Torres leads Bears to victory over Stamford
Norwalk’s speedy sophomore striker connected for three goals in the win
By MIKE MADAR – Hour Correspondent
NORWALK — Sophomore striker Andres Torres scored a hat trick as the Norwalk boys soccer team jumped out to a three-goal lead and held off Stamford, 4-2, at Testa Field Wednesday.
Torres scored two goals in the first half and another to start the second giving the Bears a 3-0 advantage. Stamford closed within 3-2 on goals by Johnny Clara and John Gomez, but the Bears put the game away when Matt Surace found the back of the net with less than six minutes to play. Norwalk improved to 8-2-1 overall and in the FCIAC while Stamford fell to 3-7.
In the game’s 15th minute, Torres scored his first goal as he ran down a Spencer Jacoby pass. From the left side Torres beat Black Knights keeper Jose Santillan (12 saves) for a 1-0 Bears lead.
“They gave me a lot of space compared to the last few games,” Torres said. “I’ve had two guys marking me and always one guy following me. When they give me a chance, I’ll put them in.”
Just less than six minutes later Torres struck again, doubling the Norwalk lead.
On his second goal, the Norwalk defense cleared a Stamford pass high and hard down the middle of the field. After a failed header attempt by both teams, the ball bounced over the Black Knights defense right onto the foot of a streaking Torres. As he usually does, Torres buried the opportunity inside the far post.
“He has the speed, intensity and drive,” Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton said. “And he has a knack of finding the back of the net.”
Late in the first half Santillan kept Stamford in the game with a few remarkable saves, but that all changed early in the second half when Torres finished off his hat trick on a great individual effort from the top of the box.
“He’s a good player and those types of guys are going to have their games,” Stamford head coach Mario Caminiti said. “It’s hard to guard a player like him because it takes you out of your game.”
With Norwalk seemingly in control, Stamford would not go quietly as Clara scored in the 50th minute. Talented junior midfielder C.J. Lyle created space on the play and fed Clara who scored on a funny bounce and deflection.
A few minutes later, Stamford cut the Bears lead to one when Gomez gathered a loose ball in the box and beat Norwalk keeper Alex Hurd (three saves).
“We needed to play with purpose and more physical,” Caminiti said of the first half. “We lacked the intensity we needed but we did a pretty good job coming back.”
With its lead suddenly cut to one Norwalk began to play with an urgency that was lacking for most of the second half.
“We came out flat and lacked the effort and intensity we needed,” Laughton said. “But we pulled together and finished the game. It shouldn’t take two goals to wake us up but hopefully we learned our lesson.”
Jacoby nearly put the game away with 14:30 to go, but a remarkable save by Santillan kept the Black Knights hopes alive. Less then a minute later Torres nearly scored his forth goal but his shot banged off the bar and the goal line before bouncing harmlessly away.
The Bears finally were able to score the back breaker when Surace, facing away from the Stamford goal with four defenders around him, was able to turn and score to seal the victory with 5:42 remaining.
With its terrific start, Laughton believes his team could go a long way in November.
“The sky is the limit for this team,” Laughton said. “We have the potential and the drive, it’s just a matter of whether we can do it game in and game out.”
Norwalk returns to action Friday when it plays host to Bridgeport Central.
The Hour Newspaper – 10/9/08
Torrid Torres: Norwalk striker nets 3 in win over Stamford
By Emery Fimer
Staff Writer – The Advocate
NORWALK – He is only a sophomore but 10 games into the 2008 boys soccer season Norwalk High School’s Andres Torres is no longer the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s best kept secret.
“He is,” Stamford High defender Michael Summa said Wednesday, “everything that we heard he was.”
As expected, Summa and his fellow Black Knight fullbacks were pushed to the limit Wednesday at Norwalk’s Testa Field. They knew trying to contain the Norwalk forward would be a difficult task and, sure enough, barely halfway through the first half Torres had scored two goals.
Torres, looking as physically strong as he is fast, would eventually finish the game with three goals, coming close to getting four or five, as the Bears continued their surge toward the top of the FCIAC with a 4-2 victory.
“His speed and intensity and his drive to put the ball in the back of the net make him so good,” Norwalk’s second-year head coach Chris Laughton said. “He wasn’t going to let anyone get in his way today.”
Torres scored from 10 yards out barely 15 minutes into the game, and then five minutes later added another terrific solo effort, ending a breakaway with a strong shot past SHS goalkeeper Jose Santillan, who finished with 12 saves.
Torres also scored 5:24 into the second half with another great individual effort. He had Stamford defender Kevin Valverde all over him as he streaked down the left side but managed to get off a strong shot to give the Bears (8-2-1) a 3-0 led.
The hat trick gave Torres 14 goals in 11 games this season.
“I just work as hard as I can and go for the ball,” Torres said. “If you want the ball, you go get it.”
Stamford (3-7), coming off a strong 5-0 win over Trinity Catholic on Monday, might have been able to avoid the loss had it done a better job on Torres. Stamford scored twice within eight minutes in the second half to cut the deficit to 3-2 but the comeback fell short.
“Torres is a good player and good players are going to have their games,” Stamford head coach Mario Caminiti said. “We had to minimize his touches today but with good players, it’s hard to take away their game.”
Torres’ bid for a fourth goal hit the crossbar with 13:30 remaining in the game, and one minute later he just missed wide-left on a shot from the right side of the Stamford goal.
“Andres is the type of player who can change the game,” Laughton said. “And he’s fortunate he’s got players around him who can get him the ball.”
Torres was aided by the strong play of forwards and midfielders Chris Puente, Jake Zuniga, Willy Arbieto, Matt Surace and Spencer Jacoby who helped give Norwalk a 16-5 advantage in shots on goal.
“My teammates gave me some nice balls,” Torres said.
Torres also felt the Black Knights deserved an assist, too.
“I don’t think (Stamford) was very physical today,” Torres said. “I expected them to be more physical. They gave me a lot of space and if you give me a chance, I’ll put it in.”
“Our defensive game was not clicking today,” Caminiti added. “We were chasing, not defending. We needed to be more physical.”
Torres’ third goal gave the Bears, who have lost only to Ridgefield (8-0-1) and Trumbull (9-1-1), a cushion. However, it also may have also helped the Knights who weren’t in any mood to roll over and die. Five minutes after Torres made it 3-0, Stamford’s Johnny Clara took a shot from the right side of the Norwalk net and the ball deflected off a defender and past Norwalk goalie Alex Hurd (three saves) for a goal.
Seven minutes after that it became a 3-2 game when Stamford’s Leo Medel won a battle for the ball in front and blasted it past Hurd.
The second-half surge reversed an earlier trend for Stamford, which did not get a shot on goal against the Tyler Collins-led Norwalk defense until seven minutes into the second half.
But after Torres’ two near-misses, the Bears regained a two-goal advantage when Surace broke through three defenders to score from 15 yards out.
“Once it became 3-0 we got a little complacent,” Laughton said. “Then we woke up but it shouldn’t take (the opponent) scoring two goals to wake us up.”
Caminiti, too, would like his team to play an honest 80 minutes.
“Our record indicates that we’re playing horribly,” he said. “But in every game so far we’ve played well in parts of the game. It’s hard when you’re not having a good season and your confidence is so low.”
Or when you have to find a way to stop Andres Torres.
The Advocate Newspaper – 10/9/08