Prior to Thursday, the last time the Staples boys soccer team took the field against rival Norwalk, the result was disastrous.
Staples has not forgotten about having its 2012 season come to an end with a 1-0 loss in the class LL tournament last November and got a chance to exact a small bit of revenge this year.
Jack Scott scored a goal and helped set up another as the Wreckers defeated Norwalk 2-0 at Loeffler Field to improve to 8-1-1 on the season.
"We wanted to get revenge," Scott said. "A lot of the guys were on the team last year; tears were shed at the end of that game and we weren't going to let that happen again; we played with a lot of intensity."
Although they lost most of last year's starting core and came into play with just three wins from eight matches, the Bears (3-4-2) were a dangerous outfit and could have claimed all three points if not for some excellent work by the Wreckers defense in the second half.
"We are very pleased, Norwalk is a great team," Staples coach Dan Woog said. "We've had so many great games with them. This was a big game that we've had circled since last November. We absorbed a bit of pressure in the second half but we played well."
The Wreckers took the lead in the ninth minute. After robbing a Norwalk defender of possession, Scott headed towards the goal. Although his initial shot was saved by Bears' goalie Tyler Dalton, the rebound fell right to the feet of Charlie Leonard. Leonard then fired the ball into the net. Scott was a handful for the Bears' defense, applying pressure whenever they had the ball at their feet.
"(Applying ball pressure) is kind of what we go for all day long," Scott said. "We have a lot of different guys that we rotate up top and everyone can get the job done pressing. We keep to our game plan; stuff like that happens."
The Wreckers dominated proceedings in the first half, keeping Norwalk pinned inside its own half for long portions. The Bears did not have a shot of any kind in the first half and were fortunate to head into the break trailing by just a single goal.
"The second half was better, but we played soft," Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said. "Staples outworked us in every facet, winning balls in the air, they were tougher on tackles. Usually the team that does that is going to win."
Norwalk pushed for an equalizer in the second half trailing by a goal, and plenty of opportunities to tie it up. Jon Ceja fired over from 12 yards out early on and Staples goalie Noah Schwaeber, who made three saves to record his sixth shutout of the season, denied the impressive Jose Canahui with 11 minutes left from close range.
"It definitely changes the dynamic of the game," Laughton said. "We were pushing in the last 10 minutes and (Staples) scored a beautiful (second) goal. I don't think it changed the outcome of the game but it definitely changed the dynamic."
Staples clinched the victory with five minutes left. After countering a Norwalk attack, Nate Argosh provided the cross and Scott struck a beautiful shot on the volley from close range and into the roof of the net.
"We actually worked on that yesterday in practice; specifically that cross from that side," Scott said. "It wasn't going too well yesterday but it was good we got the job done. That goal was directly from what we did in practice."