Nighthawk Spikers Defeat SWC Rivals By 3-0 Scores, Set To Face New Milford In Playoff Opener
There may be four teams with as many or more wins than Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team, but heading into Wednesday’s match against visiting Joel Barlow of Redding on Wednesday, October 30 at 5:30 pm and a Friday, November 1, season-finale at East Lyme at 6 pm, the Nighthawks have plenty of reason to be optimistic about their chances in the upcoming SWC tourney.
After all, the Nighthawks (10-3 in conference play) defeated 11-win Weston in three games on the road on October 24. Weston blanked seven-time champion and SWC front-runner Barlow (12 wins in the conference), and several other on-paper upsets have taken place throughout the SWC this fall. So it is unclear which team should be the favorite when the conference tournament commences.
Newtown Coach Tom Czaplinski said his team’s passing is much-improved and that it is working on communication as the Nighthawks look to get back to a fourth straight conference title match.
In the win over Weston, the Nighthawks won by scores of 25-23, 25-21, 25-19. Veronica Kroha had seven kills. Genevieve Murray and Sarah Nowacki both had six kills, and Keyera Smith added four kills. Natalie Horn had four digs, and Nowacki and Choloe O’Connell each had a trio of digs. Maggie McInerney and Catie Gregory had 15 and 12 assists, respectively. McInerney had three aces, and Horn had a pair of aces.
“Weston was a huge win,” said Czaplinski, adding that a 3-0 loss to nonconference foe Woodstock Academy the next night was a bad loss. Newtown bounced back to defeat eight-win Pomperaug of Southbury 3-0 on October 28.
Against Pomperaug, the Hawks won 25-21, 25-16, 25-20, overcoming a mid-set deficit to close things out in the minimum three. A trio of Hawks registered double-digit kills and Horn, Murray, and Nowacki all racked up ten. Amanda Arujo had eight kills. Horn and Nowacki both had six digs. O’Connell and Gregory had five and four digs, respectively. Gregory logged 25 assists, and McInerney had 20 assists. McInerney had three aces, and Gregory and Murray both contributed two aces.
Newtown is the tourney's fifth seed and will visit No. 4 New Milford, looking to avenge a 3-1 loss during the regular season, in the SWC quarterfinals on Monday, November 4 at 5 pm.