For the first two quarters of Thursday night's boys lacrosse season opener between Staples and Norwalk High School, it appeared an 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 halftime lead.
"We played probably the worst half of lacrosse we could have," Staples captain Matt Yeager said. "We should not have been in that situation in the first place. We were playing lazy and we underestimated Norwalk."
Kip Orban provided the spark Staples needed to climb back into the game. Orban won 10 of 11 second-half face-offs, igniting a furious comeback for the Wreckers. Staples outscored Norwalk 8-1 in the final two quarters to win their season debut, 12-6.
"My timing was good once I got back into [taking] face-offs. I got in the rhythm and got in the whistle," Orban said. "And Yeager on my wing is always great at getting the ball and starting the fast break."
Orban, the Wreckers' face-off specialist, played most of the first half at attack as he worked his way back from a leg injury. When Norwalk took the lead, Orban convinced head coach Paul McNulty to let him take the draws. The move completely shifted the momentum of the game.
"Once we got back to our normal position combination with Kip playing midfield, the game turned around," McNulty said. "His pulled muscle was hindering his face-offs before tonight. So I asked him if he was at 100-percent, and of course he said yes."
The Staples defense also came up huge in the second half, stymieing the Norwalk attack that had been effective for the first two quarters. The Bears had two offensive possessions that lasted more than three minutes, but got nothing to show for it.
Charlie Ross led all scorers on the game with three goals. Orban, Nick Maki and Peter Paul each scored twice. Yeager finished with eight ground balls, helping to control the Staples possession.
Staples (1-0) holds its home opener on Saturday against Fairfield Ludlowe at 4 p.m.
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