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Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team defeated Stratford and Pomperaug of Southbury in a pair of home matches this past week and, in the latter, also made efforts to help defeat breast cancer. The October 16 match with Pomperaug was the team’s annual Dig Pink match. The players wore special pink uniforms, coaches also wore pink, and proceeds and donations from the match go to the Sideout Foundation to support breast cancer research, as part of Newtown High School’s athletic program’s continued Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts.
The Nighthawks, with these home matches, sandwiched a road triumph over Weston on October 13. All three of these victories were earned in four games.
The Nighthawks defeated Pomperaug 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 28-26, 25-15), improving to 11-5 overall this fall.
Zoe Beals had four aces, 16 kills, and 14 digs; Kim Buttery had compiled 51 assists, and 13 digs; and Sarah Dowling had 12 kills
This was the third full match back on the court for Beals, one of the team’s captains, after being sidelined for a handful of matches because of injury.
“I’m so happy to be back. It’s my last season. I just want to play with the team I love,” Beals said after helping the Nighthawks defeat Stratford 3-1 (20-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-22) on October 11.
Beals had five of Newtown’s 12 team aces, and added 13 kills, and seven digs against Stratford.
“Her presence on the court is definitely felt by the girls,” Newtown Coach Tom Czaplinski said.
Against Stratford, Julia Anderson had eight kills; Buttery had seven digs, four kills, and 11 assists; Dowling logged 14 kills and five digs; Erin Mitchell recorded two aces, eight kills, and three digs; Jackie Moccio had ten digs; and Tess Mubarek had 25 digs to go along with a trio of aces.
Beals had back-to-back aces, following Anderson’s block at the net, as Newtown built a 14-9 lead in game three.
A block at the net and a spike by Mitchell, followed by Buttery faking a set and dumping the ball over for a point, helped the Hawks build a 20-14 advantage. Buttery answered a 3-0 Stratford run to slice the lead in half with a tap-over kill. After another Stratford point, Beals had a spike and an ace to make it 23-18. Following Stratford point, kills by Dowling and Mitchell put the Hawks up two games to one.
Game four featured eight ties, the last of which came at 12-12. Anderson’s kill made it 13-12 and the Hawks didn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way, although Stratford hung close. A Dowling kills and Beals ace made it 15-12. Stratford chipped away and got to within 17-16, but Newtown went on a 5-1 run for a 22-17 lead. Beals smashed a spike inside the baseline, and had another kill, as did Buttery. Stratford hung around before Dowling ended it with a hard spike.
“I think we passed pretty well and we had good energy,” Dowling said.
“They just pounded the ball,” Stratford Coach Lisa Buccieri said of the Nighthawk hitters, who helped hand a strong Stratford squad only its second defeat of the campaign.
Having the hard-hitting Beals back is a big part of the Hawks spiking the ball, but in the absence of Beals and co-captain Erin Burns, a middle hitter who is still out of the lineup, younger players — including sophomores Genevieve Murray and Annabel Terry — have stepped up and continue to contribute. Czaplinski said that the Nighthawks continue to work toward short- and long-term success on the volleyball court.
“We’re hoping to build for the future as well as get better for the SWC tournament,” the coach said.
In Newtown’s 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17) win at Weston, Beals had 19 kills and 13 digs; Buttery compiled 43 assists and three aces; and Mubarek registered 16 digs.
Newtown, beginning with a Wednesday, October 18, visit to Bunnell of Stratford, at 6:15 pm, will host Bethel on Friday, October 20, at 5:30 pm, and conclude the regular slate with a visit to East Lyme on Friday, October 27, at 6 pm.