For the first two quarters of Thursday night's boys lacrosse season opener between Staples and Norwalk High School, it appeared a gigantic upset was in the works. The Wreckers did not lose a game during the 2010 regular season, but Norwalk had built up a 5-4 lead off of a brilliant first half by Derrick Edwards.
Then the air whooshed out of the Bears' balloon. Staples' face-off specialist Kip Orban won 10 of 11 draws in the second half to ignite a Wreckers comeback. Staples isolated Edwards, silencing the Norwalk offense in the final two quarters. The Wreckers netted six fast-break goals in the final 24 minutes to defeat the Bears, 12-6.
"We learned the hard way tonight that you can't play just 24 minutes. You have to play the full 48," Norwalk head coach Chris McGee said. "I thought our defense did a great job, but you can't play defense for an extended period like we did. No one can play defense in long spurts."
The Norwalk bench was pumped up when Edwards and Da'Quan Keel teamed up to put the Bears ahead 2-0 early. Delshawn Wilson added two goals and thoughts of upset were running through everyone's head.
A simple change in strategy soon silenced Norwalk. Orban was held out of the face-offs for most of the first half due to concerns from a lingering leg injury. All signs of that injury vanished when he returned to make the draws. Staples captain Matt Yeager scooped up eight ground balls to help the Wreckers dominate time of possession.
Once Staples took Edwards out of the picture, Norwalk's offense came to a standstill. The Bears had two offensive attacks of more than three minutes that led nowhere. The Staples defense buckled down and denied the Bears any good shots.
"They did a great job shutting off our short midfielders and we couldn't adjust," McGee said. "It's as simple as that."
Norwalk has another early-season test ahead when it travels to St. Joseph on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game.
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