STATE TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP: Newtown girls soccer advances to LL quarters
NEWTOWN—The Newtown girls soccer team advanced to the Class LL quarterfinals for a second straight year an as own goal lifted the hosts past No. 9 Amity 1-0 Wednesday afternoon. The No. 8 Nighthawks will visit No. 1 Glastonbury Friday for a spot in the semis.
Sydney Howard put in a cross that deflected off the head of an Amity player for the game’s lone goal. The Nighthawks defeated the Spartans to open the season Sept. 8, and almost two months later the teams were back at Blue and Gold battling for a spot in the final eight.
“I’m ecstatic,” Nighthawks coach Marc Kenney said. “Amity is an amazing team and they really took it to us; we were able to hang on for the victory and this team in the state tournament your ability to win games is all that matters.”
Newtown (17-2-2) goalie Juliana Stavola was called upon several times in the second half to keep the game scoreless. The sophomore preserved the shutout as the Nighthawks were in the unusual position of being on their heels.
“ln the latter part of game they were all over us,” Kenney said. “They pushed people forward trying to get that equalizer; (Stavola) was amazing, she had some world class saves. It takes great goalkeeping to advance in states and she’s been one of the best players on the field for us.”
The task at hand is a difficult one now, though. Glastonbury has reached the semifinals a staggering seven seasons in a row, and rallied to beat Newtown 2-1 a year ago at the same stage. Newtown is also playing its sixth game in under two weeks between the SWC and state tournaments. The Tomahawks’ conference (CCC) does not have a tournament and they received a bye in the first round of states.
“That’s my concern, if we can recover quickly enough,” Kenney said. “We have an opportunity; the kids do whatever I ask and I like our chances. Hopefully we play well enough to win and if not I know they’ll play hard enough to win.”
Ridgefield also joined the Nighthawks in the last eight of the LL tournament as the Tigers routed South Windsor 4-0 at Tiger Hollow. In recording its second straight 4-0 win in states, Ridgefield got goals from Claire Middlebrook, Julia Bragg, Tasha Riek and Megan Klosowski.
The No. 7 Tigers (18-2-1) will host Darien in the quarterfinals on Friday after the Blue Wave upset Suffield 1-0 for a second straight season. Five FCIAC schools reached the final eight.
Pomperaug (13-4-4) reached the quarterfinals in Class L as two late goals from Emily Belval and Caitlin Lewis stunned No. 5 RHAM 2-1 on the road. The No. 12 Panthers will have one last home game this season as No. 13 Daniel Hand also advanced to Friday’s quarters.
Belval scored with six minutes left before Lewis stunned the hosts with 1:23 left in regulation. Panthers goalie Caitlin Murphy had eight saves in the win.
Immaculate easily booked its place in the final eight of the Class S tournament with a 4-0 win over East Granby. The No. 4 Mustangs (14-4-1) will host No. 12 Stafford on Friday.
No. 5 Newtown won its state tournament opener Wednesday, a 4-0 decision over Hamden. The Nighthawks will visit No. 4 Enfield, which beat Ridgefield 3-2 on a penalty corner goal with no time left on the clock.
No. 23 Immaculate claimed a first of what it hopes to be several upsets this postseason as a 2-0 win over Hale Ray booked a place in the round of 16. Quinn Guth and Tristian DiNatale scored goals for the Mustangs, who will play at the Farmington Sports Arena against St. Paul on Thursday.
No. 25 Shepaug also scored an upset Wednesday as the Spartans beat St. Bernard 1-0. Shepaug will visit No. 8 ND-Fairfield in the next round.