Free kicks lift Norwalk over Ludlowe
Updated 2:04 pm, Thursday, October 20, 2011
Even on a night when the Norwalk High School boys soccer team doesn't bring its best effort, it is still good enough to win.
The Bears managed a pair of goals on free kicks as the Norwalk improved to 11-1-1 with a 2-1 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe on Wednesdsay night in Fairfield.
"We obviously played pretty terrible," Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said. "But we'll take a win any way we can get it."
Senior Mahmoud Kafel scored the lone goal as the Falcons fell for the third straight game, 1-0.
"My kids are working hard," Ludlowe coach Kevin O'Hara said. "We're just making young mistakes."
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The Falcons are now 1-5-2 in their last seven contests. Ludlowe needs one point in its final two games against Greenwich and New Canaan to qualify for the Class LL state playoffs.
"I'm delighted with the way these kids are fighting," O'Hara said. "I have to be pleased with the effort I'm getting...We've got our backs to the wall here, but I feel if we keep fighting like we have, we're going to get a break."
"We made some mistakes on the set pieces and it cost us," O'Hara said.
The Bears were first on the scoreboard when Zuniga's free kick shot went passed an unready Falcons defense and by Ludlowe goalkeeper Charlie Kottler to give Norwalk a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.
"We got caught setting up," O'Hara said. "It caught our goalie off-guard."
Ludlowe responded 18 minutes later when Kottler's long clear hit a Bears' defender's head and fell right to Kafel, who dribbled by Norwalk keeper Svet Kozak and easily potted the Falcons' equalizer, tying the game at 1.
"It took them scoring to wake us up a little bit," Laughton said.
The Falcons responded in the minutes after the goal, blitzing the Bears goal but Kozak made a key stop on Christian Barral to keep the game tied. The sophomore keeper stopped five shots in the contest.
"The next five minutes after a goal are always important," Kozak said. "Svet did a good job of controlling the box and being a presence back there."
Romano's tie-breaker came with just 12 minutes in the game, as the senior left-footed a sailing shot that tucked under the crossbar and over the outstretched hand of Kottler, giving the Bears a 2-1 lead.
"The wind played a factor," O'Hara said.
The Bears will return to Fairfield on Friday when they play Warde at 4 p.m. The Falcons have off until Monday when they travel to Greenwich.