A big part of the reason Maura Fletcher, coach of the Newtown High School girls’ lacrosse team, schedules ultracompetitive, nonconference battles is wins like the two Newtown had this past week. The Nighthawks sandwiched a hard-fought 7-6 loss to Wilton out of the FCIAC on May 4 with a pair of lopsided wins over South-West Conference foes Notre Dame-Fairfield and Pomperaug of Southbury.
Newtown drubbed host Notre Dame 20-3 on May 2 and clobbered Pomperaug 15-5 at Treadwell Park on May 7 to improve to 7-5 overall, ensuring at least a .400 winning percentage to claim a spot in the state tournament.
Wilton is among the teams put on the schedule to get the Hawks battle-tested in time for the postseason as they try to win their ninth straight SWC trophy and make a run at that elusive state championship.
Newtown played from behind but hung close throughout the Wilton contest, only to have a trio of late-game calls go against the Hawks. An illegal screen, a charge, and a swipe on a defensive sequence, which resulted in a yellow card (player removed from the game) left the Hawks unable to make a late comeback. Fletcher was not pleased with the calls, and believed there was no contact made by her players on any of those calls.
“It came down to tough calls at the end of the game,” Fletcher said.
Even so, the coach was pleased with the way her team competed against a formidable opponent.
“They played their hearts out. I’m really pleased with the way they played,” she said,
Meaghan Brophy scored twice, and Kristie Vos Winkel, Julia Trudell, Caroline Kingsley, and Erin Kenning all found the net once in the defeat. Newtown goaltender Kyle Dandrea made 12 saves. Her counterpart, Hanna Wiltshire also made a dozen stops in this low-scoring affair.
Both teams maintained ball control for long possessions before shooting, Newtown successfully set the tempo by dropping players back and slowing down play in an attempt to counter Wilton’s quick midfielders.
Newtown, in the wins over Notre Dame and Pomperaug, got many players out on the field for game experience, something Fletcher said was important, especially given that some of her team members are nicked and battling through minor injuries.
In the win over Notre Dame, Alexa Ray and Emily Maher both scored three goals. Against Pomperaug, Trudell and Brophy each had six net-finders. Although the offense stole the show, Fletcher was particularly pleased with her team’s defensive work in the Pomperaug game.
“We just pressured the ball a lot on defense,” she said.
Newtown was scheduled to face another tough FCIAC team, New Canaan, on May 9. Three of the last four games are against nonconference teams. The Hawks visit Simsbury on Saturday, May 11. They host SWC foe Bethel on May 15 for a 7 pm contest, then close out the regular slate May 18 at Cheshire.