Another city rivalry taking shape

A sense of joy and a early feeling of free-spirited energy enveloped both benches April 16, when the junior varsity girls lacrosse teams at Foran High and Jonathan Law squared off at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.

Match-ups between the two schools are always big. Rivalries have been developed and nurtured over the years.

On this cold day, with wind gusts making the air temperature much colder than what the sun was trying to generate, history was made again — a first-time game in yet another sport was unfolding.

Foran, with four goals from Julia Astram and another two from Gabby Vitelli, went on for an 8-3 victory, giving the Lions the initial edge in a series which will build as the two schools go to varsity status in 2015.

The Lions got the better of play throughout the 50-minute match, doubling their opponents shot total (25-13).

Foran turned a 3-1 halftime lead into the final score with a strong second-half effort.

“We’re doing this with a team made up of lots of freshman,” said Foran head coach Jack Connors, a chemistry teacher at the school, who also coaches the Milford Mustangs in the city’s youth program. “I told my kids that we’re making history here; that every program has a start and builds from that point.

“Look at the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. They weren’t big winners at the start. Then they became national champions. We’ll work this program along this year, so that we can turn it into a varsity program in 2015.”

Both Astram and Vitelli are players from which Connors has a good base to work with.

“Julia does so many things well,” Connors said. “She moves well by herself; passes the ball well, and drives well to the net. Gabby comes from an athletic family and she’s a competitor.”

On the other side of the field, Law first-year coach Jessica Shaw, a recent Southern Connecticut State University graduate who learned her lacrosse while playing at Beverly High School in Massachusetts, had several observations of her own to make.

“This was an exciting day for us,” she said. “My kids were pumped up and I thought, overall, we played well.

“After all, we’re starting from scratch here. Most of them are still figuring the game out. One good point is a have some athletes and a deep bench (39 girls came out for the team).

“Teaching the basics will be vital this year so that we’ll be able to make a smooth transition over to the varsity level for next year. These kids need to understand the game completely by then.”

Law received single goals from Zoey Taylor, Catie Rice and Molly Vargo.

The rivals meet again at Foran High, today at 4:30.