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Update: The quarterfinal-round game against Glastonbury will be played at 2 pm on Saturday, November 11.
Newtown High School’s girls’ soccer team, seeded third in the Class LL state tournament, defeated visiting and No. 19 Wilton, 1-0, in the second round, at Blue & Gold Stadium, on November 9.
As the Nighthawks continued to pressure Wilton, and the home team’s free kick opportunities piled up, the time on the clock continued to tick away, and the game remained scoreless. Newtown finally broke through, with 18:01 remaining in regulation, when Sydney Howard booted home a loose ball following Sarah Houle’s free kick after Wilton foul.
The Warriors strung together some late-game chances, including their first corner kick of the game, in the final minutes. Newtown held on thanks to solid defensive work and goalkeeper Julianna Stavola, who needed to make two saves to preserve the shutout.
Newtown controlled the game and logged about ten shots toward the goal, but did not pile up the opportunities to match their ball control domination.
“Patience was key in this game,” captain Grace Corcoran said. “It does get nerve-racking when you’re not scoring. We figured we had to keep working and it would come.”
The first and decisive net-finder came after one of several fouls deep in Wilton’s end. Houle’s free kick, from 23 yards out and straight on, traveled low and the ball got into legs near the top of the 18-yard box. It sprung free where Howard was in position and sent a low kick into the goal.
Howard, Carly Swierbut, Emma Curtis, and Kaley Meisenheimer were among the Nighthawks who combined to work the ball into Wilton’s back third and generate chances, but much of the game was spent in the middle third with Newtown struggling to get close to the goal.
“It’s a nerve-racking when a team sits in and we don’t get to play the ball over the top. That’s our strength,” Houle said.
Houle added that the game came down to a foul that proved costly for Wilton.
“We didn’t have any silly fouls. We had class and composure, and that’s what won us the game,” Houle, a captain, said.
When Wilton did pressure, the Hawks were there to block passes and shot attempts, sometimes using their heads.
“I’m super proud of everybody. Every single player wasn’t afraid to put their face in front of the ball. Every player won their individual battles. That’s what we ask every day is work hard and work for each other,” captain Cassidy Kortze said.
Newtown advances to the quarterfinal round, and will host sixth-seeded Glastonbury, in a rematch of the 2012 championship won by Newtown, on Saturday, November 11. The game is scheduled to be played at 2 pm.