Girls lacrosse: Lions look to close out opponents
With 13 seniors interspersed throughout his roster, Foran High girls lacrosse coach Jack Connors has lots of options.
He can move players around, especially from the midfield and into the attack area. He obviously likes his teams depth. After five matches, however, Connors has one concern going into a hectic week that includes games with Shelton, Amity and at Stratford on Saturday at 5 p.m.
"If we're going to do well in our eleven remaining games we need to build up a lead and then hold on to it," said Connors, who's now in his fifth year. Foran played one year at the junior varsity level (2014) before going varsity the next spring.
The match at Bunnell was a perfect example.
Foran was ahead late, at 10-9, but surrendered two goals in the closing four minutes of the contest and suffered an 11-10 defeat. That leaves the locals with a 2-3 mark heading into a hectic week.
The Lions were led by junior attacker Sam O'Neill, who scored four goals.
Emily Kwalik and Mikayla Perry (both seniors) had two goals apiece. Midfielder Eva Knudsen, another senior, picked up three assists.
Connors was without his regular goalie, Shea Phelan on Saturday. She was off visiting colleges. Freshman Chloe Oliver was in net and made six saves.
"When you coach a spring sport, it's always something that you have to deal with," Connors said. "Obviously, we want our kids going off to college and springtime is when they make their visits.
Perhaps the biggest loss that Connors has had to face in 2018 was an ACL injury during a Powder Puff football game in the fall, which ended the scholastic playing career of Erin Suech. Suech was a standout on last fall's volleyball team. She would've been the teams' best defender
"Erin has been very supportive of her team," Connors said. "Even though she won't be able to play, she's at every practice and every game. It's like having another coach in the team."
In those first five games, Foran has scored 50 goals and has given up 61.
O'Neill is the team's leading scorer. She had six goals when Foran defeated West Haven, 13-12. The Lions other win was a 9-6 victory over Sacred Heart Academy.
Bunnell held a 23-17 margin over Foran in shots, as Tatiana Wright made 11 saves.
Whoever is in goal will have lots of protection in front of her. Foran defenders, all seniors, include Julia Kopstein, Madeline Mitchell, Leah Teller and Alexandra Morales.
The other seniors are goal scorers Hailey McInnis, Mikayla Perry, Haley Byars, Cassandra Bennett and Allie May.
Foran's biggest goal is to once again qualifying for the Class M state tourney. The Lions reached the second round last year before bowing out to eventual state champ Branford, 15-3. As the No. 20 seed, Foran defeated No. 13 Tolland, 12-10, in the qualifying round.
Next in order is to get a win over Jonathan Law, something that a Connors-coached team hasn't been able to do at the varsity level.
"We beat them twice as a JV team and since then, they've beaten us four straight times," Connors said. "I'm an alum of Law so beating them means a lot to me."
Foran will host the Lady Lawmen on Thursday, April 26, at 5 p.m.