Eagles relish victory
The Jonathan Law girls soccer team defeated visiting Foran High, 2-0, on Sept. 24.
The SCC contest was dominated by midfield play in the first half, before coach J.D. Rhodes’ Eagles found an opening.
Taylor Kandrach controlled the ball off a throw-in and fed Paige Szygiel, who left the ball for Bethany Edwards. She created space and then split two Foran defenders, before striking a shot past Lion keeper Carly Pala.
The goal came 1:36 seconds into the second half, and Law found the net again just over three minutes later.
Emily LaLuna chipped a pass to open space for Szygiel. From there, it was a footrace to the ball and Szygiel got their half a second before Pala. The players collided and the ball had enough force to roll into the net for a 2-0 Law lead at the 35:10 mark.
“Up until this point we’ve been putting the work in, but not getting the result we wanted,” said Rhodes, whose Eagles are now 1-5-1. “The girls did everything in our game plan.”
Foran threatened late in the game, but Law keeper Amanda Leone was equal to the challenge, as she stopped a long sequence of pressure from Foran’s Monica Malangone, Emily Kwalek, Alexia Malangone and Josselin Lathuras.
The Lions had consecutive corners, their only chances of the game. But with the ball loose in the box on the second opportunity, it went off the near post and Law was awarded a goal kick.
“It was a frustrating game all around, Foran coach Casey Blake said. “I feel we are a much better than we showed. Tip your hat to Law, they played hard and executed.”
Foran had the edge in shots on goal, 18-12, but Leone was spot on.
“Amanda converted from being a field player last year for the good of the team,” Rhodes said of his senior. “Today, she was pretty much flawless.”
Leone has a young group of backs in front of the net, with juniors Megan Smith and Emma Shea and sophomores Jillian Davis and Kristen Passaro.
Pala, who had eight saves before being shaken up in the second half, counts on Alexia Malangone, Kimberly Sinko, Sydney Szalkiewicz and Meghan Sengstacken.
Both coaches pointed to their midfielders as dominating the first 40 minutes.
“Our midfield battled for all fifty-fifty balls in the first half and their play led to our chances in the second half,” Rhodes said.
Shannon Williams, LaLuna and Erica Velky, all seniors, were joined in the middle third by sophomores Bethany Edwards and Colleen Rice.
Blake turned to Kali Borden, Natalie Henry, Cassondra Zak, Monica Malangone, Mikayla Duhaime, Samantha Hoyt, Lindsay Broderick and Lathuras to counter Law’s middies.
Carly Maleski, Kayla Coppola, Milani Gray and Kwalek were Foran’s top strikers. Cori Kalafus, Szygiel, Kiana Walker and Haley Zeidlar led Law’s attack.
With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Lions’ Zak created some space and put a low roller on net, but Leone came off her line to beat Malesky to it.
Foran had another run at it, with Borden and Malesky pushing the ball to Duhaime up the sideline, but Smith came over to clear the ball at the 7:58 mark of the first half.
In the closing seconds before the break, Law’s Edwards chipped the ball to Walker in the box, but Pala caught her riser.
Law scored on its first two attempts after intermission. Samantha Mitchell came on in goal and made three saves over the final 35:10, including a fine stop on LaLuna at 31:21.
Foran had a chance to cut the Law lead in half with 22 minutes remaining, when Broderick played the ball through to Gray. She gave the ball back, and Leone bobbled Broderick’s shot, but recovered before Duhaime could get to the ball.
Coppola broke in alone midway through the half, but Leone blocked her point blank shot and got to the rebound.
Cassondra Zak scored unassisted with 28:29 remaining and Foran upended East Haven, 1-0, on Sept. 29. Foran is now 3-5-1 and East Haven 4-2-1. Carly Pala had seven saves, and the Lions had six corners to one for the Easties, who were out shot by a 15-7 margin.
Foran lost to Daniel Hand of Madison, 2-0, in SCC action on Sept. 26. The Tigers (4-1-1) scored late in the first half and early in the second. Pala had 17 saves.