Volleyball: Lauralton Hall defeats Foran on Senior Night
Lauralton Hall’s Theresa Piscitelli, Maddi Marrone, Juliette Donovan and Sydney O’Neill got their collective wish answered on Wednesday when the Crusaders posted a 3-1 victory over SCC volleyball rival Foran High on Senior Night.
“These four seniors, from the first day of practice, have been there,” Lauralton Hall head coach Laura Discenza said of the quartet after her team's 25-23, 25-16, 28-30, 25-18 win. “They knew this was my first year and we were scrambling a bit. From tryouts, through every practice and every match, they have led us.
“We played Foran just a week ago (a 3-0 decision) so it was a quick turn-around. This is a great, friendly rivalry. They play club ball together and have known each other for years. You even had twin sisters (Syd O’Neill and the Lions’ Samantha O’Neill) playing.”
Coach Julie Johnson’s Lions (5-15) made the Crusaders (9-10) work.
“We played great at Daniel Hand the other night,” said Johnson, whose team defeated the Tigers 3-2. “Tonight, I think it was a little emotional being the last match. We didn’t play all that well in the first two games, and Lauralton did.
“In the third game, the girls didn’t give up and I’m very happy with that. This is a great group led by our seniors (O’Neill, Jillian Montano, Kailey Loewenberg, Makenna Prete, Britney Lynch, Megan Flanagan).
“We could not stop Theresa Piscitelli. It is hard to do.”
Piscitelli (17 kills) attacked from the outside and the back row, Her spikes — all high velocity —went deep, down the line and across the court.
Anna Farruggio (17 assists) did the setting for the Crusaders.
Also on the attack were Syd O’Neill (5 kills), Abigail Paine (4 kills), Annabella Milici, Alexandra Elliott, Hannah Gnibus and Skylar Wingate.
Marrone, at libero, was joined in the back by defensive specialists’ Donovan, Carly Allen and Caroline Fabrizio.
Foran countered up front with Lynch (6 kills), Prete, Sam O’Neill, Briana Brassell, Paige Carlson and Marguerite Collette.
Montano (17 assists) led a trio of setters, along with Madison DeBiase and Isabel Messore.
Mary Grace Weissauer was the libero, with the active Tori Lanese and Loewenberg in the back row.
Piscitelli had four service winners, including two of the Crusaders’ four aces in the 25-23 first set win.
Lanese had seven service points for the Lions, three coming on aces.
The sophomore took serve down 23-17 and led Foran to a 23-all-tie, before Piscitelli had a spike for a side out and Marrone got the winner.
In the second set, Lauralton led 13-7 after one service rotation.
Syd O’Neill then had five winners, three coming on aces, to extend the LH lead to 20-9.
The Crusaders had a 5-2 advantage in the third set when Sam O’Neill turned the game around.
She gave the Lions a 7-5 lead with five consecutive winners from the stripe, as Weissauer and Lanese kept points alive.
The action was non-stop, with one stellar playing following another.
Lauralton looked to close it out when Fabrizio had four winners, two of them aces, to take the score to 24-20.
Foran got the serve back and Montano (5 aces) kept the match alive with four winners to bring the Lions to set point at 25-24.
Each team took a one-point lead, only to give back the hammer over the next three trips to the service line.
Prete gave Foran a 30-28 win with an ace and a Crusader hitting error.
The energy carried over to the first service rotation in game four. Then LH pulled away to claim the victory.
“This is an exciting season,” Discenza said. “We got this tough win on Senior Night and now we play at East Haven (Saturday at 5 p.m.) in the SCC playoff. Our younger players have been learning from our seniors all season.”
Of note: Lauralton Hall's Lily Stockwell brought the house down with her rendition of the National Anthem.