Girls soccer: Jonathan Law defeats Foran, 4-0
Jonathan Law girls soccer coach J.D. Rhodes was looking to give his Eagles a better shot to compete with a Daniel Hand of Madison team that had beaten them 5-0 in an earlier matchup when the SCC rivals met on Saturday.
“We changed our formation and put more numbers in the midfield. That allows us to play in their half and bottle them up a bit. It also gives our defense a chance to settle the ball more.” The result was a 0-0 draw.
Fast forward to Monday night when Law played host to Foran High. The city rivals had played to a 2-2 in the first meeting. This time it was all Eagles, who won a 4-0 decision.
Jocelyn Wirth had a goal and two assists. Paige Szygiel had a goal and an assist. Rice and Samara Thacker had the other goals. Gina DiFrederico earned the shutout in net.
“The girls were committed to our new look and played very well,” Rhodes said of his 2-9-2 Eagles. “The first time with Hand they put us back the entire eighty minutes. We switched it up on Saturday and now the girls believe they can do it.”
Rice was first to find the net for Law, as she beat Foran goaltender Maddie Mitchell to the ball on a breakaway from Wirth 10 minutes into the contest.
The Eagles kept the pressure on Foran’s backline of Sabrina Morgan, Lindsey Broderick, Kimberly Sinko and Sophie Lucas, with Thacker and Kristen Passaro and Rice pestering the Lions over the next five minutes.
Foran had the game’s first corner with 12:45 remaining in the half, with Milani Gray getting the best chance off a scramble but her shot was blocked in front.
Thacker beat two defenders on a counter before being cut off by Simko. Szygiel recovered the ball and flicked it smartly to Wirth, who centered the ball for a 2-0 lead. There was 5:25 to go in the first half.
“Law played great,” Foran head coach Casey Blake, whose team is now 4-7-2. “I asked J.D after the game, ‘How do you have one win, now two.’ We know when we play Law we have to give one hundred per cent because you know they are going to bring it.”
The second half was played evenly through the first eight minutes, with Cassondra Zak testing Law’s staunch back four of Megan Smith, Passaro, Madison Butts and Jill Davis. At the other side, Sydney Szalkiewicz and Emily Kwalek made the Lions’ Carly Maleski and Meghan Sengstacken work to clear the goal mouth.
“We went from a 4-5-1 to a 5-4-2 hoping to give us a little spark,” Blake said. “Law just had the better of the play.”
Szygiel struck for Law’s third goal off a loose ball in the box with 21:25 remaining.
“This is my last season,” said the senior. “At the end of the day, we believe we’ve played better than our record. The season hasn’t been as successful as we wanted, but tieing Hand after losing 5-0 to them was a boost to our confidence. We want to end (the season) on a positive note.”
Foran had some opportunities to cut into the deficit. A hop shot fell free in front of the net, but Wirth and Passaro promptly covered up the chance with a combination kick out of bounds in the 60th minute.
The Lions’ Monica Malangone, Hayley Byers, Zak, Kwalek, Kayla Coppola and Natalie Henry tried their best to work the sideline, but Law’s Cassidy White, Bethany Edwards, Taylor Kandrach, Kiana Walker and Morgan Macey were there to stop any shots.
Thacker took a pass from Wirth then showed off her footwork with a dazzling move that gave her space for a 10-footer for the final tally with 9:44 remaining.
Law has games at Sheehan High in Wallingford on Wednesday at 6:30 and travels to West Haven High Monday night at 7:30. Shelton High visits on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m.
Foran High needs a win and a tie in its last three matches to keep state playoff hopes alive.
“We have Lyman Hall (a 0-0 tie) Wednesday, Hand (2-0 loss) on Saturday and then Bunnell (a 4-0 loss),” Blake said. “We have the potential to do it. The girls have seen it on film. We just haven’t been consistent.”