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NEW FAIRFIELD — Unbeaten in South-West Conference play, and rarely challenged for that matter — including a 17-1 triumph over host Stratford on May 4 — Newtown High School’s girls’ lacrosse team found itself in close one with host New Fairfield on May 9. The Nighthawks pulled away late in regulation for a hard-fought 14-11 victory to improve to 10-2 overall and 9-0 in SWC action; the Rebels fell to 9-3 and 7-3 in the conference.
“Definitely a good win. Nice tight game, which is good for them at this point in the season,” said Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher, whose team will embark on the SWC playoffs beginning on Thursday, May 18.
Alex Futterman led Newtown with five goals and an assist, Dylan Zahansky notched a hat-trick, and Alison Kelleher scored twice and added a trio of assists. Nevan Gattey, Julia Sughrue, and Charli Condon each scored a goal and had an assist, and Kiera Sughrue and Rylee Harrell added net-finders, and goaltender Catie Gregory even got in on the scoring as she logged an assist.
Gregory, a freshman, made her first varsity start and helped the Nighthawks to their third straight win.
The Nighthawks did a good job of answering New Fairfield goals with quick-answer tallies of their own.
The Rebels pulled to within 7-6 with about a minute to play in the opening half and the Hawks struck with 18 seconds remaining before the break to carry an 8-6 lead into halftime.
New Fairfield got the first three goals out of the break and claimed a 9-8 lead midway through the second half. Futterman got the ball off the draw and scored only nine seconds after New Fairfield’s go-ahead marker, knotting the score with 14:23 to play.
Another New Fairfield goal, with 12:28 left, was answered by Futterman off a nice setup by Kelleher and Julia Sughrue, just 21 seconds later, making the score 10-10. That was the first of three unanswered Nighthawk net-finders as the visitors seized control.
Futterman weaved through the defense and scored for Newtown’s first lead of the half, with 11:29 remaining. Kelleher found a wide-open Zahansky in front of the net for another goal, only eight seconds later.
Newtown had several in-close chances to pad the lead but couldn’t capitalize, and the Rebels got to within 12-11 with 6:04 to play. After two more Nighthawk opportunities went by the board, Futterman made a nice spin move to move in front from behind the goal area, and bounced the ball home for some breathing room, and a 13-11 lead with 3:38 to play. Kelleher set up Zahansky for the final tally, with 2:32 left.
Fletcher noted that there is still room for improvement. The Hawks compiled 37 shots in the game but could have converted on more of those opportunities, the coach said. Fletcher also wants to see improvement on defense. Newtown allowed the opposition to score in double digits only one other time, a 15-13 victory over Weston in late April.