Eagles flat in consolation game loss

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ARLINGTON — After a tight opening-round matchup in the John Werner Tournament, the Arlington boys soccer had a quick turnaround, playing on Thursday in the consolation game against Otter Valley.

A perplexed Todd Wilkins saw his team come out flat and stay that way in a 1-0 defeat at the Arlington Rec Park.

"For the first time in my coaching career, I don't know what to say about that," said the Eagles coach. "I'm baffled. Granted, we had the loss the other night against Twin Valley, but we played a good second half, we played hard. This is our home field, our home tournament, and they didn't show up to play. I haven't figured out why."

Otter Valley scored the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute when Otters' senior captain Joshua LeTourneau took advantage of a loose ball that the Arlington defense couldn't get away from the goal. LeTourneau hit a shot that skipped off Arlington's Bailey Cross in goal and trickled in for the 1-0 advantage.

After the goal, it felt like Otter Valley, a Division II school, was playing with 14 guys at times, as blue jerseys swarmed Arlington's home whites.

"I wasn't angry when we lost to BBA or the loss to Brattleboro, that game could have gone either way," Wilkins said. "I thought, maybe tonight they just have the first half blues [after Monday's loss to Twin Valley], and that we'd come out in the second half, but nope."

The Otters goalie wasn't tested too many times in the second half, with the defense strong against the Arlington front line.

"Even the mental mistakes, like playing back in the pressure," Wilkins said. "We can't play in the air, we're too young and too small, so we're better on the ground but tonight, everything was in the air. We just kept kicking it up the field."

The Eagles have played a tough schedule and in fact, all four of their losses this season have been up in division — BBA and Brattleboro in the John James Tournament are both Division I — and Twin Valley is Division III.

"What it comes down to is the heart, want and desire to win, I can't teach that," Wilkins said. "The mistakes weren't all from my younger players, some came from my more mature guys. I told them this was your last John Werner Tournament, you need to be leaders, teach [the younger guys] how to get out of that. You get a couple of leaders down, it spreads like a disease."

Arlington is 4-4 overall, while Otter Valley is 4-2-1.

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