ARLINGTON -- For the first 20 minutes of Arlington Memorial High School’s opening round girls soccer match against Twin Valley at the John Werner Tournament on Thursday, most of the play took place in the midfield, with neither team getting goal chances.
But after Sammy Cunningham broke the ice with 21:30 left for the Wildcats, the floodgates opened.
Twin Valley scored three times in each half, cruising to a 6-0 win on a cold, foggy night at the Arlington Rec Park.
"We’ve been working on the possession game, playing to feet and being more aggressive with the ball," said Twin Valley (4-2) coach Chris Walling.
Cunningham made it 1-0 when an Arlington (2-5) defender was unable to clear the ball away from the goal. The ball went to the senior, who fired into the far corner past goalie Whitney Walsh.
"After [Twin Valley] got the first goal, [Arlington] seemed to hang their heads," said Eagles coach Dan Wood. "They haven’t lost a lot in [past years], so they are having a hard time dealing with [losing] now."
Another unforced error by the Eagles led to the second score with seven minutes left. Arlington misdirected a pass toward the box, where Savannah Nesbitt’s shot found the back of the net. Five minutes later, Caitlin Hunt scored to make it 3-0.
Nesbitt and Hunt each had two goals in the win.
"Caitlin is a freshman and Savannah’s a senior coming off an ACL injury right on this field," Walling said. "We moved Savannah to striker to generate a little more offense, because she draws defenders, which leads to open opportunities for her teammates."
Twin Valley had four first half shots, three of which hit paydirt.
"That’s a killer," Wood said. "We didn’t have hardly any opportunities."
The Wildcats kept the pressure on in the second half, with Nesbitt scoring again with 21 minutes left, then Hunt and Kirsten Halbur tallying less than a minute apart -- Hunt off a scramble in front and Halbur in the right place at the right time off a feed from Cunningham.
Arlington searched for a goal in the final moments to avert the shutout, but two chances by Molly Elwell were shot over the net.
In goal for Arlington, the freshman Walsh made six saves. Twin Valley’s Jessica Reiley stopped four shots for the shutout.
In the tournament’s first game, Mount St. Joseph topped Fair Haven 3-1. The tournament concludes Saturday with the Slaters and Eagles meeting at 2 p.m. in the consolation and MSJ and Twin Valley in the championship game at 4 p.m.