ARLINGTON -- Scoreless after 40 minutes of play, Arlington Memorial High School boys soccer coach Todd Wilkins was not happy about his team's sloppy play, and very loudly, he let them know it.
"We are putting the ball up in the [offensive] zone, but not moving up as a unit," Wilkins said. "We have too big of a gap between our [midfielders] and our front line and we can't have that. The reason I was yelling is because we've been over this time and time again. We finally did it in the second half, but we need to do it in two halves."
The fire lit, Jared Lacoste scored six minutes into the second half as Arlington took third place in the consolation game of the John Werner Tournament, 1-0, over Otter Valley at the Arlington Rec Park on Friday.
"[In the second half], we started attacking the ball, getting up the field and staying in attack mode," said Wilkins, whose team had seven shots in the second half compared to only three in the first.
Fortune turned for the Eagles on the Lacoste goal. After an Otter Valley player was whistled for a foul, Arlington's Peter Macksey boomed a free kick toward the net. Otters senior goalie Shane Quenneville came out to play the ball through some traffic but couldn't handle it cleanly, which allowed the Eagles freshman to finish for his second tally of the season.
"Pete had a great kick that bounced and I had the open goal, so I tapped it in," Lacoste said.
"We work on that in practice because many high school goalies have a hard time playing those clean," Wilkins said. "So we work on crashing the goal. To see it executed [in a game], it's good for us as coaches to see and good for them to show that we know what we're talking about."
The defense also came alive in the second half, only allowing two shots. Arlington's senior goalie DJ Jennings pitched a shutout, making 10 saves on the afternoon.
"There's been a big change in DJ, he's aggressive off his line and controls the box," Wilkins said. "He played spectacular last game in the second half and made some really nice saves today. It's been a big turn for him."
Each team had close chances in the first half to take the lead. With 19 minutes remaining, Otter Valley junior Connor Gallipo broke free from the Arlington defense and put on a shot on net toward the far corner that Jennings dove for and stopped.
At the other end minutes later, Austin Hawley fired a shot from outside the 18 that banged off the crossbar and back out.
Arlington improves to 4-4 on the season and ends a two-game losing skid.