Lions reverse course, defeat Westies 12-4

The Foran boys lacrosse team had this rematch with West Haven marked off on the calendar since, well, ever since the two teams met late in the 2013 season.

On that date, the Lions, in their first varsity campaign under coach Brian Adkins, lost to the Westies. Ultimately, that defeat kept Foran out of qualifying for the Class M state tournament. The Lions closed out with a 6-10 record, one victory short of making the postseason on their initial try.

So, when the two squads collided on May 3, at West Haven’s Ken Strong Stadium, memories were still fresh even though lots of time had passed.

After a slow start in which they trailed, 1-0, after one quarter and took way too many penalties (three), the Lions got rolling, earning a 4-2 halftime lead and eventually winning, 12-4, improving their mark to 5-1.

Senior attacker Drew Perani led the Lions’ barrage with a season-high five goals, along with an assist. Perani got help from Paul Mirmina (two goals, one assist), Will Vitelli (one goal, two assists) and Zack White (one goal, two assists).

Alex Eager added two goals, while Jon DePascale chipped in with three assists.

Foran outshot the winless 0-7 Westies, 35-20, as Lions’ goalie Josh Teller had to make seven saves. The Blue Devils’ Jimmy Bruno made 10 stops.

For West Haven, Matt Kelly had three goals, including the game’s first (at 3:34 of the opening quarter) and Justin Tuschhoff had the other.

“With everything going on in town, we’ve had two games moved to other dates off of last week and another postponed by the weather,” said Adkins, who has coached lacrosse for 18 years with other stops at West Haven and Branford High. “We’ve haven’t been able to play in a week, so I thought we were rusty and, of course, those penalties didn’t help.”

The Lions had to play down a man three times in the first 12 minutes and Kelly’s first goal, making it 1-0, came when Foran was short. Still, Foran outshot the Westies, 8-6.

Vitelli’s goal, at 2:37 of the second evened it, but when Tuschhoff netted a goal at 9:36 the Westies jumped back out in front. It would turn out to be their final advantage.

Just 11 seconds after Tuschhoff’s score, Eager beat Bruno from off the side of the net as Foran tied it for the second time.

What followed was  two goals from Perani, one at 10:07 and another at 11:15. It gave the Lions a 4-2 lead and plenty of momentum going into the second half.

“We had a motive coming into this game,” Perani said. “And that was to beat them. It’s hard to explain our slow start. I know the penalties didn’t help. We really didn’t get into the flow of the game until halfway through the second quarter.”

Perani scored his third, fourth and fifth goals in the third quarter, as Foran raced out to a 9-3 lead. His first second-half score came at the 2:53 mark. He added his fourth at 10:17 and his fifth at 11:07.

In between, Mirmina netted a goal (at 8:24) and Vitelli found the back of net at 9:33. White got his lone goal at 8:49, before Eager completed his dual-goal night at 8:21.

The Lions will visit Jonathan Law on Thursday night at 6:30.