Veteran squad returns from Class M semifinalists

Jonathan Law's Maddie Lula will bring her versatile play to the court when the Lady Lawmen begin the 2019 campaign with a visit to Amistad Academy on Sept. 12.

Jonathan Law's Maddie Lula will bring her versatile play to the court when the Lady Lawmen begin the 2019 campaign with a visit to Amistad Academy on Sept. 12.

David G. Whitham / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Jonathan Law head coach Stacy Loch is comforted by the fact that she has eight seniors back from a team that went 15-5 and as the No. 11 seed advanced to the Class M state semifinals.

She is ecstatic at what those upperclassmen brought with them when they returned to the court.

“They came in ready to play the first day of practice,” Loch said. “Our four captains — Emily Morey, Eden van Waveren, Katie McNellis and Eryn Mower — are awesome. More amazing is that each of our seniors (Tori Kowalski, Caroline Chesson, Katrina Jacobs, Liv Kowalski) are amazing leaders.”

The Lady Lawmen will run a 6-2 system, which will allow them six offensive options with an outside hitter, a middle hitter, a right-side hitter, a hitter from the back row, the libero in the back row, and the setter from the back row.

“Eryn Mower and Liv Kowalski gives us this option,” Loch said. “It opens up more options, and heaven forbid, in case of injury and we go to a 5-1 everyone is familiar with the setter.”

A libero has not yet been claimed by a bevy of defensive specialists.

“Pam Ellison left big shoes to fill at libero, and through our scrimmages we’ll see how it takes form,” Loch said. “We have a lot of strong defenders with Katie McNellis and Emily Morey returning, along with Caroline Chesson and Liv Kowalski, who were hitters and played some back row, and Katrina Jacobs.”

Alexia Neider and Maddie Lula lead a strong class of seven juniors.

“Alexis and Maddie and returning starters as outside hitters,” Loch said. “We have more juniors coming up to contribute as hitters with Liv Kowalski, who is very versatile, Caroline Chesson and Tori Kowalski. Ella Jambor and Molly Murray are junior setters.

“Alexis Neider and Eden van Waveren will be middle hitters. They both return with a whole year of experience.”

Law also boasts 10 sophomores and a handful of freshmen vying for positions out of the 49 candidates.

“We are basically coaching two teams, one for this year and one for the future,” said Loch, who is being assisted by Lindsey Johnston and Sandra Jacques. “When you are going to lose eight seniors, you have to prep them now to see how they will fit in next year.

“Tryouts were wonderful and heartbreaking. All the players were so excited and so supportive of each other. When we sat down to make the final roster, we each had a say and it was very difficult. It came down to the wire. You look at freshman and sophomores, and you have to project not only about today, but with what the team needs will be and when they will need it.”

Law’s home opener in the James Richetelli Sr. Gymnasium comes on Monday, Sept. 16, when Notre Dame-Fairfield visits at 6:30.

“When I let them go (at the end of the season), we have a conversation and I tell each of them what they need to work on that will help them help the team,” Loch said. “I liked how improved the girls were when they came back. II liked their increased strength and their court awareness. “

2019 Schedule

Sept. 12 — at Amistad, 5:15 p.m.

Sept. 16 — NOTRE DAME, 5 p.m.

Sept. 18 — at Hamden, 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 — at Branford, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 — LYMAN HALL, 5 p.m.

Sept. 25 — at Foran, 5 p.m.

Sept. 27 — at Lauralton Hall, 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 1 — at Mercy, 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 — AMITY, 5 p.m.

Oct. 4 — SHELTON, 5 p.m.

Oct. 7 — HAMDEN, 5 p.m.

Oct. 11 — BRANFORD, 5 p.m.

Oct. 14 — GILBERT, 6 p.m.

Oct. 16 — at Lyman Hall, 5 p.m.

Oct. 17 — LAURALTON HALL, 6 p.m.

Oct. 21 — MERCY, 6 p.m.

Oct. 23 — at Gilbert, 5:15 p.m.

Oct. 25 — at Amity, 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 28 — at Shelton, 6 p.m.

Oct. 29 — FORAN, 6 p.m.

Home games in CAPS