MILFORD >> Law girls soccer coach J.D. Rhode felt the hard work of his team would soon pay off. Rhode could not have been happier with the timing of those results.
Paced by second half goals from Bethany Edwards and Paige Szygiel, Law picked up its first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over cross-town rival Foran Wednesday afternoon at Jonathan Law.
“Up to this point, we have been working really hard, but not getting the results we wanted,” Rhode said after his team improved to 1-5-1. “With the rivalry with Foran, the energy level picked up. The girls executed the plan we had.”
After a scoreless first half, Law needed just 1 minute, 36 seconds to score the only goal needed in the win. Being outscored 8-0 in its last three losses, Law rallied as a ball sent by Szygiel was picked up by Edwards from 15 yards out and drilled past diving Foran goalkeeper Carly Pala to the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.
Just 3:34 later, the Eagles had a two-goal lead. With Emily LaLuna winning another battle for a loose ball, Szygiel beat a pair of Foran defenders and tapped the ball past a diving Pala for a 2-0 lead with 4:50 gone by in the second half.
“In the second half, we had some chances and we put them away,” Rhode said.
Pala was hurt on the play and was relieved in goal by Samantha Mitchell. While Mitchell was not immediately tested, the pressure was on Foran to get back in the game.
The Lions picked up their intensity when Mikayla Duhaime ripped a shot from 25 yards out which was stopped by Law goalkeeper Amanda Leone. Leone came up big a short time later when a loose ball trickled through to Milani Gray, but Leone was not to be scored upon.
“We knew it was a big game coming in,” Leone said after finishing with 17 saves. “It did not matter they had a better record. We wanted to come out with the win. This is our first win of the season and it means a lot because we worked so hard.”
Leone’s best save came with 19:30 remaining as Gray race in with the Law defense and blasted a shot which Leone punched away.
“Amanda Leone is a converted goalkeeper,” Rhode said. “She moved to goalkeeper to help our J.V. team. She is an All-State catcher and she has unbelievable hands. She had to get used to playing goal though. She was flawless out there.”
Leone then denied Duhaime with 16:10 to go to keep the Lions off the scoreboard.
“The most frustrating part is we are a much better team than we showed,” Foran coach Casey Blake said after her team fell to 2-4-1. “You have to tip your hat to Law. They were ready to play, they worked hard and they executed. We did not follow the game plan and it showed.”
The Lions continued to have scoring opportunities in the final minutes, but could not find the net. Monica Malangone shot wide to the left off a free kick and a corner kick by Malangone could not produce a scoring opportunity with 3:45 remaining.
“We like to possess the ball,” Blake said. “We need to learn to play our game no matter who we play. That is basically what it comes down to.”
Pala finished with eight saves and Mitchell had three in the loss for Foran.