Guilford ousts Foran from SCC tournament
MILFORD — The sting of a bitter loss could not only be seen on the faces of the Foran volleyball players, it could be heard in the voice of coach Julie Johnson.
Coming off a 16-2 record in the regular season, the Lions had high hopes entering the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament.
A matchup with Hammonasset Division rival Guilford awaited Foran in the first round Monday night in Milford.
Those dreams of advancing, however, were squashed by an Indians’ team that has now won nine of its last 10 matches.
It was also a squad that dominated all night long at the net, constantly turning back shot after shot from the Lions who lost in three games by scores of 25-23, 25-15 and 35-33.
“I’d say in our last 11 or 12 matches, we had to come back after falling behind early,” Johnson said. “You can’t continuously do that and expect to win all the time. Guilford was the better team on our court tonight.”
Led at the net by senior Anne Snedegar and sophomore MaKenzi Gennette, the Indians were the ones who battled back throughout Game 1, never taking the lead until 23-22 when a difficult return forced an error by Foran’s Nicole Weichner.
Back-to-back kills by Snedegar resulted in the final margin.
Fired up, Guilford took an early 7-3 lead in Game 2, watched as the Lions roared back, drawing to within a point at 8-7, before they pulled away, winning by 10.
Game 3 turned into a marathon session.
Johnson substituted freely, replacing many of her starters.
Backup players like Genna Savocca, Stephany Griswold and Gabby Lungarini got their share of playing time.
“Sometimes, you just need to mix it up,” Johnson said. “Those changes were needed. We were looking for an adrenaline flow out there.”
It seemed to work.
The point separation throughout the game was never more than four. There were 11 ties from the 21-point mark on.
Guilford took its last lead at 34-33 when Snedegar’s block wasn’t returned.
The Indians won the match on the following serve which the Lions weren’t able to retrieve correctly.
“That’s ironic,” said Guilford coach Scott Ferguson, about the game’s final point. “We came in here worrying about their serving. We had trouble with it the first two times we played them.”
Foran had taken both matches. The Lions won, 3-1, on Guilford’s court back on Sept. 29 and they captured the rematch, 3-2, at Foran on Oct. 21.
“We’ve had some season so far,” Ferguson said. “We had the situation where our school was closed down because of the swine flu. It left us with having to play three matches last week. I think, however, that stretch of wins (over North Haven, Shelton and Hamden) gave us some momentum coming into this match.”
Guilford (15-4) got 13 kills from Snedegar along with 14 digs from Kellyanne Rooney and 27 assists from Annie Goodrich.
Meanwhile, Foran, which must now wait to see who it will play in the upcoming Class L tournament, got 14 kills from Weichner and nine kills from Melissa Manning. Junior setter Sage Esposito came up with 26 assists.
Guilford moved into the semifinal round where the Indians were set to take on the winner of yesterday’s match between number top-seeded Sacred Heart Academy-Hamden and eighth-seeded Cheshire, the defending champions.
“I can’t say that I like the extra day off,” Ferguson said. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a nice routine of playing just about every other day. But, I’ll take it.”