Twin Valley coach Chris Walling knew his team would have a difficult challenge against the Eagles, who came into the game unbeaten and top ranked in the statewide division 4 standings. That indeed proved to be the case, as the young Wildcats were overwhelmed by the Eagles juggernaut.
“We had no answer for them,” said Walling. “They’re good. They’re really good. Nobody has had an answer for them. They’re the team to beat until somebody figures out how to even keep it close. They’re heads and tails above everybody else in D-4.”
It didn’t take long for Arlington to show their ball skills and offensive firepower. Tess Belnap scored the first goal less than three minutes into the match. Hailey Mattison scored the Eagles’ second goal five minutes later, and by then the flood gates were open. Belnap added three more goals before halftime, on her way to five for the match.
Twin Valley was down 5-0 at the intermission, but the Wildcats were still working hard and trying to hold down the high-powered Eagle offense.
“My group worked hard, they didn’t throw in the towel,” said Walling. “We were clearly overmatched, but at halftime we said ‘Let’s play even with them and try to be physical with them.’”
That approach had some modest results in the second half, as Twin Valley limited Arlington to three goals. The Wildcats stepped up their defensive pressure and were more physical with the Eagles, which helped slow down their offense.
“In the first half we tried to play them straight up,” said Walling. “We learned some things in the second half. If we see them again, there will be changes.”
Arlington coach Aaron Wood said that was the best first half of soccer the Eagles have played all season. High praise, considering the Eagles have only allowed two goals the entire season, while scoring 68 through 10 games.
Despite the score, Walling was pleased with Twin Valley’s play.
“We did some good things Friday. We possessed the ball as good as we have all season. We’re getting there. We just need to see some results and get some confidence.”
Twin Valley’s record dropped to 2-4-1. The matches won’t get any easier for the Wildcats. Tonight they host another top-ranked team, D-3 leader and undefeated Green Mountain. Twin Valley lost 4-1 to Green Mountain earlier in the season.
On Saturday, the Wildcats travel to Stratton Mountain School for Stratton’s annual homecoming weekend. Kickoff is at 2 pm. Twin Valley is right back in action on Monday, October 9, when they host Bellows Falls for a 6 pm match at Hayford Field.