NORTH HAVEN — Foran volleyball coach Julie Johnson is well aware her team’s success revolves around the serving and serve-receive of the squad. If Monday night was any indicator, the Lions are going to be tough to beat.
Behind the defense of Dani Kemp, the serving of Abby Amann, Janae Owen and Fallon Bevino and the setting of Bryzy Gonski, the Lions won their second straight match with a 25-11, 25-13, 25-12 decision over North Haven at North Haven High.
With the win, Foran improved to 2-1, while the Indians fell to 1-2.
“It is all about our serving and our serve-receive,” Johnson said. “I was very happy. I thought we played very well today. There are pieces we still need to work on.”
Foran’s serving was on the money in each game as a streak at the service line in each game was the deciding factor. Three consecutive aces by Bevino in the first game gave the Lions a 13-3 lead and put the Indians in a hole that was too big to climb out of.
“We definitely came out with some energy tonight,” Amann said. “We came out strong. We made some smart decisions and our passing was very good.”
Bevino closed the second game with a pair of aces and Gonski served five straight points, three on consecutive kills by Amann, for a 15-7 lead. The Lions closed the match in style as Owen served three consecutive aces for the 25-12 final in the third game.
“I think we understand each other,” Bevino said of the Lions. “We are lucky we are a close team. We have been working really hard on our passing and defense. That has been the biggest thing.”
Foran made quick work of the Indians from the start.
Three aces by Amann gave the Lions a 5-0 lead in the first game, before Bevino’s run increased the lead to 13-3. The Indians had trouble with the Foran serving all three games and could not get the offense going.
“We let a lot of balls fall in the middle and could not seem to recover,” North Haven coach Pamela Schaff said. “We could not get anything going. If you can’t pass, you can’t run your offense.”
North Haven kept the second game close early on, taking advantage of three Foran errors and a kill by Cassie Paolillo for a 5-5 tie. The Indians got no closer as Foran went on a 10-2 run to put the game away.
A kill by Paige Raucci gave Foran a 14-7 lead and an ace by Gonski increased the margin to 15-7. Paolillo’s kill cut the Foran lead to 18-12 but a kill and a block by Bevino gave Foran a 21-12 advantage.
The Indians again battled in the third game only to once again see the Lions come storming back.
A pair of aces by North Haven’s Amanda Kenny had the third game even at 5 before Foran went on a 6-2 run, highlighted by a block by Kayla Ellis and a kill by Bevino.
Two aces by Kemp increased the lead to 14-9 before the Lions capitalized on numerous North Haven mistakes to close out the match.
Gonski ran the Foran offense with 19 assists. Amann had seven kills and four aces, Owen had six aces and five kills and Bevino added five aces and three kills. Kemp was the defensive star with eight digs.
“We have a lot of leaders,” Johnson said. “We have eight seniors. They need to lead. I thought Bryzy (Gonski) did a good job. This is her first year as the primary setter and I thought she spread out the offense well.”