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Girls' Soccer Team Showing Hustle, Looking To Build Off Win Over Bunnell



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Soccer is not typically a sport for offensive fireworks. And that makes capitalizing on those few and far between scoring chances all the more important. Newtown High School's girls' squad did so in a 6-0 triumph over visiting Bunnell of Stratford on Senior Night, October 21.

The lopsided win was a welcomed result for a team that has been stellar at defending and being competitive in general all season long, but went into their final few regular-season games looking to overcome missed chances to cash in around the other team's goal and bolster their postseason rankings once the South-West Conference and state tournaments roll around.

Coming off a 1-1 tie at SWC rival Immaculate on October 18, the Hawks entered into the final week of the slate in a four-way tie among SWC teams with only one loss. But this was Newtown's seventh tie, and fifth stalemate in conference play, leaving Newtown looking up at five teams in the conference and in need of more wins down the stretch to pick up points and decrease chances of being on the road for the postseason.

"We're in trouble," Newtown Coach Marc Kenney said after his team held a 1-0 lead over Immaculate until the final few minutes, then narrowly missed an in-close chance to break the deadlock in the waning seconds.

Against Immaculate, Newtown's Colleen Phaneuf scored off a Hannah Daly corner kick in the first half. Sydney Howard worked the ball deep to generate a corner kick chance as Newtown looked to add to its lead midway through the second half. Katie Rowan had consecutive centering efforts, the second a header followup of her initial try, but Hawks couldn't capitalize.

Sure a tie is not a loss but, Kenney notes, three ties is in effect two losses in terms of missed points in the standings (wins are worth two, and ties one point).

Kenney is pleased with his team's hustle.

"I have no issue with the effort, no issue with their commitment to the program. We've just got to be a little bit better on the offensive third," the coach said.

The Nighthawks certainly were potent on offense against Bunnell (4-8 overall and 4-7 in conference play), logging their most goals in a contest since a 6-0 win over Stratford on September 23.

Kaley Meisenheimer scored twice, and Karsen Pirone, Olivia Oltran, Riley Powers, and Phaneuf also scored.

“I was really impressed by our focus in putting the ball in the net. It was senior night, so the emotions of all that are there, but the group just committed to scoring goals. It was an outstanding collective effort. I am hoping it sort of released some of the pressure that these ties have put on us, and will propel us into a great postseason.”

The Hawks were to visit five-win Brookfield, which Newtown leapfrogged in the conference standings with one more point, on Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 pm. The regular slate closes out with a visit to winless Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport on Monday, October 28, at 4 pm. Each of the top four teams host quarterfinal-round SWC playoff games Friday, November 1 or Saturday, November 2.

Katie Rowan kicks the ball with Immaculate applying tight defense during a 1-1 tie in Danbury on October 18. (Bee Photos, Hutchison)
Erin Phaneuf gives the ball a kick.
Kaley Meisenheimer tracks the ball down near the sideline.
Goalkeeper Julianna Stavola sends the ball up the field.
Karen Pirone, right, goes up for a header.
Hannah Daly heads the ball forward from her defensive position.
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