NORWALK, Conn. – It seemed like only a matter of time before the Norwalk High boys soccer team would land the knockout blow against Staples Monday evening. The Bears dominated almost every facet of the game, finally breaking through to score with 13:27 to play en route to a 2-0 victory.
Staples fought off wave after wave of attack from the Bears, while Norwalk’s defense did not allow a shot on net in the first half. Meanwhile, Norwalk's offense remained patient, waiting for the right opportunity.
It finally came more than three-quarters of the way through the game thanks to some solid teamwork.
Santiago Muriel raced up the left side of the field into the box, finding Jose Canahuni. The Norwalk sophomore could have taken a shot, but recognized he did not have the angle and unselfishly sent the ball a few feet to his right for Michal Nowicki.
The Bears’ senior tapped the shot past Staples goalkeeper James Hickok for the game’s first score and all the offense Norwalk would need.
“I thought it was a pretty even match for most of the game,” Norwalk head coach Chris Laughton said. “Staples came in and threw us off our rhythm a little bit. I’m just proud of the guys for sticking with the game plan and playing our style of soccer.”
Nacho Navarro, denied twice on stellar saves by Hickok in the first half, finally got his name in the scorebook six minutes later. Navarro was in the right place at the right time when a deflection off a Staples defender put the ball at his feet 10 yards from the goal.
Hickok had no chance for a heroic save as Navarro drilled the back-right corner of the net to put Norwalk up by two.
Despite a solid victory against one of the boys soccer heavyweights in the county and extending his team's winning streak to seven games, Laughton said there is still plenty of work to be done.
“You can’t say any team is the best in the state until you’re holding that trophy at the end of the season,” Laughton said. “We still have a long way to go. We want to win our last game of the season.”
Norwalk (7-0-0) travels to an upstart Wilton (4-1-1) on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. game.
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