Year in and year out, the Newtown High School girls’ lacrosse team has been the squad to beat in the South-West Conference. The Nighthawks captured their eighth straight SWC championship last spring, ensuring that they are the group everybody will strive to take down again this spring.
Although many SWC teams have been getting better in recent years, Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher notes, it doesn’t stand to be the least bit easy for anybody to take bragging rights from the Nighthawks.
Newtown lost only three starters to graduation a year ago and appears to be loaded throughout the lineup once again.
Senior captains are midfielders Erin Kenning and Tressa Scott, along with attack players Julia Trudell and Caroline Kingsley. Other players to watch include defenders Cassie Ekstrom and Anna Northrop and midfielder Meaghan Brophy. Goaltenders Lauren Sarna and Kyle Dandrea are vying for time between the pipes.
All of this experience, in addition to being the longstanding holder of the SWC championship trophy, makes Newtown the favorites, but don’t forget it took a one-goal nail-biter over Brookfield in the SWC semifinals just to get to last year’s championship game (an 18-13 win over New Fairfield) and a one-goal win over Joel Barlow of Redding in the SWC title game the year before for the Hawks to keep this string of championships alive.
Fletcher has been pleased that her conference rivals — whom the Hawks haven’t lost to in the regular or postseason since 2006 — are making things tougher on her squad in recent seasons. Even so, the coach continues to jump on the opportunity to make sure the Hawks are tested in out-of-conference games. Fletcher scheduled seven non-SWC battles with teams all of which are among the top-ten in the state: Simsbury, Cheshire, Glastonbury, Wilton, Ridgefield, New Canaan, and Hall of West Hartford.
“They’re getting better and better every year,” Fletcher said of her SWC counterparts, including New Fairfield, Joel Barlow of Redding, and New Milford. “We have good competition in our conference now but playing these hard teams just gets us ready for postseason play. It does nothing but make our team better.”
Newtown also would like to claim a second postseason crown. “We’re looking for a state championship this year. We came so close last year,” said Fletcher, whose team fell 11-10 to Greenwich in the Class L state tourney semifinals last June.