CHAMPIONS! Arlington finishes undefeated season with 3-0 win over Proctor

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RANDOLPH — The Arlington girls soccer team had one goal in mind for this season immediately after the last one ended: winning a state championship.

On Saturday, the Eagles realized their dream, beating No. 2 Proctor 3-0 in the Division IV final to finish undefeated and bring a soccer title home for the first time since 2009.

"You couldn't draw it up any better, it's like a dream," said Arlington coach Aaron Wood. "i met with the seniors in the winter and showed them a state championship jacket I had from Twin Valley that said 17-0, state champs. I said this is what you girls have a chance to do, this is how good I think this team is. That's all coach-speak, but to see it actually happen the whole way through is amazing."

Tess Belnap had two of the three goals, giving her a grand total of 44 tallies on the year. Haley Mattison scored with six minutes to go, her 32nd of the season, to seal it.

Proctor dominated play for the first 15 minutes, but some nice work by the Arlington defense and goalie Shaana Staab to keep it a scoreless game. But the Eagles broke out with 14 minutes left in the half. Belnap used some fancy footwork to get through the Phantoms' defense and then was 1-on-1 with Proctor goalie Rachel Stuhmueller to open the scoring.

The Eagles took the single-goal lead to the half and early on Belnap was given a yellow card for dissent, but three minutes later on a run into the box, Mattison was fouled and a penalty kick was called.

A cool and collected Belnap easily converted to double the lead with 36:43 left.

The score took the air out of the Phantoms and the play remained mostly in the Proctor end of the field. Mattison nearly scored with 13 minutes to go, but it was just wide.

A few minutes later, Proctor had its best chance of the half when Staab came out to get the ball in the six-yard box, but a weird bounce ended up at an Arlington defender's foot, who cleared it away.

Mattison sealed it for good with 6:04 left on a left-footed rocket to the near post from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Arlington ends the season at 18-0 in Wood's first season as the head coach of the Eagles, taking over from his father, Dan, this year.

For more on this game, see Monday's Bennington Banner.


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