Wildcats claw past Eagles, move on to final

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ARLINGTON — Coming into Tuesday night's opening round matchup of the John Werner boys soccer tournament, Arlington knew they could play with Twin Valley, a team that was undefeated in Division III so far this season.

For the first 20 minutes or so, things were going to plan. But once the Wildcats scored to tie the game late in the first half, Arlington faltered and fell 3-1, advancing to the consolation game on Thursday.

"We took it to them for the first [20 minutes] and I was like we'll make this a game," said Arlington coach Todd Wilkins. "But then we made one defensive mistake that cost us a goal and we went down and gave up. I'm never angry to lose a game, we go up against a better team, we lose [sometimes]. But to lose on effort, that's a problem. We were outworked plain and simple."

Arlington looked to going well off the jump and took advantage of a Twin Valley defensive error. Darren Golden secured the ball, got in on net and slipped it past goalkeeper Logan Boyd for a 1-0 lead.

With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Wildcats came up with the equalizer. On a counter attack, there was a misplay by the Arlington back line and Logan Park blasted the tying goal into the far corner past keeper Bailey Cross.

"We got off to a slow start in the first 10 minutes, Arlington's energy was tough to match," said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. "I told them at halftime, I could tell the tide was turning. The pressure was relentless for the entire second half and we pressured them into mistakes."

Arlington nearly scored in the first few minutes of the second half, but Twin Valley scored at the 47 minute mark when James McGovern tipped in a header off a throw in to make it 2-1.

"We matched up just fine, the game could have gone either way but the bottom line was they outworked us," Wilkins said. "We were flat, we didn't work and it's a huge game. The kids don't want to lose and we were outmuscled."

Troy Felisko nearly gave Twin Valley a two-goal cushion with a rocket shot off the crossbar, but they finally scored in the 65th minute when Gunnar Nilsen got the ball to his foot after a scrum on a corner kick and booted it past Cross.

"After that we were deflated even more, we didn't mount any pressure from that point forward and didn't win any 50-50 balls in the middle of the field. You can't get outworked and win," Wilkins said.

Cross had eight saves, while Boyd made five saves.

Arlington will face Springfield in the consolation game on Thursday. The Cosmos lost 2-0 to Otter Valley in the night's first game.

"We'll be ready. I've addressed it and I have a feeling it won't happen again," Wilkins said.


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