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North Haven took its first loss of the season on Oct. 4, dropping a 21-6 decision at Hand in Madison in an SCC interdivision contest. The Indians-who entered the week ranked No. 5 in The Day of New London Top 10 coaches' poll and were 8th in the New Haven Register Top 10-dropped to 3-1 on the campaign.
Hand (3-1) took the game's opening possession and went 71 yards for a touchdown on a 19-yard scoring strike. North Haven's defense then held the Tigers without a first down until the second half, although Hand used a 35-yard interception return to take a 14-0 lead into halftime. Meanwhile, the Indians' offense had success moving the ball into Tigers' territory in the first half, but punted twice and also turned over the ball on downs.
Hand then made it 21-0 with four minutes to go in the third quarter on a 6-yard TD pass. The Indians got on the board with eight minutes left in the game on senior quarterback Mike Halloran's 10-yard scoring rush that capped off an 18-play, 92-yard drive. There was a bad snap on the extra point attempt and the game ended 21-6 in favor of Hand.
Halloran ran 18 times for 75 yards to lead the Indians, fellow senior Ethan Suraci had 65 yards on 19 carries, and sophomore Mike Montano rushed nine times for 30.
"You have to be prepared for the environment of the Surf Club and play with the same energy, if not more, than Hand. They came out fast as we expected and we had trouble at times playing with the same energy that they did," Coach Anthony Sagnella said. "I thought our defense played very well at the line of scrimmage and our offense moved the ball, but we did not capitalize in the red zone and we hurt ourselves by not getting some critical first downs on some third downs."
North Haven now gets ready for its next game at home against Sheehan at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11. The Titans are 2-2 and lost a 28-27 overtime contest to Cheshire last week.
"It's imperative that we bounce back after this loss. We have to learn from it and become a better football team," Sagnella said. "Our kids have to choose how they respond and I believe they will respond the correct way. We have to learn from our mistakes and grow."
Girls' Swimming and Diving
North Haven recorded two wins by prevailing at Law 106-71 and then earning an 87-69 home victory against East Haven.
Against Law, junior Julia Gambardella swam 5:46.61 to make states in the 500 freestyle, junior Olivia Marinelli went 1:08.64 in the 100 freestyle, and freshman Callyn Priebe posted a time of 1:18.22 in the 100 free, all of which were season-best times.
In the East Haven meet, which marked the Indians' annual Pink Game to support breast cancer awareness, season-best marks were put forth by sophomore Haley Cochrane in the 200 IM (2:44.73), freshman Lauren Spencer in the 500 free (5:41.65), junior Emma Dzialo in the 100 backstroke (1:09 to make states), senior Morgan Dietter in the backstroke (1:08.77), senior Marie Facin in the diving (167.15 and still undefeated), freshman Molly Duffy in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.51 to make states), Priebe in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.60 to qualify for states), and senior Alyssa Laydon in the 100 breaststroke (1:17 to make states) for North Haven (3-4).
Boys' Cross Country
The Indians swept a home tri-meet at Wharton Brook State Park last week, defeating Shelton 26-30 and division opponent Career 15-50.
Ryan Brennan finished in second place overall by running a time of 16:04 with Jesse Morrow in third at 16:18 and Nick Crispi in fourth (17:06). Right behind them were Nick Sbabo (12th, 18:52), Michael Rich-Fiondella (16th, 19:20), and Andrew Amuro (17th, 19:26). Also traversing the course for North Haven (7-1, 2-0) were Ben Papsun (19th, 20:21), Antonio DelVecchio (20th, 20:02), Josh Bryson (23rd, 20:16), Jordan Tong (25th, 20:27), Forrest King (26th, 20:21), and Shane Brennan (28th, 20:37).
"This year, the boys' team is having a very good season," Coach Carl Jackson said. "Every meet, there is a strong desire to succeed. Every runner is trying to better his time from the previous meet. This team is one of the best group of competitors I have coached."
Girls' Cross Country
North Haven split a home tri-meet on Oct. 1, defeating Oronoque opponent Career 15-50 while taking a 22-33 defeat to Shelton.
Dawn Hubbell was the first-place finisher at Wharton Brook State Park by running a time of 20:24 for the Indians (5-3, 2-0). She was followed by Erica Salvo in sixth at 21:53, along with Hillary Hoyt (14th, 23:44), Olivia Hoyt (15th, 23:45), Elizabeth Stern (17th, 23:51), Maily Tran (18th, 23:57), and Reaghan Bathrick (19th, 24:02). Additionally competing were Connie Tao (25th, 25:15), Arianna DelVecchio (32nd, 26:06), Sydney Brooks (34th, 27:00), Julia Oppramolla (37th, 27:18), Stephanie Meyers (39th, 27:45), Tori Adinolfi (41st, 27:47), Maia Annuziata (47th, 29:52), Jai Cai (49th, 30:13), and Lauren Pinto (50th, 30:53.)
"The girls' team is having a good season," said Coach Carl Jackson. "We are getting contributions from both first-year runners and return runners. I am very happy with the contributions to date."
North Haven took a 3-0 home defeat against Branford and then lost at Cheshire 3-2.
Senior captain goalie Zach Tabak was Player of the Game for North Haven (4-4-1, 3-1) by making some incredible saves throughout the Branford game, including three on breakaways. Coach Federico Fiondella was pleased to see Yuri Panferov and Graham Munson return from injury in what he called "an extremely tough loss."
"The game was very tight for about 55 minutes and then we gave up some soft goals on corner kicks, which is usually one of our strengths. As I explained to the team at halftime, we had many chances to score and did not put them away. Branford kept attacking and eventually scored," Fiondella said. "The score is deceiving. The game went back and forth, but unfortunately, for a 10-minute period of time during the second half, we lacked mental focus and allowed Branford to get the best of us. We have to perform better in these important matches. The division is still in our grasp, but now we have to beat Branford away, which is a difficult task, and also make certain not to lose points against East Haven, Cross, and Career. However, in the game of soccer, anything is possible and I believe in this team. They are one of the most enjoyable groups that I have ever coached and I know they will improve the second time against Branford [which is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17]."
North Haven took a 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-18) loss to Branford and then a 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-23) defeat against Foran to drop to 3-7 on the campaign.
Against Branford, Amanda Kenny had six kills with four blocks and three aces and Morgan Schaff tallied 18 assists with two aces and four digs.
In the Foran match, Schaff went 13-for-13 serving with two aces and 14 assists, Meg Falkowski posted six kills and an ace, Sharmein Rodriguez served 10-for-10 with two aces, and Kenny had six kills with three blocks.
"I was pleased that, as a team, we played much better against Foran this time around," said Coach Pam Schaff. "Improved passing allowed us to get our offense going, which we will need to continue to do as our season progresses."