Gaelettes suffer first loss of the season (Updated)

Facing a winless Foran High team on the road back on Sept. 20, the Shelton High girls volleyball team quickly dug itself into a two-game deficit.

The Gaelettes rallied back, but the Lions picked up their first victory of the season by toppling previously-unbeaten Shelton High, 3-1, at Fraser Gymnasium.

The Lion posted a 25-19, 25-16, 16-25, 25-18 win over the Gaelettes.

“I don’t think we were here,” Shelton coach LeAnne Bianchine said of the first two games. “I don’t think we showed up until game three.”

Fallon Bevino powered Foran’s victory with 13 kills, while Abby Amann chipped in with 12 kills and seven aces.

Setter Rebekah DeRosa had 26 assists and five kills.

“We’re just happy to get our first win under our belt,” Foran coach Julie Johnson said.

“They have great hitters and their setter has great hands,” Bianchine said, noting DeRosa’s crafty push and dump shots. “I love setters like that. To me, that’s impressive stuff.”

For Shelton, Ola Szczesna notched 25 digs, Checka Testani had 25 digs and 11 kills and Emma Hanrahan added 24 digs. Nicole Beard dished out 12 assists.

After winning the first two games and dropping the third, the Lions fell behind 9-3 in the fourth game.

Prior to that, Foran (1-2) beat Sacred Heart Academy in games one and two, before the Pacers rallied back to win the final three games to maintain their undefeated record at 3-0.

Looking at a six-point deficit against Shelton in game four, Amann stepped to the service line and fired off a 4-0 run, keyed by a Bevino kill, to narrow the gap to 9-7 and leading to a Gaelette timeout.

The teams then traded points until a Lion service error and a spike through a double block at the net by Testani helped Shelton regain at 17-13.

Foran, facing the prospect of fifth game, surged back to tie the match at 17 on a shot by Amann.

Another Testani kill put Shelton momentarily back in control, but a tip shot from Bevino knotted the game at 18 and brought Amann back to the line.

The junior stepped in and delivered the Lions to victory by rattling off seven consecutive service points.

Bevino took over during the run, recording a pair of kills and sealing the victory with a block on match point.

“We wanted to show we learned something from that [Sacred Heart Academy] game,” Bevino said. “We had to do it for each other.”

The Lions came out firing on most cylinders in the first two games, using their athleticism to post the back-to-back wins.

Many of Shelton’s points came on Lion service errors, but the Gaelettes trailed for all of game one and most of game two. In turn, Shelton dealt with its own struggle from the service line.

“You can’t serve the ball out and expect to win against a team like this,” Bianchine said.

A tip by Testani and a hit by Beard got Shelton within 14-13 in the first game, but Foran closed with an 11-6 burst, capped by an Amann tip, to secure the 25-19 win.

The Gaelettes scored the first two points of the second game, but Amann, Bevino and Bryzy Gonski up front and the serving of Jess Harkness and DeRosa propelled Foran to the victory.

“The first two games, we played out of the gym,” Johnson said.

Game three was all Shelton, as the Gaelettes pulled away early.

Beard provided the passing, with Taylor Peers, Szczesna and Hanrahan digging up the Foran spikes and Testani and Alexandra Boisvert puncturing the Lion defense with shots from the middle.

The Gaelettes carried that momentum into the fourth game, but the Lions rebounded to avoid squandering another two game lead against another undefeated squad.

Shelton returns to action on Friday night, when Sacred Heat Academy visits Murray Gymnasium at 7 p.m. The Gaelettes then travel to Lyman Hall on Monday.