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Girls’ Soccer Team Battles Until Final Whistle Of Playoff Defeat



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Newtown High School Girls’ Soccer Coach Marc Kenney likes to have his seniors recognized when time is winding down in their last game, but taking them off the field was difficult to do even down three goals to visiting Ridgefield in the first round of the Class LL State Tournament at Blue & Gold Stadium on November 10.

“They just give me their all every single game. That’s how I felt the entire year with them,” Kenney said of his entire team, led by the seniors. Kenney added that due to this never-quit attitude it felt like the Nighthawks had a chance all the way until the end of what turned out to be a 3-0 season-ending (NHS career-ending in the case of the seniors) setback.

Seeded fourth in the tournament, the Nighthawks were upset, on paper anyway, by the No. 13 Tigers — although the seedings are quite misleading considering Ridgefield comes from the strong FCIAC and there were only a few wins separating the schools; NHS went 12-3-1 and the Tigers were 9-3-4 in the regular season

“I think today our performance — score aside — is an indication of how we played all year,” said Kenney, whose Nighthawks won their South-West Conference quarterfinal-round game before losing in the semis.

Kenney expected a tough matchup. “We knew they were going to be fast; we knew they were going to be physical,” he said.

The Nighthawks prepared as best they could in practice, but “when you see it live and in person it’s hard to replicate,” Kenney said.

Ridgefield carried a slim 1-0 lead into halftime — the tally an own goal by Newtown. Ridgefield scored a couple of nice ones five minutes apart early in the second half to seize control.

Kenney said he was pleased with the season — on and off the field — due to the personality of this group, which graduates Sophia Guevara, Ally McCarthy, Erin Phaneuf, Elena Sughrue, Katie Rowan, and Rayna Toth. NHS expects to bring back a strong core, backed by goalkeeper Ryann Heim-Sherwood.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Katie Rowan, right, battles for the ball during Newtown’s 3-0 state playoff game loss to visiting Ridgefield on November 10. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Ally McCarthy, right, looks to move the ball past an opponent.
Riley Powers, left, competes against Ridgefield.
Kristen Reisert (No. 15) and the Nighthawks had a winning season.
Ella Morits, right, goes for the ball.
Goalkeeper Ryann Heim-Sherwood gets set to send the ball to a teammate.
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