Girls soccer: Foran ties Bunnell

All season long, the strength for the Foran High girls soccer team has come off its backline defenders and from its goaltending position. That changed very little on Monday night as the Lions from the SCC battled South-West Conference opponent Bunnell of Stratford to a scoreless tie on Senior Night at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.

Foran (5-4-4) will host Jonathan Law (5-6-2) tonight at 7:45.

A closely mark first half become a much more opened up contest in the final 40 minutes. Over that span, Bunnell (6-6-3) took nine shots for a game total of 13 and the Lions had eight bringing their amount for the game up to 10.

The Lions have allowed only 12 goals. Offensively, the Lions have scored 16.

They had to hold on down the stretch, as the Bulldogs forced two corner kicks in the game's final 1:30. Both were taken by midfielder Emily Kractochwill. Each time Foran's defense and its goaltender Maddy Mitchell (six saves) stood its ground.

"I think the key for our defense lies in how well we communicate with each other," said senior Carley Malesky, who teams up in the backfield with Kim Simko, Allison May, Sophie Lucas and Rebecca Carey.

"We knew from playing them earlier this year that their offense can be explosive. We needed to come up at times and cut off that first pass in. We were constantly interpreting where the ball would go tonight. We were picking off their passes very well."

Malesky was one of nine seniors acknowledged before the game along with their parents. The others were Monica Malangone, Cassandra Zak, Simko, Samantha Hoyt, Kayla Coppola, Milani Gray, Kaly Contaras and Meghan Sengstacken.

Foran had two good opportunities to score in the second half.

Gray just missed connecting after taking a cross from Sengstaken from a few yards out. The ball was just a foot or so in front of her as she was staring at an open net to the right of Bunnell goalkeeper Holly Crowther (five saves, all in the second half).

A Malangone shot through traffic with a little under 22 minutes remaining went just wide from 20 yards out.

"We had our chances in the second half," said Foran coach Casey Blake. "I thought we worked the ball better. We were right there. All we didn't do was find the back of the net. Once the pressure was on, our defense stepped up once again. Bunnell is a very good team that plays in a very competitive conference."

The teams battled to a 1-1 tie back on Oct. 8 at Bunnell and have now drawn three consecutive times dating back to last season.

Bunnell coach Sebastian Wojdaszka thought the result was fair, considering how both teams played.

"I think we were just a little too quick on the trigger tonight," he said. "Our kids got excited and hurried shots at time. We needed to take that extra dribble or lay the ball off. But we never stopped playing for the entire game. That was pleasant to see."

The teams have already qualified for the Class L state tournament, where they could perhaps meet again.

Foran has three games left in the regular season. After the Law game, the Lions have remaining contests with Branford and at Lyman Hall of Wallingford (Monday at 6:30), teams they've already beaten this season.