MILFORD – The last time the Lauralton Hall and Foran volleyball teams met, the match went a full five games before Foran pulled out the victory. Foran would have none of that the second time around on a night where both team played to Spike Out Alzheimer’s.
Behind the offense of Viktoria Notholt and Lauren Notholt, and the defense of Alyssa Deptulski, Foran swept the Crusaders 25-20, 25-8, 25-22 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division contest at the Edna L. Fraser Gymnasium Thursday evening.
“We have been practicing hard to get our passes in perfect position,” Viktoria Notholt said. “We wanted to prove ourselves every game. This was a big game for us. We were fighting for a cause (Alzheimer’s) tonight. It meant a lot to us to come out and play hard. We knew it was going to be a tough match.”
After the two teams battled in the opening game before Foran closed out the game with an ace by Caitlyn Parisi, the Lions dominated the second game.
Led by the play of Viktoria Notholt and Lauren Notholt on offense and the defense of Deptulski and Amanda Mendillo, the Lions cruised in the second game to win by 17 points. Kills by Lauren Notholt gave the Lions leads of 16-7, 22-7 and 24-8 as Foran went on a 9-0 run with Deptulski on the service line.
“That win in the first game kept our spirits up,” Lauren Notholt said. “The plan is to always come out and dominate. Sometimes it does not work that way. Tonight it did.”
The second game had plenty of Foran rallies and was highlighted by some stellar defensive plays to keep those rallies alive.
Mendillo’s diving dig led to a Foran point and a 10-4 lead before a diving play by Deptulski led to Lauren Notholt’s kill and a 16-7 lead.
“I thought we played very well tonight,” Foran coach Julie Johnson said after her team improved to 8-6 and qualified for the state tournament. “We played from in front. The last game we came from behind which I was happy about.”
Looking to make quick work of the Crusaders, Foran had an early lead in the third game, only to see Lauralton Hall rally to tale a 10-9 lead on an ace by Theresa Piscitelli and a 12-11 lead on a kill by Ciara Dunn.
A pair of kills by Emily Bump put the Crusaders on top 17-14, before the Lions rallied with an 11-5 run to close the match.
“I think the second game was a lack of confidence,” Lauralton Hall coach Jessica Hernandez-Alcantara said after her team fell to 6-9 with the loss. “We got challenged and we lacked confidence. We were not up to the challenge. Julie’s (Johnson) team played an excellent game. They did everything they were supposed to do.”
Trailing 19-16, Viktoria Notholt started the comeback with a block, Lauren Notholt followed with a kill and the Lions scored three more points with Mendillo on the line to take a 21-19 lead.
“I did not want to go to a fourth game,” Johnson said. “We played so good the whole game. I just did not want that fourth game. I am very happy with the way we scrapped and went at it in the last game.”
A block by Viktoria Notholt gave Foran a 24-21 lead, but Lauralton’s Erin O’Connell answered with a kill before Foran closed out the match on the next play.
Viktoria Notholt led the Foran offense with 10 kills, while Katherine Kiernan had seven kills, and Lauren Notholt finished with 17 assists, six aces and five kills.
Deptulski led the Foran defense with 19 digs, while Mendillo finished with 11 digs.