Law tops Foran, fans engaged when girls volleyball rivals meet

The Jonathan Law and Foran girls’ volleyball teams, looking to put pieces in place for a successful season, each received a boost from their respective student sections when the city rivals met at the James Richetelli Sr. Gymnasium in Devon.

Law took a 2-0 lead in sets then held off Foran to win a 3-1 (25-11, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20) decision. Law improved to 2-2. Foran is 3-3.

“It was amazing,” Law coach Stacy Loch said of having the fans back and becoming more involved as the match went on. “I don’t think this place was as packed as it was tonight in recent pre-COVID seasons. The team fed off the support.”

Grace Kantor opened the match with a 10-point stay in serve, as Law won the first game 25-11.

“It wasn’t so much the early lead, it was the confidence that we gained from it,” Loch said.

Paige Jolley (10 digs), Samantha Chy (7 digs), Hailey Boyle and Sydney Simpson kept points alive for Law. That allowed Avery Fitzgerald room to roam so Kantor (25 assists) could find the senior for one of her 15 kills.

With Law junior Nicolina Salanto (10 kills) outplaying her experience at middle hitter, the second set was headed in the same direction after Kanter’s five-point run made it 21-15.

Foran, with Ava Steigbigel in serve, fought off four set points. It lost 25-21 but took that momentum gained into the third game.

The next two sets, filled with twists and turns, brought the best out of those in attendance.

“The crowd was electric,” Foran coach Julie Johnson said. “This was a mid-week game, but the students were there. You could feel the energy coming from the stands. I told my kids that no one was playing well for us in that first game. I told them they would get better and that is what happened for us.”

Foran, whose service woes hindered it in game one, started to extend its opportunities. Tori Matula (11 digs), Ava Deitelbaum (4 digs), Arezoo Ghazagh and Morgan Viesselman were equally adept at digging up potential winners.

Steigbigel began to hammer home undiggable spikes. Foran held a small lead throughout much of the third set, with Gracie Brooks, Viesselman and Isabella Valentin adding to the attack.

Foran’s Ava Deitelbaum served five winners, points coming off an Emma Jani block and a Veisselman bump, and Law took time out down 21-13. Ashley Borecki won a side out point at the net, and Salanto had a crowd-pleasing spike to an open center to close the gap

It was 24-18 when Foran’s Viesselman and Jani doubled up to block a kill attempt. Viesselman’s kill gave Foran the 25-18 win.

It was Law taking the early lead in the fourth set with Fitzgerald notching two kills. Borecki’s spike to the far corner and Simpson’s bump to an open spot made it 6-2.

Jani’s second block keyed Steigbigel’s six-point service run, and it was 11-8 Foran.

The crowd responded to long rallies that led to five deadlocks down the stretch.

Foran’s Chloe Nittoly put a four-point run together starting at 17-all. Borecki’s bump earned a side out,

Down 20-18, Fitzgerald stepped to the stripe and never left. She served the match’s last seven points, each one strongly contested.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354