Bears top Knights
By STEVE GEOGHEGAN
HOUR STAFF WRITER
NORWALK — The Norwalk High boys soccer team showed how explosive its offense can be.
The Bears scored four times in the first half, getting four goals from four different players, to take a 4-0 lead en route to a 4-2 victory over Stamford on Thursday night at Testa Field.
“To get out to an early lead is exactly what we wanted to do,” said assistant coach Kurt Simonsen, who was guiding the team in the absence of head coach Chris Laughton. “We didn’t play the way we were capable at some points but there were spurts where we were very good.”
Norwalk (4-1) didn’t miss Laughton, who has missed for the past two games after his wife gave birth to their first child on Wednesday, too much but the Bears had to weather a storm in the second half when the Black Knights (3-1) scored two quick goals with eight minutes left in the contest. At that point, Norwalk had subbed out some of its starters but they came back in to try and finish the game on a high note. “We need a better team effort overall in order to progress through this league,” said Simonsen, who wanted to get some of his starters rest in the second half after a hardfought 2-0 victory over Danbury on Wednesday. “We’ve got a tough schedule coming up. If we don’t solve some things, we’re going to have a rough go.”
It took about 10 minutes before the Bears got on the scoreboard. Santiago Muriel sent a through ball into Kevin Joslyn, who slipped through the defense and chipped the ball over the head of goalie Carlo Genovese, into the top middle of the net, for a 1-0 lead at 10:18. Joslyn said getting out to a big lead was a boost but it wasn’t the way they wanted to end the game.
“A win is a win and we did as good a job as we could, especially in the first half,” he said. After a minute and change, Norwalk continued its assault on the Stamford goal and found the back of the net again thanks to some nifty passing.
Nick Samperez passed off to Joslyn, who then passed back to Samperez and he buried a shot into the bottom left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead at 11:56. The Bears increased their lead to 3-0 with four minutes left in the half.
Nacho Navarro played the ball down the right sideline and his cross sailed into the top left corner of the net at 31:27.
“I tried to play KJ (Joslyn) in the middle and I guess it got deflected and went in far post,” Navarro said. “It went in and I guess I got lucky.”
It was that kind of first half for Norwalk and the Bears went ahead 4- 0 when Muriel scored off an assist by Samperez with 1:40 left until intermission (38:20).
For most of the second half, some of Norwalk’s starters rested but the Black Knights got back into the game.
Gustavo Torrealba scored off a corner kick by Steven Lopez at 70:09 and Torrealba scored his team’s second goal when he converted a penalty kick a minute later at 71:55.
” We came back a lot better in the second half,” Stamford veteran head coach Mario Caminiti said. “We realized at halftime we needed to match their energy and work ethic that they ( Norwalk) had in the first half.
“The major difference tonight was they just outplayed us in the first half,” he added. “They got some opportunities and they capitalized on them.”
Norwalk’s playmakers came on from there but Stamford held the Bears at bay the rest of the way.
Goalie Svet Kozak finished with five saves between the pipes for the home side and Andrew Melitsanopoulos anchored a solid defensive effort in the back.
“I was never really nervous (after Stamford scored twice), it was about the quality of play we were putting on the field at that point and what it would do to us mentally,” Simonsen said. “So we made the changes there at the end to make sure we walked out having felt good about what we did tonight.”
© 2012 The Hour Newspaper