Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team won its South-West Conference playoff opener, toppling visiting New Milford 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) on October 27. The Nighthawks, the tourney’s No. 2 seed, survived scares in each of the first two games, then pulled away in the clincher to overcome the No. 7 Green Wave in this quarterfinal-round match. Newtown advances to take on No. 3 Weston in the tourney’s semifinals (scheduled to take place at neutral site Masuk of Monroe on Wednesday, October 29 at 5 pm). Kyle Dandrea had 14 kills, seven digs, and three service aces; Jamie Calandro had 11 digs and ten kills; Tessa Leon-Gambetta had eight digs; Clara Whaley had seven kills and four aces; Molly McCoy had 36 assists to go along with two aces; Julia Wiberg added four kills; and Tonya Tucker contributed three aces.
Newtown High School’s girls’ and boys’ cross country teams participated in the Class LL state championship meet at Wickham Park in Manchester on October 25. The girls placed sixth as a team and the boys were 12th. Glastonbury, with a meet-low 56 points, won the girls' competition; Newtown had 220 points. There were 21 Class LL teams and 146 finishers in the meet. The Nighthawks had two finishers in the top ten as Sarah Mawdsley came in sixth in a time of 19:56 and Erin Tressler placed ninth in 20:30.
Newtown High School’s boys’ soccer team, the No. 5 seed in the South-West Conference Tournament, traveled to Redding to tangle with No. 4 Joel Barlow in the tourney’s quarterfinals on October 24. Newtown, after beating the Falcons twice late in the regular season — holding Barlow to just one goal in those two games — fell behind 2-0 in the opening half and couldn’t overcome the early deficit. Barlow prevailed 2-0 to advance to the semifinals. Newtown’s girls’ volleyball team finished as the SWC’s No. 2 seed behind Masuk of Monroe. The Nighthawks will host No. 7 New Milford on Monday, October 27, at 5:30 pm in the quarterfinal round. The winner advances to the Wednesday, October 29 semifinals, slated for 5 pm at neutral site Masuk High.
In a battle of unbeaten South-West Conference football rivals, Newtown High School’s football team shook off some mistakes and penalties and overcame a tough Brookfield squad for a 21-14 victory at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 24. Newtown improved to 7-0 and Brookfield fell to 6-1 in a rematch of last season’s conference championship game, won by Newtown. The host Nighthawks scored all of their points in the opening half as Nick Rubino and Jaret DeVellis both scored on a three-yard runs, and Jacob Burden hooked up with Julian Dunn on a 17-yard TD pass. Newtown fell behind for the first time this season when the Bobcats cashed in on a fumbled punt return for an early score. Newtown turned the ball over with an interception on the next possession, but the defense held strong throughout most of the rest of the game.
Newtown High School’s field hockey and girls’ soccer teams concluded their regular seasons on October 22, with the field hockey team hosting Bethel and the soccer team visiting Pomperaug of Southbury. The field hockey team, with a 2-1 win over Bethel, locked up a state playoff spot. The Nighthawks defeated Brien McMahon of Norwalk 3-2 at Blue & Gold Stadium on October 21, then edged Bethel at home two nights later. Newtown needed a win and at least a tie in its final two games to clinch a state playoff berth with a minimum .400 winning percentage. The soccer team went into its final game having won three straight contests and looking to bolster its state playoff positioning.
Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team heads into the South-West Conference playoffs riding high, having won eight straight matchups with SWC opponents, and the Nighthawks will look to carry that success over into the conference tournament, set to begin on Monday, October 27. The Nighthawks finished 11-2 in SWC play and carried a 13-4 overall mark into the season finale, a nonconference clash with visiting East Lyme, set for 5:30 pm on Friday, October 24. Among the bigger wins during Newtown’s streak was a hard-fought victory over visiting Joel Barlow of Redding on October 17. Newtown overcame a 2-1 deficit to prevail 3-2 (25-19, 25-27, 21-25, 25-17, 15-10). Barlow had beaten Newtown 3-2 earlier this fall, as well as each time the teams met going back to the 2011 season. “We haven’t beaten them in three years so it’s nice to finally get a win against them,” said senior Tonya Tucker. “That gives us a huge confidence boost,” adds fellow senior Clara Whaley. Barlow and Newtown both stood at 10-2 in conference play after the match. Newtown’s other really big win this fall was a four-setter over Weston, which also carried a 10-2 mark into the final week’s action. Only Masuk of Monroe (12-1) has a better record. The win over Barlow was aided by strong fan support, captain Kyle Dandrea believes. “We had a lot of fans. I think that hyped us up a little more,” she said.
Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team concluded the regular season with a 94-81 win over visiting Masuk of Monroe on October 21. Newtown jumped out to the early lead against Masuk as the 200 yard medley relay team of Megan McDonald, Annika Fagerholm, Eliza Eggleston, and Mandy Mele finished in first place with a time of 1:59.98.
In control of their own destiny, but also down to the wire, members of the Newtown High School boys’ soccer team stepped up and locked up a South-West Conference playoff berth with a 3-0 win over Notre Dame-Fairfield, under the lights at Sacred Heart University on October 20. Blake Jarvis, Clay Gattey, and Shane Gattey all scored in the team’s final conference game of the regular season.
They hadn’t lost a game in 48 consecutive tries dating back to the start of the 2011 season — one shy of tying Cheshire’s state record — running all over their Naugatuck Valley League opponents and some others in state playoff games, en route to a trio of Class S state championships, along the way. On October 17, the Ansonia Chargers, a storied football program with 19 state championships, ran into the South-West Conference’s Newtown High School’s football team and saw a chance at making history get stopped. The host Nighthawks stuffed Ansonia’s running attack throughout the night and prevailed in a 14-8 nail-biter. Newtown improved to 6-0 this year and is starting to build a winning streak of its own, and Ansonia fell to 5-1.