Eagles roll past Rockets in D-IV playdown

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ARLINGTON — It took a few minutes to get going, but once the No. 5 Arlington girls soccer team found the back of the net in its opening round playoff game against No. 12 Richford, it was smooth sailing into the quarterfinals.

Lilah Ward had a hat trick and Lilith Fuchs came up with two goals and two assists in a 9-1 win over the Rockets.

"The first game can be a little slow, against a new opponent, it wasn't a surprise," said Arlington coach Aaron Wood. "We moved the ball well after [the start] and once we did, it was impossible to defend."

Right off the opening whistle, Arlington had opportunities to score, but a header went just over the crossbar and a few minutes later off a corner, a shot went off the side post.

In the 14th minute, the aggressive play paid off when Fuchs took a throw-in and drove it past Richford goalie Austin Archambault for a 1-0 lead.

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Less than a minute, Fuchs scored again, cleaning up a rebound when Archambault made a stop on the first attempt.

"Having Lilith in the midfield is a big thing for us," said Ward, who reached 19 goals on the season. "We're working well together. It clicks and we've figured out how it works."

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Ward tallied her first goal of the game with 20:46 left in the first half, going 1-on-1 with the keeper to make it 3-0. Two minutes after that, it was 4-0 when Haley Mattison's free kick went toward the net, where Kaylee Bushee hit it off her side and in.

Richford came back with a counter with 15:31 left, Liz Snider catching the Arlington defense off-guard for a score. But it only took the Eagles 67 seconds to regain the four-goal lead when Ward made a strong run into the box and scored for a 5-1 advantage.

"We moved Lilah to midfield after the West Rutland game here [the opening game of the year on Aug. 30]. Lilith is coming into her own and Haley is still the same talented player she's always been," Wood said. "We've really jelled as a team."

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The second half was all Arlington as they scored four more times in the final 40 minutes. Mattison scored two minutes into the half, assisted by Fuchs. Ward scored her third with 29:16 left and then Natalia Hoyt added the final two goals three minutes apart.

"We had five goal scorers today, so that's really encouraging," Wood said. "Our backs were good too, except for the one hiccup."

Archambault had 13 saves for Richford, who finish the season at 3-12. Denita Moore had five stops for Arlington, who will face No. 4 Blue Mountain on Friday at 3 p.m.

"It's a clean slate and everyone is the same," Ward said. "We have to go in 100 percent and see what happens."


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