NORWALK, Conn. Banged up, bruised and missing several key players, the Norwalk High School boys soccer team is still finding ways to win. With the electric atmosphere of Tuesday nights game against cross-city rival Brien McMahon, however, it was easy for the backups to feed off the energy and rise to the occasion.
That energy reached a fever pitch when team captain Nick Zuniga came off the bench in the second half. Heavily bandaged and playing with a separated shoulder, Zuniga promptly assisted on an all-important insurance goal for the Bears.
Norwalk dominated the second half of the rivalry game, outshooting McMahon 11-2 in the final 40 minutes in front of a large, raucous crowd at Jack Casagrande Field. The Bears avoided a letdown after allowing the tying goal with two seconds left in the first half, rallying to beat the Senators 3-1.
I was just so happy to get onto the field. This team can do well without me, but it was just great to be out there, Zuniga said. Its a good win and its always a big crowd against McMahon. But then at the end, its just another game in the season.
Norwalk took an early lead when Erick Romero connected on a free kick less than four minutes into the game. The Bears thought they had escaped with the lead as time wound down to less than 10 seconds in the half. But McMahons Roland Montero stole the ball, finding Christian Echeverry for an unopposed shot.
Echeverrys initial attempt clanged off the post, but it bounced right back to him. Echeverry did not miss the second time, burying the equalizer with 2.2 seconds remaining in the half.
McMahon did not get much momentum out of that late goal, as Norwalk owned the second half. After several opportunities, Norwalk took the lead for good with 19:01 remaining.
Nacho Navarro fed a perfect cross-pass through traffic to Mike Broncati, who had just raced up the field 30 yards. Broncati slammed it home for the game winner. Kevin Joslyn added an insurance goal from Zuniga with less than six minutes to play.
Weve been practicing those plays and our team chemistry is getting better. We just perfected it on that play, Broncati said. Weve had teams come back on us a few times this season. But we played tough and hung on and Im glad we won.
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