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.”