Girls volleyball: Lions pulling oars in right direction

The Foran High girls volleyball team, down two sets to Daniel Hand of Madison, battled back to force a fifth game before losing 3-2 in the Edna Fraser Gymnasium on Thursday.

"This is the most I’ve seen out of the team,” Lions coach Julie Johnson said. “I’m so proud of them. This is essentially a brand new team (because of position changes).

“Almost every match I’m changing the lineup, looking to find the right combinations. The girls are competing for spots and playing hard.”

The Tigers (5-4) used its height advantage to earn wins of 25-15 and 25-11. The Lions (3-6) took a 7-2 lead in the third set, before the SCC rivals went toe-to-toe the rest of the way.

One of the lineup changes that Johnson had spoken about, sparked Foran in the third set.

Isabel Messore came off the bench to serve with game three tied at 10. A junior, Messore ran off four points, including a pair of aces, to stake the Lions to a lead.

She stayed in at the setter position, while Marguerite Collette came on as a middle hitter.

The junior had a pair of winning spikes. Her win at the net off a strong serve by Makenna Prete gave the Lions a 22-19 advantage.

Tied at 25-all, Mary Grace Weissauer served a pair of winners with the decisive point coming off a Tori Lanese pass to Jillian Montano, who set Britney Lynch to extend the match 27-25.

The fourth game followed serve, so to speak.

The Lions jumped in front and then fought off coach Ally Johnson’s Tigers, as Lynch had an ace to garner a 26-24 decision.

Prete served Foran to a 4-0 lead, with two aces and a pair of winners from Collette.

Lynch, off of sets from Montano, earned side-outs with ringing kills to maintain the lead.

Montano had a pair of points from serve, and then tipped the ball down net past a blocker to make it 24-23 Foran.

Daniel Hand won the fifth set, 15-13, with Molly Sawyer serving the final two points.

Prete had two aces to open the fifth set.

Lanese served four winners, behind the overall play of Samantha O’Neill, for an 8-7 advantage.

From the stripe, Weissauer brought the Lions back from a 12-9 deficit  before the Tigers’ Allie Nelson scored a middle block to make it 13-13.

For the Lions, Prete had six aces and three blocks. Lynch had nine kills and seven digs.