Eagles earn first win, double up Long Trail
DORSET — As the two-time defending Division IV champions, the Arlington girls soccer team has been a bit shell-shocked to start the year, losing the first three contests.
Against Long Trail on Wednesday, Lilah Ward and Haley Mattison each scored a pair of goals in the first half as the Eagles doubled up the Mountain Lions, 4-2.
"We hadn't had a lead yet and that gave us confidence," said Arlington coach Aaron Wood. "Two of the three [losses] we controlled the game, but couldn't score. The name of the game in soccer is scoring."
The Eagles cracked the scoreboard 1:45 into the contest, with Ward making a slick run through the Long Trail defense and zipping a shot hard and low past the keeper.
Ward, who has spent the last couple of seasons in the defensive back line, moved up into the midfield to give Wood and the Eagles a little more scoring power. Before Wednesday's game, Arlington had only scored a single goal.
"You have to score goals in Division IV, you're more likely to win a game 5-4 than 1-0," Wood said. "Lilah gives us that push."
Long Trail tied the game about 13 minutes later with a terrific one-woman effort from junior Molly Sanderson, taking on a trio of Arlington defenders before flicking a shot past Eagle keeper Danita Moore.
"If Molly can create space, it's almost impossible to catch her from behind," said Long Trail coach Kevin Murphy.
But after Sanderson's fourth goal of the year, the last 25 minutes of the first half were all Arlington. Two minutes after Sanderson tied it, Haley Mattison scored her first goal of the season, taking a pass from eighth-grader Sidney Herrington and connecting to make it 2-1.
"How hard she works is what it comes down to," Wood said. "If she works hard all game long and realized one or two good chances, that's what we need. Sidney also had a good game, she won a lot of balls in the middle of the field, she's only an eighth-grader."
Ward gave Arlington a 3-1 lead with 6:44 left in the half, putting away a rebound and then Mattison scored on a penalty kick after Long Trail was called for a handball in the box.
Sanderson scored again in the 52nd minute, giving her five goals on the year to cut the lead to 4-2.
But that was all Long Trail and Sanderson could muster. Wood made a decision to have Schuyler Nolan mark up Sanderson and despite allowing the two goals, the freshman held her own.
"Molly is a good player," Wood said. "Schuyler gives everything she has every second of the game. She made a couple of mistakes, but she battled all day with their best player and that's all I can ask."
Coming in, Sanderson had all of Long Trail's goals this year, so Murphy knew a mark was coming.
"Other teams mark her with two, Arlington only needed Schuyler," Murphy said. "Schuyler is as physical as anyone [Molly] will see this season."
Arlington improves to 1-3 with the victory, while Long Trail drops to 0-4.
"We only had a couple of juniors and seniors out there, the others are underclassmen," Wood said. "We'll improve more than any team in Division IV this season."
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