GREENWICH — Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team put forth another great effort against a tough FCIAC school but, again, came up just a little bit short. The Nighthawks fell 16-14 at rainy Greenwich in the first round of the Class L state tournament on May 28.
The No. 13 Nighthawks had erased a 10-5 late first-half deficit to draw even with No. 4 Greenwich, 11-11 at the break. So a four-goal hole with 9:21 remaining certainly didn’t seem insurmountable, but it proved to be as the Nighthawks couldn’t come all the way back. The host Cardinals played keep-away for most of the final seven-or-so minutes of the game to advance and end Newtown’s chances of capturing a state title.
The Cardinals had a fast midfield, Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher noted, and her Nighthawks were also a little bit slow out of the gate, falling behind early before turning it on. Kristie VosWinkel, Erin Kenning, and Meaghan Brophy all scored four times, and Caroline Kingsley and Tressa Scott also found the back of the net for the Hawks. Newtown goaltender Kyle Dandrea made seven saves.
It marked the second year in a row the Cards eliminated Newtown, last year doing so in a one-goal battle in the semifinals, en route to winning the state championship. Newtown was the No. 2 seed last spring and Greenwich was the No. 3 team.
This time around, the team seedings may not have been so close, but the tightness of this contest shouldn’t be much of a surprise for those who have followed the Nighthawks this year. Newtown went just 9-7 overall, but was clearly a deceptive 13th seed. The Hawks played an extremely tough schedule with games against several challenging nonconference foes, including FCIAC teams Wilton and New Canaan, both of which pulled out one-goal wins over Newtown. Newtown also captured its ninth straight South-West Conference championship (see related story).
“They’re not used to seven losses but I said, ‘Girls, it’s to prepare us for the good games, and we know we can compete with anyone in the state,’” Fletcher said.
Newtown also lost to Cheshire in overtime, fought to a one-goal win over Simsbury, fell to FCIAC foe Ridgefield, and lost to Hall of Hartford and Glastonbury in other out-of-the-SWC clashes scheduled to prepare the Nighthawks for the postseason.
Fletcher was proud of her team’s state tourney showing but it was tough to swallow being dealt a first-round exit in such a close game.
“It is disappointing when we have a loss early on like this because we’ve played so hard all year,” Fletcher said.