Girls’ Soccer Team’s Banner Season Ends In State Quarterfinals
GLASTONBURY — Newtown High School’s girls’ soccer team’s hopes of following up its conference championship with a state title ended in the Class LL State Tournament quarterfinals.
Host top-seeded Glastonbury blanked the No. 8 Nighthawks 2-0 on November 9. The Nighthawks were eliminated by visiting Glastonbury in the state quarters last year, as well, when the Hawks were seeded third and Glastonbury was seeded sixth.
In this year’s state playoff clash, the unbeaten Tomahawks scored in the opening minute and added a second-half tally on its home natural grass pitch.
Newtown goalkeeper Julianna Stavola was credited with 15 saves; she made several outstanding denials.
Strong defensive work was turned in by Hannah Daly, Laura Augenbraun, Emma Magazu, Colleen Phaneuf, Caitlyn Greenspan, Keeley Kortze, and Sophia Romano.
Up top, Emma Curtis, Olivia Oltran, Sydney Howard, and Karsen Pirone all created chances. Phaneuf was also denied off one of six Emma Curtis corner kicks.
Trailing 1-0 just past the midpoint of the first half, the Hawks nearly tied things when Curtis moved around a few defenders to create a scoring chance and sent a shot that was tipped by Glastonbury goalkeeper Madelyn Gehrhardt over the top.
The Nighthawks had their scoring chances limited by a combination of Glastonbury’s strong defense and ball control. Quickness without the ball enabled the Tomahawks to disrupt Newtown’s play. Nighthawk Coach Marc Kenney liked his team’s effort, but noted that miscues led to both goals.
“I think we played hard. I think we played pretty well. I just think Glastonbury makes you pay for your mistakes,” Kenney said. “When you lose the ball, they come at you in waves.”
Newtown’s season certainly was an ultra-successful one on the whole. The Nighthawks, winners of 12 regular-season contests, went on to win the program’s first South-West Conference title.
Host Newtown defeated No. 9 Amity of Woodbridge 1-0 in the second round round, on November 7; a first-half Sydney Howard cross deflected in off an Amity player. NHS had beaten No. 25 Enfield 6-2 in the first round, on November 5.
“This group is a really, really special group because of their resiliency. They’re unfazed by everything,” said Kenney, whose team battled numerous injuries throughout the fall.
Kortze and Curtis, in particular, persevered.
“They’re physically shot. They’ve been hurt all year. It’s incredible; they just fight,” Kenney said.
The coach added that the entire group rose to the occasion this fall.
“I could not be more impressed with a group of young women,” Kenney said.
The team will lose seniors Kortze, Curtis, Alexandra Toth, and Katie Sailer.
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