REDDING — Newtown freshman Syklar Howard picked the perfect time to dish out her first career assist, and probably wouldn’t have picked a different player in the world to finish it off.
All older sister Sydney Howard had to do was place the ball in the back of an empty net with 6:08 left in the second overtime, giving the Nighthawks a 2-1 win over ND-Fairfield and back-to-back SWC championships Wednesday at Barlow High School.
The freshman-to-senior sibling connection settled a dramatic game between two evenly matched teams. Newtown dominated for much of the second half, but led for just six minutes as Toni Domingos’ penalty canceled out Hannah Daly’s corner kick that curled in.
“I usually hit the ball over the goal, so I really took my time with that and put it in the back of the net because PKs is not an option for us,” Howard said. “It’s (Skyler’s) first assist ever, she’s been playing really well in the tournament and my parents are proud. It was really awesome to see her have that assist.”
It took a decade for Nighthawks coach Marc Kenney to win his first league title, but he didn’t have to wait long for No. 2. Newtown peaked at the right time and finished its league season with just one loss at 12-1-7.
“I thought that coming into the tournament we were starting to play really well,” Kenney said. “The last three games we’ve been excellent; Notre Dame is a great team and it feels great because you always wonder when you win the first one was it a fluke? … It took us all these years to win it and it feels great to win them back-to-back.”
The Lancers didn’t know if they would be able to field a team this year due to low numbers, and a strong recruiting push including standout basketball player Yamani McCullough got the job done. It was the first appearance in the final for ND-Fairfield.
“It was a tremendous experience.” Lancers coach Wayne Mones said. “These girls have never been this far, the school has never been this far. It was great to be one of the two teams representing the league and all credit goes to the girls.”
After Newtown threatened to end the game in regulation, ND-Fairfield regained its footing to start overtime and had two chances to win the game before the Nighthawks ultimately did.
“I said to the girls that I think (Newtown) is tired because we started winning every ball (in overtime),” Mones said. “We got more energy, but then we got countered. We’ve been a counter-attack team all year; we got forward and didn’t get back.”
Newtown will now turn its attention to the stacked Class LL tournament while ND-Fairfield is the No. 7 seed in Class M.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ally McCarthy, Newtown. The defender was named tournament MVP, leading a group that yielded two goals in three tough contests.Read Full Article
“In the middle of the year if you would have said I’d be standing here I would have said you’re nuts,” Kenney said. “We went through a rough spot in the middle of the year but these guys taught me to be patient and it was going to be fine.”
“We’re beyond happy, we’re so proud,” said Daly. “I’ve just loved this season; we wanted it not only (Kenney) but each other and the town.”
NEWTOWN 2, ND-FAIRFIELD 1 (2 OT)
NEWTOWN0 1 0 1 — 2
ND-FAIRFIELD0 1 0 0 — 1
Goals: N—Hannah Daly, Sydney Howard; ND—Toni Domingos. Assists: N—Syklar Howard. Goalies: N—Juliana Stavola (3 saves); ND—Tia Pascarelli (4 saves). Records: Newtown 12-1-7, ND-Fairfield 13-3-3.