There are things that can be learned -- and fixed -- early during a soccer campaign.

The Norwalk High School boys soccer team has numerous veterans, including six three-year starters, but senior tri-captain Andres Torres is their field general, especially on the attack.

The Blue Wave team may need a player to step into a role like Torres as the games continue.

Host Darien battled the Bears to a 1-1 halftime deadlock and then Torres went to work.

Torres, a returning all-state selection, had a hat trick in the second half as Norwalk improved to 3-0 with a 5-1 win. It was the most goals Darien had allowed since a 5-0 road loss last October against Bridgeport Central.

"I challenged the team at halftime and told the players they had to step up. Andres Torres set the tone and everyone followed," Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said.

Darien coach Nicolae Piperea was pleased with his team's effort.

"The final score doesn't reflect how we played, especially in the first half," Piperea said. "We lost our composure and alertness and didn't have the same discipline in the second half. You don't want to make mistakes in the defensive third of the field against Norwalk because they know how to penetrate. But I'm proud of these players, especially the way they played in the first half.

Darien goalkeeper Burke Benjamin made a pair of early stops before Jake Zuniga converted a pass from Fabian Carvajal in the 20th minute.

Darien had a pair of long distance shots fail before Brennan Branca sent a free kick over the head of goalkeeper Svet Kozak from midfield to tie the game in the seventh minute. That is the only goal the freshman has allowed in three games.

Then Torres went to work.

In a span of six minutes in the second half he took a pass from Ignacio Navarro and connected in the 30th minute, scored off an assist by Chris Puente and increased the advantage to 4-1 with an unassisted goal.

Puente produced the final score off a pass from Santiago Muriel.

Norwalk found the holes in the Darien D, and the Blue Wave were forced to play catch up and abandon their typical formation schemes.

"We were strong on the attack in the second half but I also thought our backs (Chris Jeffrey, Nik Zuniga, Dan Quintero, Erick Romero) did a good job," Laughton said. "It was a good team performance, especially in the second half."

"I'm not sure what happened in those five or six minutes," Piperea said after he saw his Blue Wave fall to 0-2-1.

"Maybe it was fatigue, but we can't let that happen again. We're at St. Joseph Friday and we have to show we can compete like we did in the first half."

Norwalk, which has scored 11 goals in three victories, is back in action at Trumbull Wednesday night in a key FCIAC showdown.

"We will be tested in that game and our veteran players will have to set the tone again," Laughton said.

Darien plays Friday afternoon against St. Joseph, and won't return for a home game again until the Sept. 30 matchup against Danbury.