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Norwalk Boys Soccer Rallies to Tie Staples

NORWALK, Conn. – The Staples High School boys soccer team had a 2-0 lead in the second half on its home field with a defense that had surrendered just one goal all season. That scenario usually results in a win for the Wreckers — but not Friday afternoon against Norwalk.

The Bears scored 22 seconds after Staples’ second goal and tied it with 5:33 left on a penalty kick by Nic Zuniga as the teams battled to a 2-2 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference game. Staples is now 5-0-1, while the Bears are 4-1-1.

“We were really hoping to get a win,’’ said Zuniga, a senior. “We’re never happy with a tie.”

Matt Capomolla scored Norwalk’s first goal on an assist from Kevin Joslyn with just more than 29 minutes remaining. Zuniga got the game-winner when Staples goalie James Hickok was whistled for a dangerous dive at the legs of a Norwalk player. Hickok deflected Zuniga’s penalty kick. It bounced straight up and into the goal after hitting the underside of the crossbar.

Zuniga, Joslyn, Capomolla and speedy Mike Broncati kept the pressure on the Staples defenders in the second half. Hickok (13 saves) made several tremendous saves, including a close range shot from Zuniga with 15 minutes remaining. The key goal was Capomolla’s tally, which brought Norwalk right back after falling behind by two goals. “The longer it goes on, the more panic sets in,’’ Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton said. “The next five minutes are crucial. That got us going. Once they got that they knew the game wasn’t over with 20 minutes left.”

Zuniga said he didn’t hit the penalty kick squarely. It was hard enough, however, to get past Hickok. “I always go to the same side,’’ he said. “I’ll take it.”

Despite some key graduation losses, Norwalk looks likely to contend for the playoffs. “We were expecting to be a good team,’’ Zuniga said. “We’ll see how the rest of the season goes. We think we’re going to be right there at the end.”

Contact Tom Renner at trenner@mainstreetconnect.us .

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