Newtown United Soccer Team Captures U11 Championship With Win Over New Canaan
Sparked by a swarming defense and timely scoring, division champion Newtown United boys’ soccer team capped its fall campaign with the playoff tournament crown.
Hunter Kirkman scored twice Sunday, leading Newtown to a 4-1 victory over New Canaan in the U11 tournament championship game Sunday in Wilton. Newtown reached Sunday’s title tilt after defeating Ridgefield 5-2 in the semifinal matchup.
Hunter Kirkman netted five goals in the two tournament games, and Ethan Correia scored three times in sparking Newtown’s offensive attack. But it continued to be the defensive pressure and solid goalkeeping, that carried the squad all season, that kept the opponents in check.
In the championship game, Newtown United jumped on New Canaan early. Jeff Gioiele stole a pass from the New Canaan keeper and kicked the ball toward the net, where Ethan Correia finished with a goal, giving Newtown a 1-0 advantage. Only moments later, Hunter Kirkman slammed in a shot above the outstretched hand of the New Canaan keeper to make the score 2-0.
Defensively, Taylor Clark-Paivo, Devin Johnson, Jonathan Liberante, Jake Pare, and Matthias Paltauf kept New Canaan from gaining momentum offensively.
New Canaan opened the second half strong, however, maintaining consistent pressure and cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Newtown responded, keeping New Canaan from tying the contest.
Newtown then sealed the victory with a goal from Eli Delp midway through the second half. Hunter Kirkman then netted his second goal of the contest in the closing moments as Newtown United celebrated the championship.
Rick Irving played the entire game in goal, turning away strong shots from New Canaan’s offense, especially early in the second half.
Offensively, midfielders Justin Jarvis, Ryan Kraus, Zachary Masone, Eli Delp, Jeff Gioiele, and Constantine Kyprianou kept the pressure on the New Canaan defense, helping to keep the action in front of the New Canaan goal for the majority of the contest.
In Saturday’s semifinal contest, Ridgefield opened the scoring only moments after the opening whistle. But Hunter Kirkman, who finished with three goals in the semifinal, evened the score at 1-1. Ridgefield responded with a goal to take a 2-1 advantage before Newtown United scored four unanswered goals – two by Kirkman, two by Correia – for the victory.
Newtown once again swarmed the ball on defense, led by Taylor Clark-Paivo, Devin Johnson, Jonathan Liberante, Matthias Paltaulf and Jeff Gioiele. The team also got solid goalkeeping from Rick Irving (first half) and Gioiele.
The offensive output was also sparked by sharp midfield play and crisp passing from Kirkman, Correia, Masone, Ryan Kraus, Jake Pare, Eli Delp, Justin Jarvis, and Irving.
In the tournament, Newtown held its two opponents to just three goals.
During the regular season, Newtown not only led its division in goals scored (26) but also in goals allowed, with just seven in the seven games, including three shutouts.