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NHS Girls' Lacrosse Team Defeats Conference Rivals With Ease

Published: April 18, 2018 at 12:00 am

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Dylan Zahansky passes the ball despite pressure from the Bethel defense. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Dylan Zahansky passes the ball despite pressure from the Bethel defense. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Rylee Harrell moves up the field. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Rylee Harrell moves up the field. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Lindsey Merrifield makes a pass. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Lindsey Merrifield makes a pass. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Charli Condon runs with the ball and looks to make a move on a defender. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Charli Condon runs with the ball and looks to make a move on a defender. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Newtown High School's girls' lacrosse team, in consecutive games, defeated a pair of South-West Conference foes by identical 18-7 scores, first defeating visiting Bethel, at Treadwell Park on April 11, then besting host Brookfield the next day. The domination continued with a 16-0 blanking of host New Milford on April 17.

Against Bethel, the Nighthawks maintained a 7-3 lead in the first half as the Wildcats had a trio of possessions to trim into the deficit, but couldn't break through. A Hana Rosenthal steal led to Ali Kelleher's goal with 3:39 remaining.

The Nighthawks went ahead 10-4 at halftime, capped by a Rosenthal goal as she cashed in on a turnover with 14 seconds left in the opening half.

After the break, Newtown faceoff specialist Alex Futterman got possession and the Hawks quickly capitalized on a free position play as Kelleher was assisted by Chari Condon.

The Hawks built a 15-4 lead and held Bethel off the scoreboard in the second half until ten-plus minutes out of the break.

Kelleher finished with three goals and two assists, Keeley Kortze also had a hat-trick, Futterman netted two goals to go along with a pair of assists, and Rosenthal, Rylee Harrell, and Lu Hage all scored twice. Condon, Lindsey Merrifield, and Kayla O'Rourke also scored for the Hawks. Condon, Hage, and Dylan Marano each added an assist.

Futterman had six draw controls and a pair of ground ball scoops, and Harrell had four draw controls. Condon registered two draw controls and two grounders.

Newtown starting goaltender Catie Gregory made seven saves, and Tess Davenport stopped two shots.

Coach Maura Fletcher was pleased to see contributions from nine goal scorers, and points logged by ten players.

"A lot of different scorers. We got to see some of the younger players play and hopefully get them to feel more comfortable on the field," Fletcher said.

The coach was still looking for improvement in multiple areas.

"We still need to work on our transition game. We still need to work on identifying who the best ball-handlers are on the other team and stopping them earlier and higher," Fletcher said after the Bethel game.

And her Nighthawks responded against Brookfield and New Milford.

"We are having success with so many different players scoring and our transition game is at a fast pace and we are causing a lot of turnovers in our redefend. We have been working extremely hard at practice at tightening up our defense. I always preach that offense win games but defense wins championships in our sport," said Fletcher, who knows a thing or two about championships, having won 11 conference crowns in as many seasons during two stints leading the Nighthawks.

In the Brookfield game, Harrell led the way with five goals. Kortze scored twice and added three assists, and Dylan Zahansky, Kelleher, Condon, and Merrifield all added two goals apiece. Futterman had a net-finder to go along with a trio of assists, and Lauren Carrino and Hage both scored.

Shutouts are not common in lacrosse, especially girls' lacrosse, but the Nighthawks put together a solid team effort to blank the Green Wave. Davenport made four saves and Gregory had two stops.

"We dominated on the draw circle and turned the ball over several times. Transition game was top notch," Fletcher said. "Again, we distributed the goals to several scorers. Defense played as a trusted unit and got the shutout."

NHS will visit Pomperaug of Southbury on Thursday, April 19, at 7 pm, and will host Glastonbury at Blue & Gold Stadium on Saturday, April 21, at 3 pm.

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