Bears storm past Knights
By TOM EVANS
Hour Staff Writer
STAMFORD — Weather was not a factor Tuesday afternoon, but the Norwalk boys rained shot after shot at the Stamford goal — connecting on five of them as the Bears rolled to their third consecutive victory to open the season, this one a 5- 0 FCIAC win over the Black Knights at the high school soccer field.
Junior forward Kevin Joslyn scored twice to pace the Norwalk offense, while junior forwards Santiago Muriel and Matt Capomolla each netted goals.
Senior forward Chris Puente notched two assists and Mike Broncati recorded another for Norwalk, 3-0. Broncati was closest to the ball on the third goal of the game, but it was ruled an “own goal” against Stamford and no Bear was given credit for tallying.
Despite the offensive outburst — the Bears scored their final three goals over a span of 3:21 late in the second half — Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton knows there is still room for improvement.
“I thought the previous two games we played better,” Laughton said. “I was disappointed with the lack of intensity and energy for much of the game. When a team has high expectations, as this one does, and the kids are not meeting those expectations, we let them know. It can’t be an excuse not playing at home under the lights.”
The next three games will give Laughton and his team a sense for where they stand in the FCIAC hierarchy. The Bears travel to Trumbull on Thursday at 4 p.m., host Westhill at 11 a.m. Saturday, then have six days to prepare for a showdown with Staples on Albie Loeffler Field on Sept. 30 at 4 p.m.
“We’re excited and happy, but (these three games) are nothing to hang our hats on,” Laughton said. “We have three tough games coming up, and we’ll find out where we are in the league by the end of next week.”
For now, the Bears are among the elite — at least to veteran Stamford head coach Mario Caminiti, who said before the game that this matchup would be a test for Stamford (1-1-1).
“We didn’t pass the test,” Caminiti said. ” With all due respect to Norwalk, we had a better second half, but we need to mature. Our kids were a little shocked and overwhelmed. Norwalk is a great team, and I expect them to go deep in the FCIAC and states. They have players, and obviously their work ethic is outstanding. ( Norwalk) outworked us in every facet of the game. We tried to contain them, but they have too many options.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Svet Kozak stopped both shots he faced — one in each half — to record the shutout victory for Norwalk. His counterpart, Yeisson Llanos, made 15 saves in a losing effort for the Black Knights. Norwalk also held a 17-2 advantage in shots on goal, as well as corner kicks (8-2). Joslyn scored the only goal Norwalk would need at 23:43 of the first half when his shot slammed off the left post and behind Llanos for a 1-0 lead. ” The ball came to me ( from Puente) and I touched it home,” Joslyn said of the first goal. “(The second goal) was huge. They pinned us back a little bit, and once we got the second one, we could play the ball around. We start out playing the ball, and once we get one goal, the flood gates open. Every win is great, and whenever we can come into anyone else’s place and win is great.” Nearly eight minutes later, Llanos stopped Broncati, but the rebound came to Muriel, who deposited the ball into the back of the net for a 2-0 halftime lead.
“They’re a smart team with a lot of talent,” said Eric Altamura, Stamford’s senior midfielder and captain. “They use quick passing and they know what they’re doing. We couldn’t hold the ball and possess it. We couldn’t get to hold the ball a lot of the game, and (Norwalk) worked harder than us.”
Stamford’s “own goal” made it 3-0 with 7:08 left in the game, and a crisp passing sequence between Joslyn and Broncati produced the fourth goal at the 4:30 mark with Joslyn’s shot low to the left corner.
Puente set up Capomolla rushing down the left wing for the final tally of the game with 3:39 remaining.
Maybe more impressive than the 13 goals in three games has been the long scoreless streak since surrendering an early goal in the season opener against St. Joseph. “We’re just playing as a team,” said junior stopper Andrew Melitsanopoulos. “We’re solid as a back four.” We didn’t communicate against St. Joe’s, and it cost us. Now we’re communicating and we’re shutting people down. It’s comforting to know the offense will get results.”
© The Hour Newspaper.