Strong start continues for Arlington girls soccer

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ARLINGTON — The offensive fireworks continued for a third straight game to start the season for the Arlington girls soccer team, winners over West Rutland, 8-1, on Monday in their home opener.

In the Eagles' undefeated start, Arlington has outscored opponents 22-2.

Tess Belnap and Haley Mattison combined for five of the eight goals, two for Belnap and three for Mattison.

Belnap scored first seven minutes in on a breakaway and then two minutes later, freshman Kaylee Bushee was in the right place at the right time to score her first varsity goal to double the lead at 2-0.

"Last year she hardly played as a freshman," said Arlington coach Aaron Wood. "She's our outside [midfielder] and has had to start because of injury, but she's really stepping up and her confidence is so high. It was a nice cross from Haley, and she got it with the left foot. It's nice to see the first career goal, the whole team loves it."

Three minutes after that, Mattison herself scored the first of the night to up the lead to 3-0 in the blink of an eye.

Arlington kept the pressure on with a three-goal lead and found the back of the net again a few minutes later when Xandria Hoyt scored to make it 4-0, which was the score at halftime. Arlington had four different scorers for the goals.

"Haley played really well, Xandria had her best game of the year," Wood said. "It's been a nice team effort. We've moved the ball well, if we can move the ball like that, teams will have their hands full."

In the second half, Mattison scored goals two and three 27 seconds apart. On the first one, Belnap found her in the middle of the field and put a nice pass to her foot, which she calmly roped past the keeper. On the second, she fired a right-footed shot to the top of the net that the West Rutland keeper had little chance to stop.

Four minutes later, Belnap had her second in a big way. Starting in her own end, she outraced a pair of defenders, came through the midfield and got just a bit of space before blasting a 30-yarder that could have fit in a little box in the top left-hand corner of the net for a 7-0 lead.

"That's the progression of Tess' game," Wood said. "She used to be a dribble first player as a young kid, but she really understands the game, passing it and running and getting it back. We're really dangerous with her and Jamie Keel in the middle."

Freshman Audrianna Ennis scored her first varsity goal with 4:44 left to finish the scoring.

At the same time, the Arlington defense kept West Rutland off the scoreboard until the 70th minute.

"Everyone sees the goals, but our starting defense hasn't allowed a goal yet," Wood said. "They've been rock solid the entire season so far. Lilah Ward played great tonight."

Shaana Staab and Maria Duffany combined to make four saves.

Arlington will look for a fourth straight victory when they host Fair Haven on Thursday night.


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