Girls volleyball: Foran defeats Law in well-contested match

The Foran High and Jonathan Law girls volleyball teams knew their SCC season was on the line, and that made for a great match on Saturday when the visiting Lions defeated the Lady Lawmen 3-1 in a first round conference match.

Foran’s Erin Suech had 33 assists, Katherine Kiernan 15 kills and Leah Teller nine kills. Suech also tipped home nine winners at the net.

Law was led by Madi Bucko with 16 assists, Shawna Winters 10 kills and nine digs, and Katie Eighmy six blocks, five kills.

Maggie Kelly and Olivia Kowalski played well at net and backing up blockers. Olivia Keator kept the point alive from the back row.

“I think it feels good when they play well and you play well and you come away with a victory,” said ninth-seeded Lion coach Julie Johnson, whose team will play at top-seeded Cheshire High in the quarterfinals on Monday at 6 p.m. “This is a good win for us.”

Eighth-seeded Law won the first set, 25-20.

Foran tied the match with a 25-19 win in game two and took the lead with a pulsating 26-24 game three win.

Foran took the match, 25-20, in the fourth set.

“It was a balanced match today,” Law coach Stacy Loch said. “We needed to be more consistent, but nothing can take away from how scrapy this match was played. There were great rallies on the court.”

Law’s Pam Ellison took over serve with Foran leading game three by a 23-20 margin.

A combo block from Stephanie Felag and Erin Goodwin, followed by Goodwin’s solo block, brought the Lady Lawmen within a point.

Foran won a sideout, but it took some amazing plays from both squads before the key point was decided.

Ellison and Foran’s Alyssa Deptulski, who combined gave meaning to the term defensive specialists, found creative ways to keep the ball off the floor.

The Lions’ Teller and Law’s Winters had amazing plays to keep the rally going, before Felag made a well-placed tip to the far corner.

Felag and Foran’s Teller then traded winning spikes to ties things at 24.

A service error gave Foran a 25-24 lead, and they won it when Carmen Pozo del Castillo’s serve could not be returned cleanly.

The Lions’ Catherine Weed and Kailey Loewenberg had extended runs in serve in game four, with Suech finding Kiernan in the middle for multiple winners.

The first point with Loewenberg at the stripe leading 21-19 saw the crowd again enchanted by Law’s Goodwin (net save), Ellison (dig), Winters (difficult pass) and the Lions’ Loewenberg (dig) and Teller’s kill.

After a Law timeout, Foran added winners on Suech’s kill off a Deptulski set and Britney Lynch’s aggressive attack of a short return at the net.

Law earned one more side out down 24-20, but Suech took Deptulski’s pass and set Teller in the middle for the match-clinching point.

Johnson said, “Sam O’Neill (middle hitter) rolled an ankle two matches ago and so we had to switch some players around and ask others to do more. Erin (Suech) is a great athlete and helps us both setting and hitting from the front row.

“Makenna Prete and Briana Brassell made some very important plays for us. This is a match we needed.”