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Newtown High Girls’ Booters Work Hard For 3-0 Start

FAIRFIELD — Newtown High School’s girls’ soccer team has taken care of business in the early going of the campaign, and now braces for some potentially tougher competition. The Nighthawks blanked the host Notre Dame-Fairfield Lancers 3-0 on September 16 to improve to 3-0 heading into a September 19 clash with always-tough Masuk of Monroe.

After a fruitless, but effort-filled first half which saw the Hawks put a dozen shots on or near the Notre Dame goal, the offensive floodgates cracked in the second half. Sarah Lynch and Jess Keller scored less than two minutes apart, early in the half, and Lynch added another net-finder to help put the game out of reach.

Keller sent a long ball through the middle for a streaking Lynch, who got between Notre Dame’s defenders and broke the ice with a hard low shot. Then Lynch returned the favor, getting the ball into the 18-yard box with a cross from the right corner. The ball deflected off the ND goalkeeper and Keller booted it, off a bounce, into the net for a sudden 2-0 lead.

Lindsey Jagoe sent the ball deep into the Notre Dame end of the field, which set up Lynch’s second tally, a blast that hit the top shelf of the goal.

The Nighthawks earned a season-opening 4-1 win at Bethel on September 11, and followed that up with a 2-1 edging of visiting Stratford two days later. In each of those games, the Nighthawks found themselves deadlocked at the half, Newtown Coach Marc Kenney noted.

“That’s big — that’s a hard thing to do,” Kenney said of repeatedly breaking the tie after halftime. “The kids just believe in each other.”

None of Newtown’s three opponents are perennial powerhouses in the South-West Conference. In fact, Stratford and Notre Dame have traditionally been dominated by the Nighthawks, but the conference’s weaker teams have made significant strides.

Kenney said trying to possess the ball on a long grass field against a hardworking team in the Lancers was difficult for his squad. Newtown got the ball deep into Notre Dame’s half of the field but simply couldn’t finish on its first several chances before Lynch got the ball rolling.

“I was hoping our speed was going to win out in the end and it did,” Kenney said.

In the win over Bethel, Brenna Kelly, Jagoe, Lynch, and Kerry Scallon all scored. Keller had two assists, and Maddy Sieber and Lynch also set up goals. Andrea Trivers made four saves, and Alyssa Ruefenacht had two stops in goal.

Against Stratford, Makenna Cerney and Lynch hit the net, Keller had an assist, and Trivers made a pair of saves.

All in all, Kenney is pleased with the way the season has started.

“I’m optimistic because we’re getting chances,” the coach said. “We’re working hard. We’re winning balls.”

Newtown may have to step it up a notch in some of its games following the win over the Lancers. After battling Masuk, the Hawks are slated to host Weston at 7 pm on September 24, then visit typically challenging Joel Barlow of Redding two days later.

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