Girls’ Soccer Team Battles Back But Falls In Penalty Kicks
After 100 minutes of play on a bitterly cold (20-something degree) night at Blue & Gold Stadium, the host Newtown High School and Simsbury girls’ soccer teams had to settle things in a round of penalty kicks in their Class LL state tournament opener on November 12.
The No. 20 Simsbury Trojans prevailed 2-1 (5-4 in PKs) to end No. 13 Newtown’s season.
Newtown answered a late first-half goal by the Trojans to force overtime when Karsen Pirone slid to kick the ball past Simsbury goalkeeper Caela Segar with 7:44 remaining.
Previous to the goal, Sydney Howard got behind the defense but was denied by Segar, and Kaley Meisenheimer and Skylar Howard both worked hard to generate chances.
After Pirone’s tying tally, Hannah Daly had a pair of long-range free kicks, both of which nearly resulted in net-finders.
“I think we certainly had more than our share of chances and this is a result of not putting them away,” Newtown Coach Marc Kenney said.
In the first of a pair of ten-minute overtime periods, Nighthawk goalkeeper Julianna Stavola made a leaping stop on a free kick.
During the second OT, Stavola charged out 30-plus yards from her goal line to challenge a shot and blocked Simsbury’s bid for a go-ahead goal.
In PKs, the Trojans made all of their shots and their other keeper, Madeline Brooke, made a diving stop in the first round.
Newtown’s Riley Powers, Skylar Howard, Ally McCarthy, and Colleen Phaneuf all scored in the round of kicks.
The Nighthawk coach liked how his team battled back and noted that it’s anybody’s game once soccer goes to penalty kicks.
Although the finish was disappointing it does not take away from a season that included a second straight South-West Conference championship, this year accomplishing the feat as the SWC bracket’s fifth seed.
“I’m envious of their heart, and I’m envious of their passion, and I’m envious of how hard they work,” Kenney said.