Newtown High School’s boys’ lacrosse team, the South-West Conference Division I champions a year ago, will begin title defense when playoffs begin on May 18. The Nighthawks ended their regular season with a 10-7 loss to Glastonbury, in the rain at Blue & Gold Stadium, on May 13.
The Hawks went 9-7 in the regular season and 4-2 in conference play, highlighted by nonconference wins over Fairfield Ludlowe and Simsbury, and an upset of previously unbeaten SWC rival New Fairfield.
Coming off a hard-fought 14-11 victory over Simsbury and a 10-4 triumph over New Fairfield earlier in the week, the Hawks found themselves with their hands full against a Masuk of Monroe team that leads the pack in SWC D-II, on Senior Night, May 11. The Nighthawks led just 6-5 at the half and held a somewhat precarious 8-5 advantage with less than a minute to play in the third quarter. Then the Hawks seized control by reeling off four goals in the final 40 seconds of the stanza.
The late barrage, which included two tallies by faceoff man Layton Harrell, one of the stick of Tucker Garrity with 8.4 seconds left, and a net-finder from Aiden Coleman tenths of a second before the final buzzer, sent the Hawks on their way to a 14-6 victory.
Harrell had four goals and two assists, Garrity logged three goals and four assists, Evan Eggleston also netted a hat-trick, Mark Hall scored twice, and Scott Bauer joined Coleman in the goal scoring column. Eggleston and John Burden added assists. Newtown goaltender Mason Colon stopped eight shots.
Newtown Coach Scott Bulkley commended Masuk for having a strong team and was pleased with the way his team caught fire after a difficult start to the game. Likewise, the coach has been happy with the progress of his squad as the season has unfolded.
“They’re starting to figure out what they need to do to be successful,” Bulkley said. “They’re playing together as a team.”
Against Glastonbury, in a game scheduled to help prepare the Hawks for tough playoff competition, Newtown led 4-2 in the second quarter, and trailed 6-5 at the half of this tight contest. Down 7-5 late in the third, Harrell pulled the Hawks to within a goal, but Newtown couldn’t tie the game and Glastonbury pulled away late.
Harrell had three goals and two assists, Eggleston scored twice and added two helpers, Garrity had a goal and set up two others, and Colin McCafferty added an assist.
Newtown may be the defending champion, but Joel Barlow of Redding and New Fairfield both sport 5-1 SWC marks and, on paper, are the front runners this spring. New Fairfield beat Barlow and NHS beat New Fairfield. Newtown’s other conference loss was to Weston, which also has a 4-2 mark.
The SWC tourney quarterfinals are set for Thursday, May 18, with the semis on Tuesday, May 23, and the championship on Thursday, May 25.
“If we’re playing as a team I feel we have a great shot like everyone else,” Bulkley said.