Girls lacrosse: Foran competing with veteran teams
Scoring leads of high school girls lacrosse games can never be large enough. Margins of two, three or even four goals can be erased in short periods of time. As an experienced coach, it’s something that Foran’s Jack Connors knows all too well.
His team ran into two very talented players in juniors Gabi Prisco (eight goals, two assists) and senior Amanda DiLeonardo (five goals) last Friday night under the lights at West Haven’s Ken Strong Stadium. The outcome was a 15-12 win by West Haven.
Foran had substantial leads throughout the first half, due in part to the play of Julia Astram and Eva Knudsen who teamed for seven goals (four by Astram and three by Knudsen). Both players are juniors on a team which doesn’t have a senior and is participating in only its second year of varsity play.
West Haven has had a varsity program since 1999 and its head coach, Chrystal Finelli, played in the program before becoming its head coach in 2003.
“It’s a maturation process,” Connors said following the loss which left his team with a 1-2 record. “These kids are gaining confidence with each game they play. We’ve grown as a team. Now, we need to take it all the way home. We’re beginning to realize that we can be competitive with teams whose programs are years older than ours. We can go toe-to-toe with them.”
That’s exactly what Foran did on a cool April night.
Astram scored within the game’s second minute for a 1-0 lead, before Knudsen came from behind the cage to beat West Haven goalie Nicole Gaston at the 18-minute mark.
Following Prisco’s first goal of the game at 17:55, Foran went on a scoring rampage again.
Astram got her second goal, a high shot from inside, and Sam O’Neill made it 4-1 at 14:32. Over the second half of the opening period, West Haven, with Prisco getting two more scores, trimmed Foran’s lead to 7-6 by halftime.
‘“I think we took this Foran team is little too lightly early on,” Finelli said. “They have a very good team and to consider this is only their second year of varsity play, that’s very good. We underestimated them. Our kids needed to realize that it would be more of a challenge than they initially expected.”
It was Prisco’s goal at 18:16 of the second half, which gave the Blue Devils their first lead at 9-8.
But Foran scored the next three goals, two by Knudsen and one from Taylor Wisniewski and went back on top, 11-9.
Realizing that they were in a game probably right up to the end, the Westies got the next three scores and opened up a 14-11 lead.
West Haven finished with 32 shots compar