Norwalk beats Trumbull
By STEVE GEOGHEGAN
Hour Staff Writer
NORWALK — Any good team will take advantage of scoring opportunities that are presented and the Norwalk High boys soccer team is certainly no exception.
A goal off a rebound by Santiago Mesa and a converted penalty kick by Jose Canahui, each coming in the first half, was all the Bears needed in a 2-0 victory over Trumbull on Thursday night at Testa Field.
“There were moments and glimpses where we played well,” NHS head coach Chris Laughton. “I think we were a little bit tired, a little bit flat but we found a way to win and that’s the important part. We were pretty opportunistic in the first half in terms of capitalizing on those chances.”
Norwalk (9-0-3) was coming off decisive wins over Trinity Catholic (6-0) and Harding (5-0) earlier in the week so the Bears knew the Eagles (2-7-2) would pose more of a challenge despite their less-than-stellar record.
It was a back-and-forth affair early on with Trumbull showing it came to play. The Eagles had several runs deep into the Bears’ end of the field yet had several shots go over the bar or corralled by Norwalk keeper Tyler Dalton.
Midway through the first, Norwalk started to assert itself offensively and a handball foul by Trumbull gave the Bears a direct free kick from the 40-yard line. Canahui’s lefty shot fell in front of goalie Dan Isaac who made the initial save yet couldn’t wrap it up. Loizos Karaiskos had the first crack at it and tried to head the ball in but Isaac knocked it away right to Mesa, who deposited the ball into the middle of the net, his sixth of the season, to give the Bears a 1-0 lead at 19:10.
“It gave us the energy to score more goals, to have that killer instinct,” the junior forward of the goal.
The Eagles responded off a shot by Matthew Curtis to the far post in the 23rd minute but Dalton, who had seven saves on the night, made a diving stop.
Miguel Arguta’s shot off a pass from Mesa was saved by Isaac, who finished with eight saves, in the 27th minute and a couple headers by Mesa sailed out of bounds in the 28th and 30th minutes, respectively. Trumbull didn’t back down either by making several runs into Norwalk’s end.
With time winding down in the half, the Bears had the ball in Eagles territory and George Kutrubis was brought down by a Trumbull defender, thereby resulting in a penalty kick with 33 seconds left. Canahui’s lefty shot into the bottom left corner hit the back of the net for a two-goal edge.
“That’s been the nature of our season,” said Trumbull head coach Sebastian Gangemi, who has led the Eagles to two FCIAC titles in his 10 years but whose team has struggled in 2014. “We just make stupid mistakes and have to play catch-up. We had our work cut out for us against Norwalk because they are a great team. We reacted well and hung with them but couldn’t put one in the net.”
It was Canahui’s third goal off a PK and fourth overall.
“It wasn’t our best game and we came out sloppy the first 15 minutes,” Canahui said. “We didn’t have the intensity after playing three games this week but I know we’ll pick it up.”
Even though there was no scoring in the second half, the Bears seemed to have the better of the play, dominating possession while making several runs into Trumbull territory. They fired off their fair share of shots in the second yet couldn’t find the back of the net.
“In the second half we settled in and played a lot better, creating more chances,” Laughton said. “That’s a positive we can take from today.”
Norwalk will need those positives going against Greenwich, St. Joseph and Wilton next week and Laughton said he and his team are looking forward to the challenge.