Bears to a 2-0 triumph over Falcons
By MIKE CARDILLO
FAIRFIELD — Tuesday afternoon the mercury inched toward 90 degrees. It was even more sweltering on the synthetic turf field at Fairfield Ludlowe high school.
And that was before the Falcons boys soccer team hosted Norwalk in the 2005 season opener for both squads. The intense mid-afternoon sun beating down on the players brought out the testiness in both sides, as they combined for 32 fouls and four yellow cards. For the first hour the game appeared destined for a goalless draw, until two moments of inspiration from Norwalk’s Mike and Anthony Fraioli. The brothers struck within five minutes of each other in the second half, pushing the Bears to a 2-0 triumph.
“When it’s early in the season, and really hot, it tends to lead to some choppy play,” Norwalk coach Kurt Simonsen said. “It’s the first game, we’ll take the points.”
New rules adopted this year by the FCIAC award three points to a win, and one to a tie.
Tuesday’s furnace-like conditions were diametrically opposite from the last time the Bears took the field in last November’s Class LL championship, a 3-1 defeat to Newtown on a frigid night at Danbury High. Norwalk’s roster features 12 seniors, but most are first-time starters. That’s not the case for the Fraiolis, as both have started since their freshman year. Mike Fraioli, a junior midfielder, opened his 2005 scoring account with a well-timed blast past Ludlowe keeper Zach Gilula in the 59th minute. Fraioli collected a loose ball at the top of the penalty box and placed into the lower right netting, past a diving Gilula. “I used the outside of my foot, I wanted to keep it low,” said Fraioli, who had missed high on two previous attempts. Five minutes later Anthony Fraoili, a senior forward, beat Gilula on almost an identical shot as his younger brother except his strike went low to the left. Tempers began to flare shortly afterward. Mike Fraoili collected a yellow card moments after the second Norwalk goal. With five minutes left a player from each team saw yellow and was sent off. “I’m happy with our first half effort,” Ludlowe coach Kevin O’Hara said. “It’s the first game and players aren’t in their top form yet.”
Ludlowe kept it tight in the back, especially in the first half. Senior central defender Brad Dixon did an admiral job keeping the streaking Norwalk forwards in check. For Dixon it was his first game in the back, after leading the Falcons in scoring last fall as a forward. The best chance for the Falcons came 20 minutes into the first half on a free kick on the edge of the area by Jairo Guiza, which Norwalk keeper Mike Surace pushed to safety. Guiza had another chance in the 46th minute, but was denied again by Surace.
NORWALK 0 2 — 2
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 0 0 — 0
Records: Norwalk 1-0-0; Fairfield Ludlowe 0-1-0
Goals: N — Anthony Fraioli, Mike Fraioli; Goalies: N — Mike Surace (3 saves); FL — Zach Gilula (5); Shots: N — 8; FL — 4