Girls soccer: Foran falls to Bunnell Bulldogs

Foran High’s girls soccer team, following a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the visiting Bunnell Bulldogs, at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon, has been held off the scoreboard in four straight games after registering at least one goal in the first four contests of the campaign. The Lions fell to 2-4-2, and the Bulldogs improved to 3-3-1 in this non-conference battle.

The latest shutout certainly wasn’t for lack of effort. Coach Casey Blake’s Lions registered seven shots on goal, in addition to several that missed just wide or over the top.

Natalie Henry and Monica Malangone worked a nice give-and-go, in which Henry was stopped by Bunnell goalkeeper Holly Crowther. Cassandra Zak got behind the defense and crossed into the 18-yard box and the Lions missed just high.

Emily Kwalek, Mikayla Duhaime, Carly Malesky, Hayley Byers and Cassandra Bennett were among the players who worked to maintain pressure deep in Bunnell’s end of the field at times.

“We’re combining well – we’ve just got to finish now. We’re creating opportunities; we’ve just got to put the ball in the back of the net,” Blake said.

Foran goalkeepers Maddie and Samantha Mitchell each played a half and came up with four saves apiece; including Samantha’s diving stop on Bunnell’s Alyssa Velez, who otherwise would have recorded a hat-trick.

The defense, led by Kimberly Simko, Sophie Lucas, Sabrina Morgan and Lindsey Broderick all played well to deny the Bulldogs of some scoring chances.

“I think we played pretty well. I just think Bunnell’s a good team,” Blake said.

The Lions, even after trailing 2-0 at the half, surrendering a goal less than three minutes into the second half, and trailing by four goals for the final 25-or-so minutes of the game, didn’t pack it in. They kept pushing and generating scoring chances until the final whistle.

“We don’t give up. We keep working because you never know,” said Blake, adding that good things can happen when the ball is put on goal. “We’re still working and growing as a team. I’m proud of the way the girls played.”

Morgan, one of the team’s captains, notes that the Lions have been working hard on passing to feet and switching fields with the ball. “We’re working on passing and communicating,” she said. “We’re improving.”

Blake says she’s preaching to her players: “Just come out to work hard – bring intensity whether we’re at practice or in a game. And push your teammates.”

The Lions are scheduled to get back to game action after nearly a week hiatus from game play when they host the Wilbur Cross/Hillhouse/Career team on Friday, Oct. 9, beginning at 5:45 p.m.