Cassidy White scores difference maker for Eagles

Cassidy White scored on a free kick in the 40th minute to give Jonathan Law a 1-0 victory over crosstown rivals Foran High at the DeVito Sports Complex on Sept. 26.

Following a hand ball on the Lions, White lined up a free kick from the right edge just outside of the 18-yard box. The freshman midfielder then lashed a low shot that beat Foran keeper Carly Pala inside the far post for the game-winning goal.

“There was a lot of pressure,” White said. “It’s very exciting.”

With the Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division victory, Law improved to 2-3-2 overall. Foran dipped to 1-5.

“Our luck against Foran the last couple of years hasn’t been very good, so to get a win here is huge for us in terms of our bid to the state tournament,” Law coach J.D. Rhode said. “That’s the biggest thing I’m taking from it.”

After White’s goal gave the Eagles a 1-0 edge with 32.4 seconds left to play in the first half, the Lions looked for the equalizer for the entire second half.

Limited to just three shots on target in the first half, Foran unleashed 12 shots at Law keeper Emily Romero. Each time, the senior keeper came up the stops, 15 total, to record the shutout.

“I was very impressed with the way the girls handled themselves after that goal,” Foran coach Casey Blake said. “Unfortunately for us, it was an unlucky goal but we didn’t cave.

“We refocused our efforts and took it up a notch. We continued to pressure and play hard and that’s all I ask of these girls, that they maintain composure and they bring it no matter what happens.”

Backed by her defenders, Mariah Root and Kristen Passaro on the outside and Bianca Stefanacci and Cassie Wasson in the middle, Romero turned back each Lions’ advance.

Foran created a slew of chances down the stretch, with Alexia Malangone nudging a header off target and Kayla Newall dragging a shot from distance wide of the frame.

With 2:17 left to play, Julianna Petrucelli took a pair of corner kicks for the Lions. After the first one deflected out off of Law, Romero snared the second corner to secure the victory.

“They started putting pressure on us and made me a little nervous,” Rhode said. “We stuck to it and worked hard for it. The girls wanted the win. You could tell they wanted it. That’s usually what happens in a rivalry. The team that wants it the most, works the hardest, and puts the most pressure on the other team is generally going to win.”

Law nearly doubled its lead with 1:15 left, but freshman forward Catie Rice was stuffed by Pala (14 saves). Pala also denied Erin Saley and Jessica Centore to keep Foran’s deficit at 1-0.

The Lions looked to establish an attack down the right wing, with senior Maggie-Marie Meyers reeling off darting runs.

With Stefanacci anchoring the middle, Law canceled out each advance.

Foran also looked for long-distance strikes, with Meyers and Monica Malangone firing away.

“I want the girls to feel comfortable out here,” Blake said of attempting shots from deep. “I want them to be relaxed.”

Defensively, Law clamped down and preserved the shutout, protecting its one-goal lead. It was the fourth time this season the Eagles did not concede a goal.

“The big difference between this year and the last couple of years is that teams are having trouble breaking us down more,” Rhode said. “We are letting in less shots and opportunities. We’re clearing good chances... It takes the pressure off of us.”

The Eagles take on Amity (5-1-1) in Woodbridge on Friday at 3:45 p.m.

Foran, which lost its fourth game in a row, travels to Wallingford to face Lyman Hall (0-6) on Friday at 3:45.

“We’ll take the positives and carry it over to the next game,” Blake said.