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Nighthawk Girls’ Booters Tie Pomperaug Panthers And Bethel Wildcats



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All in all, it was a strong couple of games with the same result for Newtown High School’s girls’ soccer team. The Nighthawks earned a 1-1 draw with unbeaten Pomperaug of Southbury on October 22, then settled for a 1-1 deadlock with visiting Bethel on October 27; both games took place at Blue & Gold Stadium. Below the surface of these ties is the fact each had a vastly different feel, considering all of the circumstances.

Newtown was thrilled to not lose against a tough Pomperaug squad it had fallen to 1-0 in the opener of the campaign; Angie Romano was assisted by Skylar Howard in the Pomperaug tilt. Against Bethel, conversely, the Hawks had the better of the chances, including three shots that hit the post or cross bar in the second half, and they broke a scoreless deadlock with only 1:04 remaining before seeing Bethel get even in the final half minute.

Joey Libero deposited a shot off a scramble in front of the Bethel net, assisted by Mackenzie DelPozo, to spark a celebration for what appeared to not only be the goal but a win before Bethel knotted things 39 seconds later to make near win feel somewhat like a defeat for the Nighthawks.

Prior to that finish were a few oh-so-close misses. Katie Rowan clanked a shot from the right side off the post, and Katie Larson booted the rebound off the cross bar from the left side. Riley Powers blasted a shot from the top of the 18 yard box that hit the top bar with about 15 minutes to play as the Nighthawks piled up the chances.

“We certainly out-played them. You can say it’s soccer, it’s unlucky, but in reality we didn’t finish,” Nighthawk Coach Marc Kenney said. “The Pomperaug tie was outstanding. This was a bad tie.”

Kenney and his team members may have been disappointed in the outcome though they have plenty of reason to be pleased with the performance of late. This is, overall, a young team, inexperienced at the varsity level, but making significant progress. Kenney said the sign of a young team is one that plays well enough to win but doesn’t, and he is pleased that the team has avoided losses in several close contests. NHS had tied Bethel 3-3 in its second game of the slate and put together a better performance in the rematch for its fourth tie overall.

“I’m proud of the effort. Collectively, we fought — we played hard,” Kenney said. “I think we’ve made huge strides in terms of our effort. We’ve made huge strides in terms of our desire to play together and our drive. We’re making huge steps.”

This is all positive given Kenney’s goals for this 2020 coronavirus-shortened slate are to serve as both a memorable experience for the seniors and a stepping stone for the younger players who comprise a bulk of the roster. What’s more, the games are being played — and that is the best thing to come of this slate, Kenney believes.

“It’s great. The fact that we’re out there and we’ve been out there as long as we have is outstanding,” the coach points out.

“Everybody’s playing well,” said Kenney, noting that sweeper Ally McCarthy and her strong play in the back, and Powers with her speed and skills up front have been bookends of the group.

Newtown carried a record of 2-3-4 into its last three scheduled regular season games against New Milford, Masuk of Monroe, and Brookfield — all on the road. In the first meetings between NHS and these foes, Newtown played New Milford to a scoreless tie, lost to Brookfield 1-0, and edged Masuk 1-0.

Riley Powers tracks down the ball during Newtown’s 1-1 tie with Bethel at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 27. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Mackenzie DelPozo puts the ball into play with a throw-in.
Ally McCarthy defends and goalkeeper Julianna Stavola is ready as she watches the play unfold.
Ally Bradley sends the ball up the field.
Riley Powers, left, and Sarah Premus double team a Bethel player as they go for the ball.
Riley Powers and teammates move in on the Bethel defense.
The Hawks celebrate Joey Libero’s late goal against Bethel.
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