Bears open season with win over St. Joe’s
By STEVE GEOGHEGAN
Hour Staff Writer
NORWALK – The Norwalk High boys soccer team is a work in progress. Still if Wednesday night’s performance is any indication of the type of performances the Bears will turn in game in and game out, then they still should be considered among the top programs in the FCIAC. Thanks to Mike Broncati’s two first half goals, and two more scores in the second, Norwalk came away with an impressive 4-1 victory over the Cadets in the season opener for both teams at Testa Field. NHS head coach Chris Laughton admitted his squad will have some growing pains, especially after graduating a good amount of talented seniors from last year’s 15-4 team, but Wednesday’s win was a step in the right direction.
“We’re going to continue to get better every game,” he said. ” I think that’s really what we just have to keep in mind; the end goal and what we need to do in between to get to that point.”
The Bears kept the pressure on St. Joseph early and eight minutes into the game, they came away with a score. Norwalk had a long ball played in and Kevin Joslyn was able to head the ball into the penalty area where Broncati slipped through the defense and buried a shot into the bottom corner of the net, near post, for a 1- 0 lead at 7:32 into the contest.
The Cadets would answer, however, seven minutes later. Matt DiCariano took the ball down the right sideline. He crossed it to Chris Farens, who put it past a charging goalie Svet Kozak into the bottom middle of the net for a 1-1 tie at 15:06. “I was happy with how we competed against them (Norwalk),” St. Joseph fourth-year coach Steve Waizenegger said. “They are a quality side and everyone is picking Norwalk. We made an early mistake which resulted in a goal but we fought back. That might’ve put a scare in them but they aren’t going to get rattled.”
Norwalk held the Cadets in check from there, and the rest of the way as it turned out, and five minutes later, at 20:46, Broncati struck again. A long goal kick by Kozak was played up field and with St. Joseph in transition, Broncati got through the defense untouched and planted another shot into the bottom middle of the net for a 2-1 lead.
“My teammates really helped me tonight,” Broncati said. “We played well in the first half. We’ve been training hard and we possessed the ball well. We’re taking steps in the right direction.
“We’re happy (with the win) but we know we have a lot of games and a lot of practices to go,” he added. “We’re going to keep working hard and hopefully keep winning.”
In the second half, Norwalk stepped up its play and tacked on two more goals while thoroughly shutting down the Cadets attack.
Chris Puente scored 3:22 into the half as he blasted a shot into the top left corner of the net, far post, from 25 yards out, off an assist from Ignacio Navarro. The scoring on the team’s fourth goal, at 54:09, came from Navarro off an assist by Puente.
Norwalk finished with 10 shots on goal and four corner kicks while St. Joseph had five shots on goal and two corners. Kozak made four saves and his counterpart, Paul Monks, had six saves.
“Any team, at the beginning of the year, isn’t going to be where it wants to be,” Laughton said. “We’ll continue to work and try to get better every day. There’s some good things that happened today and there’s still some things we need to improve on but any time you get to start the season with a win, it’s always a good thing.”
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