Pressure’s Off, NHS Soccer Beats Bassick 5-1
By Teresa Errico
The pressure is off now that the Norwalk High School boys’ soccer team finally earned its first win of the season, tri-captain Ronald Machado said after Monday night’s game.
In a tremendous display of teamwork and hustle, the Bears (1-2) earned a 5-1 victory over Bassick High School (3-0) at Jack Casagrande Field.
“The first 10 minutes we came out flat and everyone tried to do it on his own,” coach Chris Laughton said. But following an injury time out, “We came back on the field and played as a team and that’s what brought us the goals.”
Machado opened the scoring 13 minutes, 59 seconds into the game off a perfectly placed cross from Manny Arteaga. Arteaga’s kick paralleled the goal and found Machado just inches outside of the right corner, sweeping the ball in behind Bassick goalkeeper’s back. Bassick goalie Ahamad Wahib had 17 saves in the game.
Once the shot went in, Machado said he suddenly felt relaxed and “the pressure was off to finally get that first goal in.”
Norwalk’s Alex Hurd held his own between the pipes, making three saves. Though the number sounds small, it’s a credit to the Norwalk defense to hold the Lions to under five shots the entire game.
The Bears, on the other hand, fired away. They possessed the ball majority of the game and made constant advances on goal. With 3:27 remaining, the boys booted in a second goal. Connor Prescott sailed the ball into the upper right hand corner of the net giving Norwalk a 2-0 halftime lead.
Solid teamwork, beating Bassick to the ball and playing to feet gave Norwalk a strong start and back-to-back goals midway through the second half.
As the clock struck 24:10, Andres Torres, off a pass from Matt Surace, soared down the middle of the field, beating two defenders. The goalie dropped to his knees predicting a low shot and Torres lobbed the ball over his head.
“Ronnie and Andres Torres were working hard tonight and they really put us in a position to score,” Laughton said. “The offense was looking really strong tonight.”
“During other games we kicked the ball around and tonight we opened the field up and did so much better,” Machado said.
Forty seconds later, Arteaga stopped the ball off a bounce and found a wide open space in the lower right corner of the net to hook the ball into the net. It was goal No. 4 for Norwalk.
“We had two tough games that didn’t go as I thought they would, but we’ve been working hard in practice and it showed tonight,” Laughton said. “It feels really great to have this win.”
Bassick responded with its first and only goal at 21:24 when Christopher Garcon snuck the ball past Hurd’s right foot.
The final goal of the game came with 7:56 remaining and though it had Norwalk on its feet cheering, the goal was a huge setback to Bassick’s morale.
Norwalk’s Daniel Vergara leaned forward, set up and fired in a shot that Wahib barely managed to get a hand on. Unfortunately for Bassick, as Wahib tried to slap the ball out of the goal, he knocked it back in and over the line.
Disappointment filled the faces of the Lions, but Norwalk was elated to finally have its first win.
Laughton said it sweetened the victory knowing everyone played a part in the game. “It’s great when you see guys that have been working hard day in and day out get quality minutes and really contribute,” Laughton said. “Everyone is positive now and looking forward to the season. As long as they continue to stay focused, this can be a very successful season for us.”
Up next for the Bears is Tuesday’s 4 p.m. game at Harding.
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