BENNINGTON >> The Mount Anthony boys soccer team held off Arlington in the opening round of the John James Tournament on Thursday, topping the Eagles 2-1 at Spinelli Field.
They had secured a two-goal lead heading into the final 10 minutes of the opening round of the John James Tournament on a chilly night at Spinelli Field, but Arlington continued to play hard and finally got a nice scoring chance with under eight minutes to play.
An Arlington player was fouled just outside the 18-yard box and the Eagles set up for a direct kick. Seniors Alex Paustian and Jared Lacoste ran a play for a little misdirection and Lacoste blasted a shot into the top corner to make it 2-1.
"They make the decision on the field, either one can hit it," said Arlington coach Todd Wilkins. "They look at what they see and they hit it. [Jared] did it and did it well."
Arlington pushed up, looking for an equalizer, but the Mount Anthony defense and goalie Dylan Woodside were up to the task, keeping the Eagles away from any solid scoring opportunities.
"We know we're still in the lead, we're not in a hurry," said MAU coach Mike Molloy. "I loved the response, we really managed the game for the last seven minutes."
After a good first half of soccer was scoreless, Mount Anthony came out fast in the second half and that paid off in the first five minutes. Josh Comalli worked his way thru a trio of defenders through the middle of the box and got a 1-on-1 opportunity against Arlington keeper Bailey Cross and hit paydirt with a nicely placed shot for a 1-0 advantage.
Comalli had another chance moments later where he got behind the defense, but Cross came off his line a little and cut off any angle on a shot.
MAU got a corner kick in the 54th minute from freshman Torin Broderick. His corner went to the head of Jeff Potter who bounced it off the crossbar and the ricochet went right to Comalli, who calmly popped it into the back of the net to double the MAU lead.
"We wanted to make one extra pass, I think we settled in the first half [for shots] 25 and 30 yards out," Molloy said. "On the first goal, there was a through ball and [we got] it inside. We held our composure in the second half, Arlington is a hard working bunch."
Cross had 11 saves for Arlington, while Woodside was called on to make four saves for the Patriots.
Arlington will face Brattleboro in Saturday's consolation matchup at 5 p.m., while MAU and BBA will battle it out for the John James Tournament title at 7 p.m.
"I told these guys the difference would be 50-50 balls and heart, I think we were equal in heart, but they had the advantage in 50-50s," Wilkins said. "I was pleased with some of our defensive switches and 2-1 against a decent team, I'm proud of them, it could have come out either way."