It’s no coincidence that Newtown High School’s girls’ soccer team played five ties in their first nine games of the campaign. “The parity is better than ever,” Newtown Coach Marc Kenney said of his and the other 13 South-West Conference teams, after playing Pomperaug of Southbury to a 2-2 draw at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 3. After their third straight tie — Hailey Conrad netted Newtown’s lone goal in a 1-1 stalemate with host New Milford on September 30 and the team played Weston to a scoreless battle three days earlier — the Nighthawks stood at 3-1-5 overall this fall.
Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team earned its biggest win of the campaign, a 3-1 (18-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-17) triumph over Weston, at home on October 6. Kyle Dandrea had ten kills, nine digs, and three service aces; Jamie Calandro had 12 kills, eight digs, and two aces; Tonya Tucker and Clara Whaley both had 11 kills; and Molly McCoy compiled 35 assists. Alexa Reilly added five kills and two aces; Tessa Leon-Gambetta contributed three digs and a trio of aces; and Julia Wiberg had four kills. Dandrea and Wiberg combined for five blocks.
Challenged deep into the game for the first time this campaign, Newtown High School’s football team overcame a tough Joel Barlow of Redding squad to earn a 34-14 win at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 2. Newtown improved to 4-0 and the Falcons fell to 2-2 overall. The visiting Falcons — thanks to a 10:24 drive to begin the second half (and chew up almost all of the third quarter clock) — pulled to within 20-14 as the game went into the fourth quarter. The Nighthawks, who won by 29 or more points in each of their first three contests and basically ran out the clock in the second and third quarters of those triumphs, needed a pair of late touchdowns to put this one away.
It’s been ten years since both of Newtown High School’s soccer teams captured state championships in the same season — an incredible feat the program celebrated during halftime of the boys’ game, the second in a twin bill for the girls and boys at Blue & Gold Stadium on September 27. Former players and coaches walked out to midfield and were acknowledged by a large crowd that mostly packed the bleachers for the games. “It’s a testament to a whole bunch of stuff, starting with the youth program in this town,” Newtown Coach Marc Kenney said of the fact both teams won titles in the same season.
Sure, the Nighthawks didn’t win, but they put in quite an effort and were fairly pleased with earning a scoreless tie with visiting Weston in the first game of a Newtown High School soccer doubleheader at Blue & Gold Stadium on September 27 (the boys’ squad followed with a 1-1 tie against Weston in the nightcap). “We were happy about the tie because they’re a good team — we know they’ve played well so far,” senior captain Brenna Kelly said. “We had some good effort.” Including a goal-line save by defender Marissa Thill, midway through the second half, to help goalkeeper Alyssa Ruefenacht (eight saves) earn Newtown’s half of the double shutout along with Weston keeper Ursula Alwang (seven stops).
Coming off a 2-0 win over visiting Bethel on September 26, Newtown High School’s boys’ soccer team had a quick turnaround and a fast start — including a goal by Clay Gattey, assisted by Blake Jarvis, only 8:30 into the match — when Weston came to Blue & Gold Stadium the next night. Unfortunately for the Nighthawks, that was their only net-finder despite more than double the chances Weston manufactured. The Trojans scored late to salvage a 1-1 tie. It was a disappointing outcome for the Hawks, who stood at 2-3-2 this season following a game they thought they should have won.
Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team continues to perform at a high level and break records. The Nighthawks set two pool records in relay events in a September 19 win over Weston, and diver Kari Djonne broke both her own team record and the pool mark during a 96-82 win over visiting New Fairfield on September 30. Djonne’s dive during the win over New Fairfield scored 279.45 points as part of Newtown’s one-two-three outcome on the diving board.
Newtown High School’s boys’ and girls’ cross country teams both defeated host Joel Barlow of Redding and Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport in races on September 30. The boys beat Barlow 21-40 and topped Kolbe 15-50. Kyle Mangold outkicked Barlow’s Ben Ruffing for his first career individual win as the Nighthawks improved to 7-3 this fall.
Heading into an October 1 game against Masuk of Monroe, the field hockey team had dropped two straight one-goal contests — a 2-1 game at New Milford on September 26 and a 1-0 setback at Weston on September 30. The Nighthawks toppled Masuk 7-0 at Blue & Gold Stadium to improve to 5-4. Newtown's volleyball team, coming off a win over Kolbe Cathedral and losses to Masuk and Brookfield, also began the season with a 5-4 mark.