria Stevenson combined on plenty of defensive stops throughout the afternoon, contributing to the win.
The Nighthawks, following a Wednesday, October 21 home tilt with Watertown (4:15 pm), visit New Fairfield on Monday, October 26 at 4:15 pm.