Girls’ Lacrosse Team Heads Into Postseason On High Note
Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team wrapped up the regular season with four consecutive victories as the Nighthawks followed up a 16-0 triumph over Notre Dame-Fairfield on May 7 with a 16-6 win at Bethel two days later, an 11-5 win over Fairfield Warde on May 11, and a 10-1 victory over Brookfield on May 13.
In the win over Bethel, Isabelle Butler had four goals; Keeley Kortze had three; Julia Gerace and Rylee Harrell each had two; and Alison Kelleher, Elena Sughrue, Shea Murphy, Ella Hage, and Gia Corso all found the back of the net. Sughrue had four assists, Kortze had three, and Gerace and Murphy each set up two goals. Murphy led Newtown with four ground ball scoops.
In a contest with FCIAC opponent Warde at Blue & Gold Stadium the Nighthawks got four goals from Lu Hage, three off the stick of Rylee Harrell, two from Sughrue, and one each from Butler and Kortze. Gerace logged two assists, and Sughrue, Murphy, and Kortze had an assist apiece. Hage had three ground balls to lead Newtown. Nighthawk goaltender Tess Davenport made ten saves.
Newtown held a slim lead, 3-1, late in the first half before scoring twice in the final four minutes to seize a 5-1 halftime advantage. After Harrell made it 4-1 with 3:59 remaining, a defensive stand gave Newtown a waning-seconds chance to tack on and Butler capitalized, her goal coming with just four seconds remaining in the half.
Harrell scored early in the second half to push the lead to five goals. After Warde got to within 6-2, Lu Hage scored in close off a feed from Kortze while the Hawks were a player up, and Sughrue finished a play in transition, taking a pass from Gerace and scoring for an 8-2 cushion with 17:03 to play.
After calling timeout, the visiting Mustangs got two goals to make it an 8-4 game with 13:11 left. Lu Hage made a nifty move off a free position opportunity and scored with 9:14 to go.
The Mustangs again pulled to within four, with 7:43 left, then won the ensuing draw. A defensive stand prevented the Mustangs from chipping away any further, and Kortze and Lu Hage scored in the final four minutes to put the game away.
Newtown had strong defensive work from Davenport in the goal and Emma Magazu and Coleen Phaneuf.
Coach Maura Fletcher liked the way her Nighthawks played against the Mustangs.
“Really pleased. They really worked together today. They moved the ball well and played well defensively. We were extremely patient on our offense end against their zone,” said Fletcher, referring to Warde’s defense.
In the win over Brookfield at Treadwell Park, Sughrue scored three times, Gerace had two goals and two assists, Murphy scored twice, Butler had a goal and two assists, Kortze netted a goal and an assist, Harrel scored a goal, and Corso added an assist.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, Kelleher left the Warde game with an injury. It was not determined after the game how long she would be sidelined, but Fletcher acknowledged that it would be a significant loss if she misses any of the postseason.
Newtown is scheduled to begin the postseason with the South-West Conference tournament on Thursday, May 16, with a quarterfinal-round home contest at 5 pm. Winners of quarterfinal-round contests play in the Monday, May 20, semifinals. The championship game is set for Wednesday, May 22, at a site to be determined, beginning at 7 pm.
The only loss Newtown had in SWC play this spring came in an 11-7 setback at top-seeded and unbeaten New Fairfield. It was two-goal game before Newtown pulled its goaltender, looking to come back late in the contest. If the Hawks face the Rebels again, it would be in either the semifinals or championship.
“They’re a fast team. We’ll just make some adjustments from our in-season game,” Fletcher said of a possible rematch in the playoffs.
New Fairfield is the Patriot Division champion, and NHS won the Colonial Division and is the second seed in the tourney. Newtown finished 12-3-1 overall and 10-1-1 in conference play
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