Volleyball Squad Advances To Title Match
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the time and location for the SWC championship match.
Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team proved to be the only squad to defeat perennial powerhouse Joel Barlow of Redding during the regular season, and Barlow was the only team to hand the Nighthawks a loss in South-West Conference action this fall.
The top two teams in the SWC, seemingly on a championship match collision course all season long, will settle some unfinished business when they meet in the pinnacle match for the third consecutive time.
Second-seeded Newtown defeated visiting and sixth-seeded Brookfield 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-20) in the tourney semifinals, on November 1.
Barlow bested No. 4 Masuk of Monroe in the other semi.
The Nighthawks will take on top-seed Barlow for all of the marbles on Saturday, November 3, at neutral site Weston High, beginning at 6 pm.
Barlow has won the last six conference crowns.
The last team not called Barlow to win the title was the 2011 Nighthawks who beat, who else, but the Falcons.
In the win over Brookfield, Veronica Kroha had four kills and six aces, and Genevieve Murray and Sarah Nowacki each logged seven kills.
Kim Buttery had 32 assists, five aces, three kills, and eight digs. Mollie Goudy and Jackie Moccio compiled six and five digs, respectively.
Hannah Groonell had six kills and five digs. Natalie Horn had five kills, three digs, and an ace.
In game one, an ace by Kroha, followed by a block for a point by Murray pushed Newtown’s lead to 20-10. The Bobcats hung around until Nowacki’s kill ended it.
Kroha began game two with consecutive aces, and had a trio of aces among Newtown’s first four points, setting the tone for the game.
After a Horn kill, Buttery had back-to-back aces for a 7-1 cushion.
The Bobcats chipped away and eventually got to within 11-9. A kill and ace by Kroha helped push the lead to 14-9.
After a Brookfield point, Newtown reeled off five unanswered, highlighted by three more aces — one by Kroha and two more from Buttery.
Horn added an ace, and Buttery faked setting the ball and dumped it over the front row into open space for a point as the Hawks pushed the Bobcats into a must-win situation in game three.
The Nighthawks jumped out to a seemingly commanding 6-1 lead. Brookfield inched its way back into the game and pulled to within a point at 14-13 before spikes by Murray and Groonell made it a three-point NHS lead.
Leading just 18-16, the Hawks received a kill and ace, just inside the back line, from Kroha, making it a four-point cushion.
A diving save by Groonell set up a Murray kill as the Hawks took a 22-17 lead. A strong dig by Groonell led to a Murray dink between Brookfield rows to bring things to match point at 24-17.
Brookfield stayed in it with three straight points before a service error sent Newtown into the finals.