Baxter lifts New Milford into SWC final
No. 2 New Milford advanced to face top-seeded Immaculate in the championship game on Thursday.
Midway through the second sudden-death overtime period, New Milford’s Jenna DiCandido squeezed her pass through some traffic to Baxter, who was one-on-one with the goalie.
“It all happened pretty fast,” DiCandido said. “I heard Monica calling for me. It was really intense. I think we were all a little stressed, but we came out with the win so that’s all that matters.”
Baxter’s shot was the 38th of the night for the Green Wave and it sent them to the SWC championship.
“Once you’re one-on-one with the goalie, it’s a make it or break it situation,” Baxter said. “Jen and I always connect well and we made eye contact and that’s when I knew I had to make that goal.”
Baxter also scored the go-ahead goal just 3:10 into the second half, and New Milford had a chance for the elusive insurance goal when it was awarded a penalty kick.
The shot went wide right, and Newtown’s (7-5-3) Mackenna Cerney scored on a fastbreak just 30 seconds later to tie the score at 2.
“Right now my heart is beating a mile a minute,” New Milford coach Jason Stock said. “The good thing is when you create that many (scoring chances), eventually they’ll start going in.”
Despite being outshot 38-8, Newtown came within inches of victory in the first overtime. A steal by Olivia Caplan kept the ball in New Milford territory, and Alana Murray blasted a long-range shot toward the top-left corner of the net.
It bounced off the crossbar and the Nighthawks and Green Wave kept playing.
“Oh my gosh,” Baxter said with a laugh. “That completely scared me and made me so nervous. It was a very bad moment.”
With the score tied at 2 late in regulation, Baxter also hit the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced back into play, and Newtown goalie Megan Doyle got there just in time to corral the rebound, as she and New Milford’s (11-1-3) Riley Peragine crashed hard into one another and both fell to the ground.
Doyle stood on her head from start to finish, racking up 22 saves for the Nighthawks.
“Kid’s amazing,” Newtown coach Marc Kenney said. “The kid did an amazing job. She is so cool. She really does a good job of remaining calm when everybody else is sort of spinning their heads off their shoulders, myself included.”
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