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Published on September 20th, 2019 | by Staples Soccer


Match Report: Staples vs. Norwalk

Home matches at Loeffler Field — before a packed hill — have always been a special part of the Staples soccer program.

When they’re played on a Friday — in brilliant fall weather — they’re extra special.

And when the opponent is a strong, longtime rival like Norwalk — well, that’s what being a Staples soccer player is all about.

The Bears arrived in Westport following a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Fairfield Warde Wednesday night. The Wreckers came off a 6-0 victory over Trinity Catholic, 2 days after their own epic battle with Danbury (a 1-0 loss).

The game started strongly for Staples. Benny Feuer fired in the 2nd minute; then Alan Fiore shot wide. The Wrecker attack was more balanced than in previous games, with Fiore and Sam Liles working both flanks well. Carter Bassler and Patricio Perez Elorza provided strong defense behind, augmented with bracing runs forward.

Brendan Lynch — getting exponentially stronger every match — and the ever-reliable Surya Balaji controlled the center.

In the 23rd minute, Perez Elorza’s cross was picked off well by keeper Joe D’Allacco.

Staples netminder Reed Caney — who was not fiercely tested in his first 3 outings — came through with a huge fingertip save, on Norwalk’s dangerous 27th-minute free kick.

Six minutes later, the blue-and-whites had a free kick of their own. Fiore dropped it right into the box. Evan Birns timed his run perfectly, poking it in for a 1-0 lead.

The Bears had been down 1-0 to Warde at halftime too, and stormed back. Today they created more chances in the second half, pushing forward and stretching the field. But Feuer, George Smith and Murilo Moreno won more than their share of balls at midfield, initiating dangerous forays. Emerson Anvari held the ball well up front, allowing numbers to get forward.

Staples was particularly dangerous in the air. Tall players like Feuer, Lynch and Lars Djuve won the lion’s share of balls; so did others less tall, like Bassler, Balaji and Moreno.

Caney was tested again in the 60th minute. It was another direct kick; this time he corralled it cleanly.

The Wreckers missed a chance to double their lead 7 minutes later. Feuer’s header, from Perez Elorza, missed just high.

The final 13 minutes were back and forth. Staples’ defense — including, for a time, Josh DeDomenico and Jack Foster — bent, but did not break. Up top they managed the game well, driving into the corner and keeping possession nicely.

When the final horn sounded, the Wreckers had earned their gritty, 1-0 victory. One player called it “a Loeffler Field win.”

It was as satisfying as so many others that preceded it — all the way back, 61 years.

Staples is on the road next, at Trumbull on Tuesday. Kickoff is 5:30 p.m. FINAL SCORE: Staples 1, Norwalk 0. SEASON RECORD: 3-1-0.

QUICK KICKS: The Wreckers received tough news after the match: Senior Callum Wisher, a 3-year varsity player, will miss the entire season with a hip injury….

Staples outshot Norwalk 13-7, and had 3 corner kicks to the Bears’ 1 ….

The reserves drew 1-1 with Norwalk. Marcos Inglada got the Wrecker goal, assisted by Konur Nordberg ….

In the freshman game, Norwalk scored first 10 minutes after halftime on a long blast. Three minutes later Matt Shackelford flicked a ball over the keeper’s head, evening the score. It was all Norwalk for the next 10 minutes, until Staples regained control. With 15 left, Shackelford headed it in Hunter Smith’s laser throw for the lead. Coach Chris O’Dell cited defenders Smith, Tyler Kocadag, Jack McCall, Campbell Gerrard, Ben Douglas and Alex Laskins for their strong games.

Evan Birns (() celebrates his goal against Norwalk, with jubilant teammates. NOTE: The scoreboard should read only 1-0. (Photo/Christina Bassler)


Patricio Perez Elorza keeps playing, after a collision between Benny Feuer and a Norwalk player. The whistle blew soon therafter. (Photo/Christina Bassler)


Surya Balaji: Staples’ steady co-captain and center back. (Photo/Christina Bassler)


Wreckers crash the box on a corner kick; Norwalk defends. (Photo/Christina Bassler)


Emerson Anvari powers through the Bear defense. (Photo/Christina Bassler)


Wrecker fans love Evan Birns (and Patricio Perez Elorza, and Sam Liles). But really, mostly Evan. (Photo/Christina Bassler)


Staples was cheered on by a large crowd today. After the match, Superfans — including former players, Development Academy players and live tweeter Patrick Ostbye (center, blue “S”) celebrated at Planet Pizza.




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