Winning Ways, Highlighted By OT Thriller, Continue For Nighthawk Field Hockey Team
After mostly dominating the competition, outscoring its first four opponents a combined 19-3, Newtown High School’s field hockey team found itself in its closest contest of the season on September 24. The Nighthawks rose to the occasion by earning a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory at FCIAC opponent Trumbull.
Katie Goyda scored the game-winner, just 21 seconds into the ten-minute, 7 on 7 (four less players per side) overtime period. Katie Dirga got the ball to Ali Kelleher, Newtown’s other goal-scorer (unassisted in the first half), who set up Goyda with the decisive tally when Goyda shot from the top of the circle.
“It’s really nice to have the win,” said Newtown Coach Stephanie Kearns, whose team has two wins and a tie in a trio of meetings with Trumbull over the course of the last three years. All of the games have been nail-biters, and in fact, required extra time.
Trumbull sent the annual interconference meeting with the South-West Conference’s Nighthawks into overtime for third straight year with a goal in the final ten minutes.
The Nighthawks improved to 5-0 and the Eagles fell to 2-4-1-1 (wins, losses, ties, overtime losses).
Kearns said Dirga, a midfielder, played a solid all-around game to lead the Nighthawks.
Newtown defeated visiting Joel Barlow of Redding, an SWC rival, at Treadwell Park on September 20. Against Barlow, Kelleher and Casey McLean scored in the first half, and Kat Trammel added a second-half tally. McLean and Piper Coleman had assists for the Nighthawks.
The game was scoreless for 25 minutes. Kelleher was assisted by McLean and Coleman with 4:55 to play before halftime. McLean added a goal with just 1:32 left in the half. Trammel scored 10:02 into the second half.
Newtown had seven shots and created nine penalty corner opportunities. Goaltender Megan Fuchs made a trio of saves against Barlow.
“It is so much fun. We’ve got so much team energy. I think we’re really good at playing the long ball game. We’re passing really well up the sideline, and most of all the defense is communicating,” Fuchs said of Newtown’s keys to success this fall.
“I think we’re really playing as team. Our passing’s very strong. We talk to each other on the field,” Kearns added.
Team chemistry, as well as the on-field skill, is also a factor.
“We all get along, so that really contributes to how well we play,” Dirga said.
The Nighthawks, coming off their toughest tilt of the season, have some more on deck and around the corner. The September 25 scheduled visit to Bethel was rained out. On Thursday, the Nighthawks were scheduled to visit Brookfield, which has just one win in five contests but has been ultra-competitive, losing three of the four by just a goal, two of those coming in OT.
Newtown plays 4-1 New Fairfield, which has lost only to FCIAC foe Ridgefield and piled up 21 goals in its four wins; that game is slated to be played at Treadwell Park on Tuesday, October 2, beginning at 4:30 pm. Pomperaug of Southbury (unbeaten heading into Thursday’s action) visits Blue & Gold Stadium on Thursday, October 4, at 6:30 pm. Immaculate of Danbury (6-0; outscoring opponents 33-1 in those games) comes to Blue & Gold the following Thursday, October 11, for another 6:30 pm tilt.
“Next week’s going to be a tough week for us. Hopefully we keep our passing together and we keep communicating on the field,” said Kearns, adding that finishing scoring chances in the circle will also be key to success in these tough matchups. “That’s really going to tell us where we sit.”
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