Norwalk boys soccer defeats Newtown, reaches Class LL semis
By TOM EVANS
Hour Staff Writer
NORWALK — For nearly 65 minutes of the Class LL boys soccer quarterfinal contest Tuesday at Sam Testa Field, the fortunes of No. 1 Norwalk were as murky as the weather.
The Bears trailed ninth-seeded Newtown 1-0 and were having trouble getting their speed going against the bigger Nighthawks in a game that was allowed to be played in a rugged, physical style.
Norwalk finally broke through when senior Kevin Joslyn netted the equalizer with 15:11 left in regulation. Joslyn then took a feed from senior Matt Capomolla and fired a blast into the low, left corner with 3:12 remaining in the second half for a 2-1 victory, sending the Bears to the semifinals for the second year in a row.
While the date (either Friday or Saturday), site and time have yet to be determined, Norwalk (19-1-1) will take on No. 12 Stamford (14-3-2) in one semifinal in an all-FCIAC matchup later this week.
The Black Knights blanked 29th-seeded Newington 3-0 on Tuesday, and will get another shot at Norwalk after dropping a 4-2 decision on Testa Field way back on Sept. 20.
“We really didn’t connect on as many passes as we usually do,” said Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton. “I was happy with the fight the kids put up. Honestly, I think we did it to ourselves. We gave (the ball) to them. But we found a way to win.”
Norwalk had begun to show some flashes in the second half, as Joslyn sent a looping shot over the net less than two minutes in, and the Bears forced their second corner kick of the game at the 22:40 mark.
Joslyn sent a header on goal that junior goalkeeper Elijah Klorczyk saved at 21:35, and Norwalk squandered an indirect kick a couple of minutes later, but the momentum had begun to swing to the home side.
Another corner, from the left side, had senior Santiago Muriel putting the ball in play, and it found the turf among several players in front of Klorczyk (four saves).
Joslyn was one of those players, and he poked it into the twine to tie the score 1-1.
“This feels awesome, especially the fact that we came from a goal behind,” Joslyn said. “People call us a second-half team, and we’d like to think we play our best for 80 minutes, but to get two goals in the second half is incredible. They couldn’t play with us with the ball on the ground.”
Senior Patrick Riccardi nearly evened it up almost two minutes later from the right wing, but his shot skimmed off the front of the upper, left part of the crossbar and deflected harmlessly away.
Capomolla pressed down the right side and sent a pass to Joslyn, who ripped a shot past a diving Klorczyk and into the back left corner of the cage, setting off a wild celebration on the Norwalk bench.
“Whenever I have the goalie on the near post, I bend it to the far post,” Joslyn said of the game-winner. “On the first goal, it was kind of a scramble off the corner, and I got my foot on the ball.”
The Bears had to rally because junior Matthew Mossbarger found a loose ball in a scrum in front of goalkeeper Svet Kozak (eight saves) and buried a shot in the top left corner at 13:35 of the first half.
Senior Eric Fiore was alone on Kozak a minute later, but the keeper stoned Fiore with a huge save, and 35 seconds after that, Riccardi’s header off a cross by junior Logan Puleri was denied by Kozak’s punch stop over the crossbar.
That flurry was not lost on Newtown head coach Brian Neumeyer.
“I think the first goal we let in was a non-clearance, and that changed the momentum,” Neumeyer said. “For eight minutes near the end of the first half we had opportunities, several opportunities in a row after the first (goal). (A goal there) would have been the difference. We played really well, and we wish Norwalk luck. We created chances. We did want to get to the semis, but we were in the tough bracket with Norwalk.”
Laughton knew there was no panic in his team.
“With this team it’s never say die,” Laughton said. “They play to the final whistle. A few times this year we came back, even though it looked bleak at times.”
Joslyn was not surprised to hear about his team’s next opponent.
“They seem much improved,” Joslyn said of the Black Knights, who have won six of their last seven games. “It usually comes down to the FCIAC.”
© The Hour Newspaper
Norwalk rallies to beat Newtown, advance to Class LL boys soccer semifinals
By Cameron Martin
NORWALK — No. 9 Newtown played extremely well in the first half of its Class LL quarterfinal matchup against No. 1-seeded Norwalk Tuesday. But the Nighthawks’ inability to stretch their one-goal lead proved to be their undoing.
Norwalk, which has been a team of two halves lately — the first half bad, the first second half good — once again turned it on in the final 40 minutes, pulling out a come-from-behind 2-1 victory behind two goals by senior Kevin Joslyn, the second coming with just over 3 minutes left on a 30-yard blast he hooked to the right of Newtown goalie Eli Klorczyk.
“I had the plan before I shot it,” Joslyn said. “I saw the goalie kind of on his near post, so I bended it back post.”
Norwalk (19-1-1) advances to play FCAIC-rival Stamford in the Class LL semifinals today or Saturday at a site to be determined.
For Newtown (13-3-3), it was a loss defined by missed opportunities. The Nighthawks outshot the Bears 7-2 in the first half, but managed only one goal.
Matthew Mossbarger tallied the team’s lone score at 13:22 of the first half when he controlled a loose ball in front of the Norwalk net and toed it over Norwalk goalie Svet Kozak (8 saves).
Less than a minute later, Newtown’s Eric Fiore made a great run through the Norwalk defense, but Kozak came out and stoned him with a sliding save inside five feet of the near post. Soon after, Patrick Riccardi of Newtown slipped behind the Norwalk defense on a crossing pass, but his header was pushed over the goal by Kozak.
Newtown had all the momentum, but only one goal to show for it.
“We had three or four opportunities in a row early in the first half that we needed to score,” Newtown coach Bruce Neumeyer said. “That would have been the difference if we could have gotten that second one.”
Norwalk started rounding into shape in the second half. It threatened the goal with several runs, but seemed to be lacking that last pass that would free it for a good shot on goal. At 38:21, Joslyn sent a looping shot that just missed the net. At 21:09, Paul Soja of Norwalk dropped an entry pass into the Newtown box that Joslyn was able to head, but the shot landed harmlessly in Klorczyk’s hands.
Newtown retained its one-goal lead until just over 15 minutes were remaining in the match. Off a corner kick from Norwalk’s Santiago Muriel, Joslyn controlled the loose ball and pushed a touch shot past Klorczyk to tie the score 1-1.
“People like to call us a second-half team,” Joslyn said. “We’d like to be a full-game team, but it is kind of true that we’re a second-half team. The first half we came out a little slow, a little tentative. Then in the second half we managed to keep the ball on the ground. And they couldn’t play with us if we kept the ball on the ground. They had their strength in the air. So that’s what we did and we were able to move around then.”
But Newtown was no pushover in the second half, either.
With 7:39 left, Fiore dropped a great crossing shot that Nathan Kalra redirected just over goal.
“We created some chances,” Neumeyer said .”We had some great chances in the second half, too. I thought we really outplayed them in the first half. The second half was a little more even.”
The score remained knotted until Joslyn’s impressive 30-yard strike with just over three minutes left.
Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said he was happy with his team’s effort but not their performance.
“I felt like we really played poorly today. We didn’t connect on as many passes as we normally do. We gave the ball away way too easily,” Laughton said.
Norwalk 2, Newtown 1
NEWTOWN 1 0–1
NORWALK 0 2–2
Goals: Newtown: Matthew Mossbarger. Norwalk: Kevin Joslyn 2. Goalie saves: Newtown: Eli Klorczyk 6; Norwalk Svet Kozak 8.
Records: Norwalk 19-1-1,Newtown 13-3-3.
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