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Newtown girls dethrone Glastonbury to captures Class LL soccer title

Updated 4:30 pm, Monday, November 26, 2012

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  • Newtown's #3 Sarah Lynch goes to kick the tie breaking goal, during Class LL girls soccer championship action against Glastonbury in West Haven, Conn. on Friday November 23, 2012. Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post
    Newtown's #3 Sarah Lynch goes to kick the tie breaking goal, during Class LL girls soccer championship action against Glastonbury in West Haven, Conn. on Friday November 23, 2012. Photo: Christian Abraham

 

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WEST HAVEN -- She was in the right place at the right time, and when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, Sarah Lynch didn't hesitate for a second.

She didn't miss, either.

Lynch scored the go-ahead goal with just 2:58 remaining to lift the Newtown girls soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Glastonbury in the Class LL state championship game on Friday night. It's the Nighthawks' first state title since 2004.

Lynch scored off a well-placed corner kick by teammate Lydia Beiter. The ball deflected several times before settling at Lynch's feet.

"It's amazing," Lynch said. "It just kind of showed up in front of the box and I just kicked it in. You don't have any other reaction except that. It was a great corner set-up.

"We just never stopped working hard," Lynch added.

Glastonbury (19-1) was not only the unbeaten top seed and the defending Class LL state champion, it was also unscored upon in this year's state tournament, shutting out FCIAC contenders Fairfield Ludlowe, Darien and Trumbull to reach the final. In fact, the Tomahawks had allowed only two goals in the entire regular season.

"Glastonbury is an absolutely outstanding team," Newtown coach Marc Kenney said. "And I knew the longer this thing went, the more dangerous they were going to get. They're battle-tested."

Sixth-seeded Newtown (19-2-3) had only allowed one other goal in the state tournament and beat Staples, Greenwich, South Windsor and New Milford to reach the title game.

The Nighthawks' only two losses year both came against Immaculate, one in the regular season and one in the South-West Conference final.

"Winning this seems 10 times better," Lynch said.

The stellar play of the Newtown defense was key to the victory. Glastonbury had way more -- and way better -- scoring chances than Newtown, peppering Nighthawks goalkeeper Caitlin Yakush with 22 shots. The senior standout was equal to the task, however, and made 10 saves to preserve the win. She dove and swallowed up Kristen Dragotta's low shot from close range with four minutes remaining and the score tied 1-1. Moments later at the other end of the field, Lynch booted home the game-winner.

"My goalkeeper is absolutely phenomenal, and she kept us in it," Kenney said. "Truth be told, I think our defense and goalkeeping today won us this game."

Newtown took only seven shots, but made them count against Glastonbury goalkeeper Ciara Boucher, who made two saves.

"We really did a good job, in the last 10 minutes, of not settling for a tie and letting it go to overtime," Kenney said. "We were working from back to front, to make sure we had an opportunity to get a goal."

Bridget Power put Newtown on the board first, scoring on a free kick from about 35 yards out with only eight seconds remaining in the first half. Brenna Kelly had drawn the foul that led to the kick. Power drove it on goal, and Lynch was in front ready for a possible rebound or deflection. There wasn't one, however, as the ball kept rolling right into the net.

Power moved from midfield to sweeper at the beginning of the state tournament, and the move paid off.

"She's athletic, she wins balls in the air, and she has been a stalwart for us the last five games. It takes kids like that to win you this," Kenney said, pointing to the state championship plaque. "She won a state championship with the basketball team. The kid's a winner."

Glastonbury tied it with 13:20 remaining, as Eren Cosgel scored from close range after Newtown failed to clear the ball from in front of its goal.

The South-West Conference is a strong soccer conference, without a doubt, and was well-represented in these girls soccer finals, with Immaculate winning in Class S and Masuk falling in Class L. New Milford (LL) and Pomperaug (L), meanwhile, both reached the semifinals.

Class LL state final

NEWTOWN 1 1 -- 2

GLASTONBURY 0 1 -- 1

Goals: N--Bridget Power, Sarah Lynch; G--Eren Cosgel. Assists: N--Lydia Beiter; G--Michelle Woodhouse. Goalies: N--Caitlin Yakush (10 saves); G--Ciara Boucher (2 saves). Shots: N--7; G--22.