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.
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.
Sure, Ansonia High School’s football team isn’t in the South-West Conference so a win over Newtown High in the October 17 game (7 pm kickoff at Blue & Gold Stadium) would only impact Newtown’s state playoff positioning. But a victory by the Nighthawks would mean more than just impacting state postseason seeding for Ansonia. Newtown’s opponent has won 48 straight games — just one shy of tying Cheshire’s state record, set in the early/middle 1990s. “We know and the whole state knows how good of a team Ansonia is,” Newtown wide receiver and defensive back Julian Dunn said. “I think it’ll be a heavyweight fight.”
Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team won its sixth straight match on October 15, defeating host Immaculate of Danbury 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-11). Kyle Dandrea had seven kills and four digs, Alexa Reilly added four kills, and Sarah Bender had 17 assists and five aces. The Nighthawks defeated host Bethel 3-1 (25-16, 25-14, 23-25, 25-13) a day earlier. Dandrea had 14 kills and three digs, Molly McCoy had 30 assists and five kills, and Tessa Leon-Gambetta had seven digs.
Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team topped visiting Bunnell of Stratford, 96-74 on October 14. The Nighthawks cruised to first-place finishes early on in the meet before coasting to the triumph. Newtown improved to 8-1.
The South-West Conference cross country championships, originally scheduled for Thursday, October 16, were rescheduled for Friday, October 17 because of the threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms. The races will be held at the original location — Bethel High School — with the same start times of 3:30 pm for the girls’ varsity runners and 4 pm for the boys’ varsity runners. Junior varsity races will follow at 4:30 and 5 pm.
In the last home game of the season, on October 14, the Newtown High School boys’ soccer team hosted the Stratford Red Devils and the teams finished in a 1-1 tie. The game was an important one in terms of playoff race for both teams. Heading into the game, Newtown had 14 points in the South-West Conference standings and held the eighth and final playoff spot, and Stratford had 13 points and was two positions behind Newtown.
The Newtown High School girls’ soccer team continues to battle for a South-West Conference playoff spot. The Nighthawks sit in ninth place, just one point behind eighth place Pomperaug of Southbury, with two conference games remaining on the schedule. The top eight teams in the SWC will make it into the playoffs. Newtown defeated host Stratford 4-0, a team with only one win in conference play, on October 14, to improve to 3-4-4 in conference play (4-4-5 overall).