Colonels win second straight John James

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BENNINGTON — The Arlington boys soccer team was flying high after Thursday's opening win over Mount Anthony in the John James Tournament.

Saturday provided a reality check for the Eagles.

Brattleboro scored 40 seconds into the game and three more times in a five-minute midway through the first half en route to a 6-1 win over Arlington.

"My message to the guys after the game is that we can't take back the first half," said Arlington coach Todd Wilkins. "I'm proud of how they played in the second half, they could have hung their heads after giving up five [goals] in the first and got trounced on."

Ayoub Lajhar, a freshman, tallied on the opening salvo, getting open and putting it past Arlington goalie Bryce Harrington.

It was the first goal Arlington had allowed this season.

"We allowed them to dictate the pace, we allowed them to control the game and we allowed them to win every 50-50 ball," Wilkins said. "We didn't settle into our game and play our style of soccer."

But Brattleboro doubled the lead in the 16th minute as Alex Leir used a strong attack and a nice shot to make it 2-0.

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"The second goal took the wind out of them, I couldn't get them to settle into the game, we had lost that half," Wilkins said.

Sixty-five seconds later, with more pressure coming from the Colonels, Arlington was charged with an own goal to make it 3-0 and then two minutes after that, it was 4-0 after Zinabu Mcneice scored.

With 2:13 left in the first half, off a corner kick, Lajhar was the man on the spot again and found the back of the net for a 5-0 lead.

"My challenge to them at halftime was not to come out in the second half the same way and they didn't, so I'm proud of that," Wilkins said.

Arlington avoided the shutout with a Lewis Whalen goal with 1:16 left in the contest.

"It 100 percent makes us better to come to the James," Wilkins said. "Sometimes we do well, sometimes we don't, but we always learn, and it gets you prepared for league and division play. It will be hard-pressed to see this type of team, but now we've seen it and we're prepared for it."

Harrington, in his first season playing goalie, had seven saves for the Eagles.

"Bryce picked his chin up and he had a good second half, I couldn't be happier with him. He made some great saves, he's a phenomenal athlete," Wilkins said.

A pair of Brattleboro players won the offensive and defensive MVP awards. The offensive award, named for long-time former coach Birger Vigsnes, went to Ayoub Lajhar and the defensive award, named for former MAU player Erik Halvorsen, was awarded to goalie Paul Mcgillion.


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