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New Coach Leads New-Look Field Hockey Squad

Newtown High School’s field hockey team has a new look almost entirely across the board. Stephanie Paproski takes over head coaching duties, and the first-year leader inherits a significantly inexperienced roster since 16 players graduated last year.

“It’s a very exciting time. I’m looking forward to it. A great group of girls this year — a lot of talent,” said Paproski, a former Nighthawk field hockey player herself. She graduated from NHS in 2008 and went on to play at Castleton State College of Vermont.

Despite the level of inexperience and overall youth of this team — there are only four seniors on the roster — Paproski noticed the players working well together throughout the preseason.

Last year’s team went 6-9-0-1 (wins, losses, ties, and overtime losses) and came away with a regular season-ending 2-1 win over Ridgefield to qualify for state tournament play. It’s too soon to tell what the 2013 campaign will bring for this year’s Hawks, but the coach and her players are anxiously anticipating some on-field success.

“I’m really looking forward to starting off the new season with a completely new team,” said senior captain Erica Thill, one of few players back in the fold.

Thill, a forward, joins fellow captain and forward Julia Diluoffo, along with midfielders Emily Davis and Catherine Neave as the only seniors on this year’s team.

“I think it’s going to be fun. We all have different skills we bring to the table,” Diluoffo said.

The Nighthawks have two goaltenders competing for playing time in front of the cages: Casey Demers and Natalie Shaker.

Newtown expects New Milford and Pomperaug of Southbury to be among the toughest competitors in the South-West Conference. The Hawks will again have an out-of-conference tilt with FCIAC team Ridgefield.

After beginning the season with four straight road contests, the Hawks are scheduled to finally come home for a September 21 game when nonconference foe Watertown visits Blue & Gold Stadium for a 7 pm game.

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