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Lu Hage picked a good time to get the hot scoring hand in a girls’ lacrosse battle between Newtown High School and host Joel Barlow of Redding on May 9.
Hage netted two goals only a dozen seconds apart late in regulation, tying the game with 3:36 to go, then completed her hat-trick effort with the game-winner 1:32 into overtime, propelling the Nighthawks to a dramatic, thrilling 11-10 come-from-behind triumph over the rival Falcons.
It took a pair of second-half comebacks (Newtown fell behind 8-5 before tying the game the first time and again 10-8 before Hage’s heroics), and a Falcon bid to win the game clanking off the cross bar just before Hage’s winning net-finder for Barlow to finally suffer its first in-conference defeat of the season.
Barlow fell to 10-4 overall and 9-1 in conference play, and the Nighthawks improved to 9-5 (9-1).
Hage took a pass from Charli Condon and cut in front of the net from the right side before depositing a low shot to end things. Late in regulation, Hage was set up by Lauren Carrino to make the score 10-9, and Hage was assisted by Condon off the ensuing draw, won by Alex Futterman.
Newtown Coach Maura Fletcher liked her team’s approach on attack against Barlow in comparison to other tilts this campaign.
“I just think we were so much more patient with the ball today,” Fletcher said.
“We just put our heads together, we knew we had to chill, pass it around, and look for the open person,” Hage added.
The teams traded goals in the first half and this game was knotted at four apiece at the break. Barlow got the first two tallies of the second half and answered a Newtown goal with two more for an 8-5 advantage with 16:03 left.
Newtown got the next three, as Rylee Harrell forced a turnover at midfield and ran the distance to the goal for the last of her three net-finders with 14:50 left to get the rally started. Dylan Zahansky got the next two, one on a free position shot, and the other off a feed from Condon, just 15 seconds apart. The game was even at 8-8 with 11:21 remaining.
After Carrino’s bid for the lead went off the post, the Falcons scored the next two and led 10-8 with 8:44 left, but Newtown again clawed back.
“They put a lot of pressure on us. We made a few mistakes which you can’t do when you’re leading by a few goals. Give them credit, they didn’t lay back and just let us run out time,” Barlow coach Steve Coppock said. “Newtown’s a good team. No shame in losing to them.”
The Hawks lost Zahansky to injury late in regulation. They still found a way to win a close game after suffering a pair of one-goal defeats, one of which was in OT, earlier in the season.
“I feel like we needed this win because we’ve had a few one goal games that we lost,” Fletcher said. “This was huge to be able to win this game, just psychologically for them.”
Ali Kelleher scored twice and Keeley Kortze added a goal for Newtown. Condon logged four assists, and Kortze, Harrell, Carrino, Futterman, and Hage all had one helper.
Newtown goaltender Catie Gregory made six saves. Harrell had a trio of ground ball scoops. Kiera Sughrue, Emma Magazu, and Harrell were defensive standouts, Fletcher said.
“It was nonstop energy. Our team really came together to bring it all on the field,” Condon said.