Girls volleyball: Foran defeats Jonathan Law, 3-0

Foran High’s Britney Lynch (4) looks to get a spike past Law’s Shawna Winters. — David G. Whitham photos

It had all of the elements which make up a good girls high school volleyball match.

Lots of loud music filled the James Riccitelli Sr. Gym at Jonathan Law Monday night and a good crowd was on hand for the enticing rivalry between the Lady Lawmen and the Foran High Lions.

After winning 16 of 24 matches overall during the 2016 season, the Lady Lawmen had high expectations against a Foran team that was 10-10 last year. But the Lions ability to put the ball to the net and finish was way too much for Law.

The Lions swept the first of two scheduled meetings by a 3-0 margin and extended their early season winning streak to three.

Included in that trio is 3-2 win over Stamford, the defending Class LL state champs and a 3-0 blanking of Stamford’s Trinity Catholic.

Foran’s Samantha O’Neil sets the ball at net.

“I really like this team’s athleticism,” said veteran Foran coach Julie Johnson who has taken a team to a state tournament final. “Sometimes when our game isn’t quite there, we’re able to get by. We find a way to keep balls in play; to have good ball control and defend well.

“Conditioning is also going to be an important factor for this group. We saw that in our first match, the one with Stamford. It went five games and our kids still had lots of energy near the end.”

Foran topped Law on game scores of 25-20, 25-19 and 25-21. Anytime Law got close, or even after they took early leads in both games two and three, the Lions came right back.

“I like our chemistry and closeness as a team,” said senior libero Alyssa Deptulski, who led the team defensively with 12 digs. “I think we surprised ourselves with the win over Stamford and we took the energy off of that match and brought it here tonight.”

Law’s Pam Ellison makes a pass for the Lady Lawmen.

Some porous net play along with inconsistent serving hurt, Law which opened the season with a 3-0 win over West Haven on Friday.

“I’m sure our kids will bounce back from this loss,” Law coach Stacy Loch said. “I see a nice attitude among this group of players. We seemed to take that away from last year and kept it going. Our kids want to play and to get better. Rivalry games like this our always tougher mentally. I think we were a little nervous at times and the noise level definitely was high.”

Foran came out strong right from the start, taking a 10-5 lead in game one and stretched it to 17-10 before Law rallied.

The Lady Lawmen put together a three-point run late, trimming Foran’s lead to 19-16 and eventually closed to within two, at 22-20, on a kill by Olivia Keator.

But Foran closed it out, forcing two errors around a Katherine Kiernan kill (she had 14 for the night).

Down a game, Law grabbed an early lead in the second set at 4-3. Foran pulled even on a Kiernan kill and maintained a lead the rest of the way, even though Law was able to draw within two points on two occasions (12-10 and 16-14).

Foran began the third and deciding set on a dominant note, before hitting a lull after leading 19-11.

The Lady Lawmen ran off eight straight points, pulling even when Maggie Kelly blocked a Foran shot.

Two more ties followed, at 20-20 and 21-21.

Senior Erin Suech, who had 25 assists, then hit a rocket-like serve for an ace and the Lions ran off four points for the match win.

“I’m excited about this season,” Johnson said. “It’s always difficult to anticipate what your team is going to do. I think we kept the pressure on tonight. We have Amity coming up late this week. It will be another good test for us.”

Colleen Goodwin led Law with five kills while her younger sister, Erin, had three blocks.

On the defensive side, Pam Ellison, the team’s libero, had nine digs. Kelly had three kills, two assists and a block.

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