Lawmen edged Lion booters
Spirits were running about as high as you can imagine when the boys from the Jonathan Law High soccer team accepted congratulations following its 2-1 victory over city rival Foran High in Devon on Saturday.
It was really the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae for the Lawmen, who three days earlier defeated West Haven 2-1 to break a losing streak that dated back almost four years.
Law used two goals from a converted defender now playing up front in senior Ryan Dennis, and the stellar goal-keeping of senior Jack Campbell to earn the win over Foran.
“Playing against them [Foran] is always great,” Campbell said. “You have to go as hard as you can for 80 minutes. There’s no overtime, so you have to get it done in 80 minutes.”
The game, which was viewed by around 300 people, had all of the elements of a heated, cross-city clash. It had intensity. It had hard play. It had three yellow cards handed out (two against Law and one against Foran). And it certainly had enough collisions to make anybody in the auto-body business happy.
Dennis, a left-footed booter, hooked in shot off of a corner kick and past Foran’s keeper Adnan Redzepagic at the 12:54 mark of the first half.
Later he found open field, a loose ball, and used a little razzle-dazzle to score 10 minutes into the second half to make it 2-0.
Foran ran a precisely-timed pass through the middle from Alex Eager to freshman Cedrick Lingane to score at the 23:15 mark, cutting Law’s advantage to a goal.
Over the final 10 minutes, Foran moved as many as eight players forward in an attempt to get the equalizer.
Campbell, who had to sit out the game against West Haven while he was still recovering from the after-affects of a concussion, was stout in goal, as he blocked all but one of 13 shots sent his way.
First-year Law coach Donato Piselli, who’s had previous stints as the girls soccer coach at Wilton and Foran, took over a program that was in disarray.
“The biggest change has been in their attitude,” he said. “I appreciate their hard work, which goes well with their attitude. I think of these guys as my own.
“Something like this [two wins in the team’s last three games] was unheard of in the past. We’re trying to keep it in the present. And we’re just looking forward to our next game.”
Ironically, it will be against Foran on Tuesday night on the other side of town. Saturday’s match had been re-scheduled from earlier in the season.
Late in the game, the Lions were looking to get the ball from their backs (Justin Kassouf, Tyler Kasuba, Leandro Jorge and Adrian Burton) to its midfield of Julian Yuliawan, Redrigo Sapriza, Nick LaPenna and Paul Mirmina up to its up-backs, Eager and Lingane.
In all Foran took 21 shots compared to eight for Law, a near 3-to-1 margin.
“We had the possession and we definitely had the shots,” Foran coach Rick DiStefano said.
“What we couldn’t do was finish. They [Law] were solid on defense. We managed to spread the field, but we never seemed to get those clear-cut chances that we sometimes do.”
The loss dropped the Lions to 1-8-2. Law is 2-10.
“Almost none of us have experienced a win as a varsity soccer player,” said Dennis, who now has four goals. “It’s a new coach, along with some new players and the chemistry seems right. We have four games left and we’d like to get a few more wins.”
Dennis played up front on Saturday with Terrence Lewis, while Piselli used Sam DaSilva, Herbie Pritchard and Bryan Creevy in the middle with Anthony Longobardi, Collin Carollo and Craig Calderone as his deep backs.
“You could see and feel the intensity on the field all game long,” Piselli said. “It’s the whole, in-town thing.”
And, both sides get to do it again Tuesday night at 7 in Woodmont.