Bears roar to victory against Wreckers
Norwalk got goals from five different players in a one-sided victory that avenged last year’s thrashing at the hands of Staples.
By MIKE MADAR
NORWALK — With last year’s 7-3 beating fresh in the minds of the Norwalk boys soccer team, the Bears dominated Staples from the opening whistle en route to an impressive 5-0 win at Testa Field Saturday morning.
“We knew we were going to come out and do what we had to do to beat them,” said Colin Prescott, who dislocated his elbow in last year’s loss.
Prior to the game, Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton discussed last season’s defeat with his team.
“That was the pregame message,” Laughton said. “They wanted to redeem themselves from what happened last year and they did more than that. They played great.”
The Bears evened their record at 5- 5-1.
“The effort was up there with the McMahon game,” said Laughton, whose team defeated the Senators 1-0 earlier this season. “This was a total team effort.”
Staples (6-4-2), suddenly struggling, is winless in four games and has lost two straight by a combined 10-0 margin.
“A lot of the goals have come when we’ve been pushing up late but it’s still a high number of goals,” Staples head coach Dan Woog said. “We have to sit down and figure out where the problem lies. We’re not pointing any fingers.”
The Wreckers have also failed to score in each of its last four games.
“In each of the games we’ve had opportunities,” Woog said. “I felt we had some solid chances (Saturday) we just didn’t put them away.
With Connor Prescott out for the season with a broken nose, sophomore sweeper Tyler Collins took over the free kick duties and excelled.
A Collins free kick into the box found the head of Colin Prescott for a flick and a goal 12:13 into the game.
“Before the game we were practicing (free kicks) and during the game he put pretty much each one right where it needed to be,” Prescott said of Collins.
Along with Collins and Prescott, the Bears backline of Ezra Kuz-Dworzak and Robert Geitz, shut down the explosive midfield of the Wreckers.
“Our success started back with them,” Laughton said of his defense. “They were solid and pretty much stopped everything (Staples) was trying to do.”
With 45 seconds to play in the half, Staples keeper Ryan Segedi (9 saves) bobbled and dropped a ball sent into the box. Javier Mandujano settled the ball behind Segedi and was about to score before he grabbed his leg to bring him down resulting in an obvious penalty kick call.
On the ensuing penalty kick, Matt Surace beat Segedi low to the right for a 2-0 Norwalk lead at the half.
Staples nearly got on the board midway through the second, but a through ball by Alan Reiter was tipped just wide of the goal by Mike White.
With 16:10 to play, Willy Arbieto scored on a free kick from about 40-yards out.
Less than five minutes later, Marc Mones, with his back to the goal flicked a pass from Surace through Segedi and into the goal for a 4-0 lead.
David Leon ended the scoring with 2:29 to play when he scored off a pass from Mones. Sophomore Alex Hurd made nine saves earning a clean sheet for the Bears.
Both teams return to action Tuesday when Staples hosts Stamford and Norwalk hosts Warde.
© 2007 The Hour Newspaper
Norwalk’s Onslaught Smashes Staples, 5-0
By Eliot Schickler
Article Launched: 10/18/2007 01:56:01 PM EDT
Beating a team convincingly is always sweet. Especially when a team you beat is a perennial powerhouse that beat you the year before. Just ask the Norwalk High boys soccer team, which experienced this nirvana Saturday morning after beating defending FCIAC champion Staples High 5-0 at Testa Field. Last year, Norwalk lost 7-3 to the Staples Wreckers on the road at Loeffler Field in Westport, but this time, around, it benefited from the home field advantage.
“Our pregame message was to redeem ourselves from last year,” said Bears coach Chris Laughton. “They did more than that and they were great.”
Norwalk raised its record to 5-5-1. Staples dropped to 6-4-2.
The Bears scored two goals off free kicks and one on a penalty kick with their first three coming on this variety. With 27:47 remaining in the first half, they took a 1-0 lead on senior tri-captain Colin Prescott’s header off of sophomore Willy Arbieto’s free kick.
“Before the game, we talked about the fact I never scored because I play defense and I knew I’d get one,” said Prescott. “They did it for the seniors.”
Prescott was instrumental in neutralizing the Wreckers’ attack and made sure Norwalk’s goalies, junior Mike Jiminez and Alex Hurd, who had four saves each, faced mostly benign shots. Junior Robert Geitz also played well defensively for the Bears.
“It was teamwork and we concentrated as a team,” said Prescott. Rob Geitz shut down [Staples sophomore] Mike White and [senior] Ezra Kuz-Dworzak played amazing defense.”
Laughton said, “It started with the backs, Colin Prescott, Rob Geitz and Ezra Kuz-Dworzak, which got us going.”
Staples junior goalie Ryan Segedi (nine saves) played a good game and the five goals he allowed wasn’t indicative of his performance. Three of the goals were tough to stop because of the circumstance and the other was off a breakaway from in front of the net.
Although Norwalk had a 13-8 shots advantage, Staples did do some things well and finished the game 5-1 on the plus side on corner kicks. However, the Bears were stout on defense, which prevented the Wreckers from capitalizing. Staples senior tri-captain Russell Oost-Lievense had a golden chance tie it but Norwalk junior goalie Mike Jimenez (nine saves) made the save. Jimenez also made saves on senior tri-captain Mike Smith and White.
Senior Melvin Rodriguez and sophomore Tyler Collins also played well defensively for the Bears. Freshman Andres Torres won a ball for Norwalk in the midfield.
Late in the first half, Bears junior Mark Mones boomed a free kick that Segedi saved, but Norwalk senior Javier Mandujano got the rebound and had an open net. Mandujano was tripped up in the box and junior Matt Surace successfully made the penalty kick with 45 seconds left in the half to give the hosts a 2-0 halftime lead.
“I just tried and picked a corner,” said Surace. “The second goal is always a big goal in any game, but we knew they were too good to give up and we had to keep on coming.”
Early in the second half, Oost-Lievense set up classmate Jackson Lesser, but the Bears’ defense thwarted him. Senior Liam Bohonnon also attacked the net for the Wreckers but Jimenez stopped him.
Junior Mateo Gaviria played well in the midfield and sophomore Jack Hennessy and freshman Frankie Begonzi sparkled on defense.
Oost-Lievense also created an opportunity for freshman Brendan Lesch, but his shot was just wide.
Norwalk was awarded a free kick with 16:12 to go in the game and Arbieto’s blast from 40 yards out made it 3-0. The Bears then added two goals with Mones tapping one in from point blank range off a breakaway, which Surace set up from the left wing after receiving a clearing pass from Geitz. Surace sped past his opponents and found open space, which led to the goal.
“I took the ball down the line, Mark called for it, I hit it to him and he hit it in,” said Surace. The Bears’ final goal came with 2:29 left when senior David Leon slid home a grounder from 35 yards out. “People had to step up and fill positions and they did, playing their best game,” said Laughton. “It comes down to practice. If we work hard, it carries over to the games and we’re beginning to see it. If we continue to keep guys motivated, we’ll see the results. It was a total team effort.” Prescott said, “We knew from the start [about the importance of this game] because we lost to them 7-3 last year and I left the game with a dislocated elbow and two others left because of concussions and I knew we’d beat them this year.”
© 2007 Norwalk Citizen-News