Jenna Bernard Law's catalyst
Jonathan Law’s Jenna Bernard may be looking for a future in occupational therapy, but, for now, her primary job is to help her Jonathan Law volleyball team make it much farther than last year in the Class M state tournament.
After an opening-game, 3-1 road loss to North Haven early last week, the Eagles hosted Trinity Catholic for the first time on Sept. 13.
And Bernard, a senior outside hitter, stepped up big time. Her 12-kill afternoon led the way as Law swept the Crusaders, 3-0, with game score wins of 25-19, 25-9 and 25-22.
Law had a 7-11 record last year and a short stay in the tourney, losing a first-round match to Stratford. This year, with an expanded schedule to 20 games, the Eagles added Trinity Catholic and Stratford.
“Our long-range goal is to get back to the states, and, hopefully, go pretty far,” said Bernard, who also plays basketball and is the starting pitcher on the softball team. “But, right now, it’s one game at a time. We needed to step up today. To get ourselves back on track and I think we did just that.”
Law struggled early in the first game and didn’t really take command until it broke away from a 15-all tie and scored three straight points for a 18-15 lead.
After that, the Crusaders, whose record fell to 1-2, never were able to get close. At one point, Law pushed its lead out to 24-17 before winning by a five-point margin.
With their passing and serving game well in place, the Eagles rolled through game two, taking command with a 10-3 lead and never looking back for the 25-9 win
Finding balance in its game, Trinity Catholic stayed close in game three. The Crusaders took leads at 10-9 and expanded it out to 15-10, before the Eagles came back.
Bernard’s kill brought Law to within one, at 16-15, but the visitors extended the margin to four, to 20-16, on a Law error.
From that point on, Law outscored their opponents, 9-2, for the win and the match.
“We had some lapses in that first game and let them back in it,” said Crusaders’ coach Chris Pucci.
“They simply took it to us in the second game, before we were able to rebound, get focused, and play well in game three.
“Our kids really enjoyed coming here today. It’s always nice when you can play someone out of your conference (Trinity is in the FCIAC).”
Elle Smyth and Megan Bates led Trinity Catholic with three kills each.
Law coach Stacy Loch is hoping that her six seniors can all show leadership qualities this year.
“Each day it needs to be somebody’s turn,” Loch said. “Today, Jenna stepped up for us. She had an amazing day. It’s probably her best day in the last two years.
“She was fired up coming in and it showed. She has a passion for sports, and always aspires to be a good player no matter what the circumstances are.
“She reminds me a lot of Meaghan Abbott (who played on high caliber teams and graduated in 2011). She also has that fierce desire to do well.”
Senior setter Colleen Bogucki had 21 assists and three kills, while Sarah Gambardella was five-of-six serving with four digs and Molly Vargo, a sophomore, had five service points and two digs.
The team’s libero, Brooke Bonetti, was seven-of-eight serving with eight digs.
Along with her 12 kills, Bernard was 23-of-24 serving with five aces. She also had three digs.
She loves the opportunity to play three sports.
“Each one prepares me for the next,” she said. “You have to budget your time well.”
Her goal is to play softball at either a Division II or a Division III college.
Bogucki had 29 assists to spark the offense, when Law defeated West Haven in a 3-2 thriller on Sept. 18.
Bonetti led the defense with 21 digs, as the Eagles improved to 3-1.
Bernard had 14 kills and Megan Gritz six aces.
Law defeated East Haven, 3-1, in an SCC road match on Sept. 26.
Bonetti had 12 digs, Bernard had six kills and four aces and Christina Macaluso had three kills.
Bogucki had 21 assists for Law when it opened its season by dropping a 3-1 decision to North Haven on Sept. 10.
Bernard had nine kills and Vargo six in the match that went 25-18, 21-25, 25-21 and 25-13 in favor of the Indians.
Law lost a 3-1 decision to Sheehan High of Wallingford on Sept. 23.