Lion spikers defeat Law

Riding the crest of a six-game winning streak, along with a second-best overall Southern Connecticut Conference 9-2 record, the Foran High girls volleyball team has entered a week in which it will take on both Mercy High from Middletown and Cheshire High. Those are the only squads to beat the Lions so far in 2014.

Meanwhile, cross-city rival Jonathan Law, at 1-10, is struggling and isn’t likely to either qualify for postseason conference or state tournament play.

So, when the two squads collided on Oct. 1, at Foran’s Edna Fraser Gymnasium in a Breast Cancer Awareness Night match, it took a strong third-set performance by the Lions’ front line to put the Eagles away.

A sound Law defense made the first two sets interesting. Foran was dominant in its demolition of Law in the third game.

“We’re like a fast-moving roller-coaster,” Foran coach Julie Johnson said after the 25-19, 25-21 and 25-13 victory.

“We’re either very, very good, or not so good. When we handle the opponents’ serve, get our service game in order and return hard shots, we’re playing to our strength. We committed way too many unforced errors in games one and two.”

Foran’s height advantage made a huge difference. Junior Kelly Hunt (5-11) led the attack with 12 kills while seniors Janae Owen (5-11) had 10 and Kayla Ellis (5-11) added eight. That’s 30 of the teams’ overall 40-plus kills for the match. Junior Sam Bennett added six spikes.

And, Foran’s service game was on target. Hunt delivered six aces, as did setter Jenna Zacarelli and Owen had four. Zacarelli had 37 assists.

“Their long service runs hurt us tonight,” said Law coach Stacy Loch, whose team is in a re-building year after losing six seniors.

“We didn’t handle that part of their game well. I thought defensively we were good. We had to deal with their height and that gave us problems as well.”

Senior Molly Vargo led Law with nine kills, 11 digs and three service aces, while Megan Gritz had a team-high 10 kills to go along with her four digs.

Setter Heather Sherrick had 20 assists and four digs.

Law fell behind by as many as eight points in the first set and was down 21-9, before rallying and going on a 10-2 run to make it a 23-19 game.

A kill by Hunt and a service ace from Zacarelli ended it and gave Foran a 25-19 victory.

Law had the lead in the second set, and, during one stretch had three straight kills from Gritz and was up by as many as six points. Foran drew even at 13-13 on a service point from Hunt. Three more deadlocks occurred before Foran was able to win, 25-21.

The third set was all Foran.

For Law to make the state tourney, it has to win 7 of 9 matches. The Eagles played host to West Haven, are at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden and have a home match on Friday against Amity.

The Foran team has been able to raise close to $3,500 over the past several seasons for the Side-Out Foundation, a national organization which supports breast cancer awareness.

“My kids have been great in that regard,” Johnson said. “They’ve always been a selfless group.”