Local roundup: NFA holds off Xavier 26-13 in football opener
Norwich — Cameron Belton returned a fumble 13 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute to play to preserve Norwich Free Academy's 26-13 season-opening football victory over Xavier on Friday night.
Xavier, which trailed 20-0 early, had battled back to make a game of things in the non-conference matchup.
Quarterback Elijah Parker threw a pair of touchdown passes that helped stake the Wildcats to a 20-0 lead in the first half, the first one a 23-yard strike to Andrew Cote and the second a 60-yard pass to Nolan Molkenthin.
Running back Damien Bleau added a 33 yard touchdown run for NFA, which plays at Fairfield Prep next week.
In other games:
• Nick Braga took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards for the score to send Valley Regional/Old Lyme on its way to a 42-6 win over Ellington. Braga also scored on a 69-yard run on the Warriors' second series and finished with 89 yards on eight carries. Jack Cox (5-of-6, 130 yards) threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Watrous to end the scoring in the first quarter, and Ryan Santos added touchdown runs of 33 and 26 yards in the second for Valley/Old Lyme. Jason Arnum added a five-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as the Warriors recorded 322 yards of offense to Ellington's 142 yards. Kicker Brian Funk was 6-for-6 on extra points.
H.S. field hockey
• Goals by Mirand Arruda and Casey Boumenot lifted Stonington to a 2-0 victory over Fitch/Ledyard in the Eastern Connecticut Conference. The game was resumed on Friday night after being suspended 24 hours earlier by lightning with the Bears leading 2-0 at halftime. Jillian Holland and Daisy Williams had assists for Stonington, which held a 14-1 edge in shot. Hailey Kestermon made six saves in goal for the Falcons while Abby Mann earned the shutout for the Bears without having to register a save.
• Olivia Tetreault recorded five digs in Old Lyme's 3-0 loss to Shoreline Conference foe Coginchaug. The Wildcats (0-2, 0-1) lost 25-12, 25-12, 25-15.
• Gloria Ng won the 200 individual medley and 100 breastroke during NFA's 97-77 non-conference loss to Windsor in the season opener. Michaela Ryan added a win in the diving competition for the Wildcats.
• Angelou Dunton had 22 kills as Coast Guard Academy earned 3-0 wins over Western Connecticut and Maine Maritime in the CGA/Conn College tournament. The Bears (6-1) are off to their best start since 2011. In the win over WCSU, Dunton had nine kills and six digs while Mary Sweet hit .750 with six kills, Bridge Boyle added eight kills, Makenna Martin had 15 assists and thre aces, and Veronica Hine had 15 digs and six aces. Dunton had 13 kills and 12 digs against Maine Maritime while Martin added 18 assists, Nikki Sefcik 16 assists and Heather Miller 15 digs.
College field hockey
• Top-ranked UConn scored the first five goals of the game en route to an 8-3 win over host UMass. Antonia Tiedtke, Svea Boker and Abby Gooderham each scored twice for the Huskies (5-0), who led 7-2 at the half. Amanda Collins also scored and had three assists as UConn outshot the Minutewomen, 27-5.
Women's college soccer
• UConn snapped out of a three-game scoreless streak in a big way by beating Mississippi, 4-3, in Fayetteville, Ark. Erin Spillane (twice), Izzy Lynch and Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky all scored for the Huskies (2-5). Randi Palacios had four saves for UConn.
• Mitchell College placed second in their own invitational tournament at Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton. Wentworth won with a stroke total of 306 and the Mariners were next with a 330. Freshman Sam Gaboury of Montville and Nick Knisel each shot rounds of 81 to lead Mitchell.
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It means even more now considering what's transpired since that March night when Quinn, a Montville High School graduate, celebrated Boston University's first Patriot League championship title that earned the program its first NCAA tournament automatic berth in nine years.
East Lyme's Rasa Kirvelevicius, now a rising junior at the Coast Guard Academy, considers herself a "learner for life" — "for me, a learning curve is the most exciting thing out there," she said.