Bears storm past Warriors
By HENRY HUIDEKOPER
NORWALK — In soccer, they say speed kills.
That was the case on Tuesday night, when the Norwalk boys soccer team ran circles around Wilton, scoring four consecutive goals in the second half to win 6-2.
Norwalk star forward Nic Zuniga broke a 2-2 tie with 24:38 left on a booming leftfooted shot, opening up the floodgates for the Bears (5-1-1), which scored three more goals in a seven minute span to down the Warriors (4-3-1) in front of a spirited crowd at Testa Field.
Team speed was the difference for the Bears.
“The last few years we’ve always had a fast team,” Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton said. “We try to play to that strength and I thought tonight we showed a lot of that speed in how dangerous we were attacking.”
To say Norwalk got off to a fast start would be putting it lightly.
The Bears got on the board just 1:05 into the contest, when Zuniga slammed home a quick goal on a nice pass from junior Santiago Muriel, and struck again just three minutes later when junior Kevin Joslyn finished a beautiful ball from Zuniga to make it 2-0.
But Wilton would not go quietly into the night.
The Warriors scored a goal of their own just a minute later, when Kyle Dedrick onetimed an Evan Owen pass into the back of the net.
That seemed to settle Wilton down, as the Warriors played Norwalk evenly for the rest of the first half, and tied it up at the 12-minute mark when Dedrick headed in a Patrick Stephens pass.
“A 2-0 lead is considered the worst lead in soccer because you get comfortable,” said Laughton. “It’s nice to go up 2-0 but you always worry about the letdown and unfortunately after our two quick goals there was a lull there. We’ve just got to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Norwalk came out flying in the second half, applying endless pressure on Wilton goalie James Erario, but Erario, along with Wilton defenders Graham Parsons and John Rider, were up to the task, and with 25 minutes to go the game was still knotted up.
That’s when Zuniga stepped up for the Bears with a big shot that just snuck by Erario, giving the senior forward six goals on the season and breaking the tie.
“Nic’s a game changer,” said Laughton. ” I thought he was very dangerous every time he got the ball. He created some kind of opportunity for himself or somebody else. He’s a guy that draws two or three defenders every time but he’s getting a lot better at recognizing that double or triple team and making a good pass.” The goal knocked the wind out of the Warriors and Norwalk took advantage, using goals from Mike Broncati, Chris Miklave, and Michal Nowicki to bury Wilton.
Wilton showed resiliency in battling back in the first half, but the 6-2 loss left head coach Jim Lewicki shaking his head. “I give my guys credit in the first half coming back after being down 2- 0 so early, but the second half performance is inexcusable,” Lewicki said. “Somehow we have to come to our senses and find out what’s going on.”
“Credit to Norwalk though,” Lewicki continued. ” They have great team speed and speed kills.”
For Norwalk, the win increases its FCIAC Central Division lead over Ludlowe and Stamford.
“It’s a credit to them that we gave up the lead and they didn’t fold and let down, they came back and they fought hard in the second,” said Laughton. “Hopefully they take this as a learning experience.”
Both teams return to action on Thursday, with Wilton hosting Darien and Norwalk taking on Ridgefield.
© The Hour Newspaper.