NEW FAIRFIELD — This week started out rough for the New Fairfield High School field hockey team, but after suffering back-to-back losses, the Rebels finished the week on a high note Saturday night.
Emily Radovic scored two goals and Heather Clark scored one as the New Fairfield defeated South-West Conference rival Brookfield 3-0. The Rebels suffered their first two SWC losses earlier in the week, falling to Newtown on Tuesday, then dropping a one-goal heartbreaker to defending conference champion Immaculate on Thursday.
“The game against Immaculate, we were so looking forward to that game,” Radovic said. “We put so much intensity into it, but we just couldn’t pull it out in the end. They’re an amazing team. Tonight, just pulling it all together again and learning how to work together again, this is going to help us so much for the future and getting ready for the postseason. We’re so excited.”
New Fairfield out-shot Brookfield 16-2, although it wasn’t until the 24th minute that the Rebels finally to put one past Brookfield goalkeeper Natalie Rossi, who stood her ground valiantly and made 13 saves. Radovic scored off an assist from Ava Devine to break the ice.
Radovic scored on a penalty stroke less than six minutes into the second half. The stroke was awarded after a Brookfield defender cleared a ball away from the goal mouth that otherwise would have gone in. Clark then scored with less than four minutes remaining off an assist from Nanette Carello. Rebels goalkeeper Haley Fidje made two saves to seal the shutout.
It was a solid team win for the Rebels (6-3-1-0, 2-2-1-0 SWC), who picked each other up after a couple tough outings.
“We have a great bond,” Radovic said. “We always talk about how we’re sisters. We just love each other, so when we get on the field, you can see it.”
The loss was the fourth in five games for Brookfield (2-6-0-2, 0-4-0-1 SWC), although success can’t always be measured in wins and losses alone. To their credit, five of the Bobcats’ losses have been by one goal, including overtime losses to Danbury and Bethel.
“They had good energy today, they definitely did,” Brookfield coach Danielle Dolan said. “I got to put in some players that I don’t typically put in, and they showed me a lot that I haven’t really seen. It was really nice.
“We fight. We always fight,” Dolan continued. “We always give everybody a good game. They’re such a good group. They have a lot of heart.”
ON THE HORIZON
It’s hard to believe, but the SWC tournament is set to begin in less than three weeks. This year’s title is up for grabs, as it seems any of the eight qualifying teams could be poised to make a run. Immaculate entered Saturday’s action undefeated, as did last year’s runner-up, Pomperaug. However, behind them in the standings are more than a handful of teams just itching to pick them off.
“It depends who peaks at the right time,” New Fairfield coach Karen Nell said. “We certainly had our chance against Immaculate. They won on a penalty stroke. We had our opportunities and we just didn’t capitalize on them. There are a lot of teams who will have opportunities, it just depends on who steps up and gets it done.”
NEW FAIRFIELD 3, BROOKFIELD 0
BROOKFIELD 0 0 — 0
NEW FAIRFIELD 1 2 — 3
Records: Brookfield 2-6-0-2, 0-4-0-1 SWC; New Fairfield 6-3-1-0, 2-2-1-0 SWC. Scoring: 1. NF, Emily Radovic (Ava Devine) 23:35; 2. NF, Radovic (penalty stroke) 35:06; 3. NF, Heather Clark (Nanette Carello) 56:07. Shots: Bk—2; NF—16. Saves: Bk—Natalie Rossi 13; NF—Haley Fidje 2.