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Staples Hands Norwalk First Loss

Staples' soccer team entered Friday's showdown with Norwalk with an uncharacteristic two losses. The Wreckers' 1-0 win showed the rest of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Max Hoberman's goal in the 44th minute lifted the Wreckers over the previously unbeaten Bears (6-1), who were ranked No. 1 in the state. "We wanted to take a step forward today,'' coach Dan Woog said. "I think we took three or four steps forward."

Quality scoring chances were rare for each side. Wind played a key part in the game, and Norwalk failed to capitalize in the first half when it had the breeze at its back. That proved crucial when Hoberman scored early in the second half. Mike Scott's throw-in came to Hoberman, whose shot from close range slipped past Norwalk goalie Svet Kozak. The Bears' freshman goalie got his hands on it, but it squirted past the outstretched net-minder.

Staples controlled play throughout most of the second half. Norwalk did have a quality chance with about four minutes left. Nic Zuniga's blast from the left side handcuffed Staples' goalie James Hickock. He stopped the shot, and Norwalk could not convert the rebound. Hickock and Kozak had two saves apiece.

The Wreckers had surrendered a surprising amount of goals early in the season. They tightened up defensively Friday, limiting the Bears' potent attack. Senior co-captain Brendan Lesch believes the Wreckers might have shaken off their early-season struggles.

"We had to get used to each other,'' Lesch said. "This is a whole new team and we needed to learn how to play together. I think we've fixed it and we're ready to make it work from here."

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