Foran's versatile hitters too much for rival
The Foran High girls volleyball team earned a sweep of its SCC match at Jonathan Law on Sept. 25 night, but none of the games came easy.
Coach Julie Johnson’s Lions won a 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 victory over coach Stacy Loch’s Eagles at the James Richetelli Sr. Gymnasium.
The match was played in memory of Marion Liscio, grandmother to Law’s Rebecca Minihan, who recently lost her long battle with cancer.
Foran’s Breezy Gonski had 47 assists, setting up Janae Owen for 17 kills and Fallon Bevino for 16.
Law’s Jenna Bernard, Sarah Gambardella, Christina Macaluso and Megan Gritz had four kills each, while Brooke Bonetti had eight digs.
Law took a 16-13 lead in game two to force Johnson to call for time. Out of the break, Bevino had a rousing kill for a side out, and earned two more points with a tip to the middle and a spike deep, to put Foran back in front.
Bevino said, “Law is pretty good, what a different world from Hillhouse (Foran swept the Academics a match earlier. They have a crafty setter (Colleen Bogucki) and made us work.”
Loch said of her Eagles, “I do like the way we came back from the deficits, but I don’t like how we get ourselves there.”
Johnson said, “Law was scrappy and hustled. There were moments I was very pleased with our team — from passing to setting to hitting.
“But for some spurts our passing was lacking. It was an emotional game and I used our timeouts to calm them down.”
Owen was the difference maker, as Gonski took passes from Abby Amann, Dani Kemp, Kelly Hunt, Paige Raucci, Jenna Zacarelli, Kaylee Ciolino and Janie DiNatale over the course of the match and located the junior middle hitter for game-changing spikes.
“It starts with Fallon Bevino and goes from there,” Loch said of Foran. “That might be the best hitting team we will face.”
No stay on the service stripe lasted longer than three points in the first two games, and Foran rode its versatile hitters to a 15-8 lead in game one.
Law’s Molly Vargo served her team back with two aces and after a pair of side outs, Bernard’s dig off Bevino led to Bogucki setting Vargo for a kill to make it 20-18 Lions.
Foran kept it a two-point game on Ciolino’s pass and an Owen kill.
At game point, 24-23, Law’s Gritz had a save over block, Foran’s Gonski roamed far to the side to keep a spike in play, before Bevino tallied the winner with a tip to the middle of the floor.
Amann served Foran to a 4-1 lead in game two, but Law’s Minihan put three winners together to make it 9-9. Owen then hammered a kill to the middle off a perfect short set by Gonski.
Law kept fighting and took its 16-3 lead and Bevino led the Lions’ response that carried over to a 25-22 win on Hunt’s decisive spike.
The Eagles threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Lions to open game three off Gonski’s service, as the most concerted rally of the match took place.
The contentious first point finally came for Foran when — wait for it — Owen found the middle open.
Lucy Weissauer made her match debut for Foran with a winning kill to make it 2-0, Owen’s block after another long rally made it 3-0, and Gonski’s dig off a Gambardella hit led to Amann’s winning kill for a 4-0 lead.
The longest service run of the match came to an end on Bogucki’s tip over a block attempt.
It was 8-1 Foran on three Amann winners from the stripe, but a Gambardella kill earned a side out and Law began to work its way back.
Bernard had an unreturnable spike at 11-6, but DiNatale came off the bench to serve a winner before Macaluso scored for the Eagles.
After a series of side outs kept the margin at four, Law’s Vargo had a pair of service winners, but a great cross-court volley by Amann stemmed the tide at 18-14.
Law twice drew within three, and Gritz had a win at net off Vargo’s strong serve to make it 23-21.
Bevino’s next spike was returned wide and Zacarelli ended the match with an ace for the Lions.
Jenna Bernard had 7 kills and 7 aces to lead Law to a 3-0 victory over Hillhouse High of New Haven on Sept. 30.
Christina Macaluso had 6 kills and 3 aces and Kailee Frank had 2 kills for the Eagles (5-4).