Battle of unbeatens goes to Mercy High
The Foran High girls’ volleyball was unable to use its height advantage to the fullest on Sept. 15, as the Lions saw a season-opening three-match win streak snapped by Mercy of Middletown, 3-1, at the Edna Fraser Gym.
The Tigers, who improved to 3-0, won on set scores of 25-22, 23-25, 26-24, 25-21.
“We’re young, very young,” said Foran coach Julie Johnson. “So I could see a little inconsistency tonight. We had spots where we played well, real well. Other times, we weren’t so good. Mistakes hurt us at times. We’ll need to learn from that.”
The Lions started out well, taking an early lead in the first set, but fell behind at 5-4 and trailed 17-11 before a late-game rally drew them back to lose by three points.
Down a set, the Lions put together their best effort of the night in the second game.
They led 13-12 before the Tigers went on a 6-2 run to take an 18-15 margin. Foran, however, kept plugging away.
The Lions pulled even at 22-22 but lost the lead, 23-22. They went even on Janae Owens’ kill (one of eight she had in the match) and finished the game by forcing a Mercy error and getting an service ace from Michelle Ciolino.
The third set turned into one of the best of the night. Mercy led early, but the Lions stayed with them forcing six ties, the last at 14-14, before scoring a pair of points for a 16-14 lead.
Four more ties followed until Mercy pulled ahead, 24-22, on a service error by the Lions and a point off of a net shot by the Tigers’ Amy Boyle.
Foran was able to draw it even one more time, at 24-24, before Mercy won 26-24.
The point separation in the fourth and final set was never more than three points right through a 23-20 lead by Mercy. The Tigers then reeled off three of the game’s final four points creating a four-point margin.
“We knew from the start that we’d be height challenged,” said Mercy coach Sarah Kelley, now in her fourth season. “I’m constantly telling my players that they don’t always have to hit the ball hard. We we’re able to move it around pretty well and find the holes in their defense.”
Mercy went 18-4 in 2013 reaching the quarter-final round of the Class LL state tourney.
Foran received nine kills from Kayla Ellis, while Kelly Hunt and Ciolino had four service aces each and Hunt had 14 kills. Setter Jenna Zacarelli had 37 assists.
For Mercy, Shy Williams had 17 kills, with Fran Basadonna contributing 12 digs and Maddie Kumm had 33 assists
Foran defeated Shelton High, 3-1, in its season opener. Jenna Zacarelli had 53 assists. Kayla Ellis had 20 kills and Janae Owen 16 kills in the 24-26, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 victory.
Foran High next defeated Lauralton Hall, 3-0. Zacarelli had 27 assists and six aces. Ellis had 11 kills and Hunt eight kills in the 26-24, 25-17, 25-12 victory.
Alex Moleski had six aces for the Crusaders.
Hunt had 10 kills and Ellis nine kills and five aces in a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden.
Zacarelli had 28 assists and Hunt a pair of aces.