Congratulations to your undefeated 2020 SWC North Champion Newtown Nighthawks. With 15 seniors and an entire new group of coaches we couldn’t be more proud of this team #ctbsoc pic.twitter.com/H6OAfQhDf9
— NHS Athletics (@nhsathletics) November 15, 2020
NEWTOWN — Top-seeded Newtown scored three goals off set pieces in its 4-1 victory over third-seeded New Milford in the SWC North Division boys soccer final at Blue & Gold Stadium on Saturday.
Newtown scored early in each half and finished the season with a 12-0-2 record. New Milford closed at 6-5-3, with three of the losses coming at the hands of Newtown (2-1, 4-1 in the regular season).
“We had a pregame workout this morning,” Newtown coach Ryan Lyddy said. “Coaches will say for games like this that you have to rise to the occasion. I think it is absolutely the wrong thing to say. If you have a season going like we have going, and they play the way they know how to play, they are going to win the game. That’s exactly what you saw tonight.”
Tanner Trede took a corner from Ryan Ruddy and knocked it past New Milford keeper Daniel Rizvic only 2:35 into the final. Ruddy finished with three assists off his well-placed corners.
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) November 14, 2020
“Putting in the ball, I can feel when its right coming off my foot,” Ruddy said. “Then to see someone get a head or foot on it, well the back of the net just swooshes. It is amazing.”
While Newtown dominated possession the next 10 minutes, New Milford coach Lou Pereira received stellar play from Matt DeMarte, Jeremy Petzelt, Dillon Thomas and Rizvic to turn back a five-shot attack.
Newtown led 10-0 in shots and 4-1 in corners at the break, but only 1-0 on the scoreboard.
Newtown cashed in another corner opportunity 49 seconds into the second half.
“One of the first thing coach told us is that we are going to do set pieces and we are going to be creative,” said Jack Petersen, who headed home the service from Ruddy to make the score 2-0. “We are lucky to have Ryan play those balls from the corner. He puts it in the right spot every time.
“There are new always new people on the receiving end. On the one to me, I got the goal but maybe you don’t see the screen set by Tanner Trede or miss the pick that Jake Gonski set on another. There are so many pieces (to make it work) and everyone was on board today.”
Newtown 4 – New Milford 1
Nighthawks claim the SWC North Championship! And finish the season 12-0-2!
Congrats boys! Thanks to an amazing group of seniors!
An impressive end to an impressive season!#undefeated #ctbsoc #rebuilt @GameTimeCT pic.twitter.com/Ma1PUervkv
— Newtown Boys Soccer (@nighthawkbsoc) November 14, 2020
Ruddy got the ball back on a short corner and lofted the ball into the box for Gonski, who headed it home to make it 3-0 in the 52nd minute.
Tyler DiMartino tracked down a long ball and completed Newtown’s scoring with 12:39 remaining.
Newtown keeper Connor Mandarano (2 saves) exited with 10 minutes remaining, with Chris Shaker coming on. Shaker made an outstanding save in the 73rd minute, but New Milford kept at it and Nathaniel Cramer, who was outstanding all game, lofted a horn-beating shot that found net.
Newtown conceded only five goals in the regular season, led by Mandarano in goal, Peterson at stopper, and defenseman Sam Edwards and Hunter Baillargeon.
Lyddy said: “This is one of the most special groups I’ve coached and that is saying a lot. These kids get it. They are all leaders, unselfish, and looking to help each other. One of the nicest things a coach can get at the start of the season is an email from a freshman parent saying how nice the seniors are welcoming them to the program. That sums it up right there.”
Ryan Lyddy came to Newtown after coaching at Fairfield Prep, where he compiled a 143-43-40 record in his 10 seasons from 2010-19. Prep captured seven divisional titles and won the SCC crown four times, but his teams never gave him an unbeaten season. Newtown provided that on Saturday
“The defense is led by Jack Peterson, who is an absolute beast in the back, excellent in the air.” — Newtown coach Ryan Lyddy.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ryan Ruddy had three assists off his strong left-footed corners. A senior, Ruddy was just as impactful cutting off passing lanes and generating the attack.
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