Fifth-Seeded Farmington Stops Norwalk’s Run
By Jon Chik
FARMINGTON — The Norwalk High boys soccer team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class LL state tournament last Friday night, losing 2-0 at fifth-seeded Farmington at Tunxis Mead Park.
The 13th-seeded Bears struggled to create scoring chances, producing only three shots on the night and none in the first half.
“Of course I’ll always be happy about this season,” senior captain and defender Robert Geitz said. “I just wish we could have kept it going.”
Despite being soundly outplayed in the first half, it appeared as though Norwalk may escape into halftime with the game still scoreless.
That was until Farmington got the ball deep into Bears’ territory and created a scramble in front of the Norwalk net. Norwalk initially caught a break when Farmington’s sixth shot of the night struck the crossbar, but the ball rebounded right to Farmington sophomore forward Kevin Michalak, who buried his shot for the 1-0 lead in the 36th minute.
“It was a tough goal to give up because you go into the second half with a different mentality if it’s 0-0,” Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said.
Farmington’s first half dominance was especially apparent in the shot department, which it led 8-0 after the first 40 minutes.
“The first goal is always huge because it makes the other team have to decide how hard to press,” Farmington coach Steve Waters said. “And if you press too hard, then you’re going to be caught out of position.”
In the early minutes of the second half, Norwalk attempted to get back to its possession game, but Farmington got the ball back and wasted little time extending its lead. Seemingly out of nowhere in the 44th minute, Farmington senior forward Spencer Noon gave his team the 2-0 advantage when he took a centering pass and blasted his shot to the bottom-right corner of the net just out of the reach of Norwalk junior goalkeeper Alex Hurd.
Hurd came up with four saves on the night, while Farmington senior goalkeeper Jeremy Boisture stopped all three Bears’ shots for the shutout. Hurd’s best save occurred when he fell to his left to stop Noon’s hard, close-range shot to keep the score at 2-0.
Norwalk was only able to earn one corner kick compared to three by Farmington, but neither team looked particularly dangerous on any of its opportunities.
Tunxis Mead Park’s natural grass presented a far different playing surface than that of Norwalk High’s Sam Testa turf field, which usually produces a faster terrain and true hops.
“Farmington was used to this field,” senior defender Tommy Garcia said. “We usually possess the ball well and we didn’t here tonight.”
With the win, Farmington advanced the semifinals of the state tournament for a matchup with undefeated and top-seeded Guilford.
Including both the FCIAC and state tournaments, Norwalk closes out 2008 with a record of 13-6-2, a dramatic improvement from last season’s 5-9-2 campaign.
“We had a huge turnaround this year,” Laughton said. “It’s a credit to all the hard work that was put in, especially the seniors.”
“We definitely came a long way, and hopefully it will motivate the team to do better next year,” Garcia said.
Norwalk Citizen-News – 11/14/08
Farmington ends Norwalk’s tourney run
FARMINGTON — The Norwalk High boys soccer team suffered a 2-0 setback to Farmington in the CIAC Class LL state tournament quarterfinals Friday night in Farmington.
The 13th-seeded Bears, who beat No. 20 Wilbur Cross in the first round and No. 36 Cheshire in the second round, completes their season at 13-6-2.
“I’d say Framington is the best team we’ve seen this year,” Norwalk head coach Chris laughton said. “We had a few chances, but nothing spectacular.
They’re definitely a very good team. We didn’t play as well as we could have, but to (Farmington’s) credit, they took us out of a lot of what we wanted to do.”
The fifth-seeded Indians (17-2) will play unbeaten and top-seeded Guilford (19-0) in the Class LL state semifinals Tuesday or Wednesday at a time and site to be determined. Guilford defeated No. 8 New Milford 5-3 in Thursday’s other quarterfinal.
The Indians got on the scoreboard about three minutes before halftime, then added the clinching goal 16 minutes into the second half.
Goalkeeper Alex Hurd made eight saves for Norwalk.
“Alex made a few spectacular saves, and he played a solid game,” Laughton said.
It was just the third time all season Norwalk has been shut out. The Bears dropped a 1-0 decision to Brien McMahon in the regular season and they were also blanked by FCIAC champion Staples 3-0 in the conference semifinals.
“Our three seniors — Tommy Garcia, Matt Surace and Rob Geitz — all played strong games tonight,” Laughton said. “They provided a lot of leadership this season, and for their careers. Those three helped put us in position to make a run to the state quarterfinals.”
The Hour Newspaper – 11/8/08