Eagles extend streak against game WR

Arlington's Tees Belnap, center right, 11, tries to move through West Rutland's defense, Madison Guay, left, 8, and Kasey Serrani, 14, right, during the varsity soccer game in West Rutland Friday night. (Robert Layman / Staff Photo)

WEST RUTLAND — Tradition never graduates. A large group of players from last year’s 2017 Division IV state championship team turned their tassels, but the Arlington girls soccer team hasn’t missed a beat. On Monday, the Eagles won their 21st straight game, trimming West Rutland 5-2. “We’re definitely thinking of doing it again,” Arlington junior forward Haley Mattison said after riddling the Golden Horde with two goals and an assist. “We’re really young, not like last year. But we are still strong up the middle,” Arlington coach Aaron Wood said. The Eagles are off to a 3-0 start after shutting out Otter Valley and Leland & Gray. But West Rutland coach Deanna Rodolfy found a lot to like about her team, too. The Golden Horde never quit. They scored the last two goals of the game and were pounding away until the horn sounded. “I felt like we couldn’t buy a goal, but we came back,” Rodolfy said. “I am pretty proud of how the girls played.” “I’m so impressed by West Rutland every time we play them,” Wood said. “They never stopped fighting.” Westside applied pressure from the outset, making several bids to get on the board first. Samantha Callahan whistled a hard shot wide and Kiera Pipeling launched a shot on goal that Arlington keeper Shaana Staab was able to knock away. Anna Cyr also made a nice run into the box for the Horde. But it was the Eagles getting the upper hand and it came on an own goal 16 minutes into the game. Eighth grader Schuyler Nolan sent a hard shot that keeper Serena Coombs made an outstanding save on only to have the rebound carom off a West Rutland player and into the goal. It was just over two minutes later that Tess Belnap cushioned the lead. Belnap, acknowledged by many as the premier player in Division IV, took the ball deep into the box by shaking a defender with a nifty fake and then rammed it home. The Eagles took a 4-0 lead into halftime thanks to goals by Kierstyn Hess and Mattison. Both came from the perimeter. Hess’ goal was from 20 yards out and assisted by Mattison. Mattison’s was a gorgeous shot from 25 yards in the upper corner. Mattison kept it going with a well-placed shot inside of a minute of the second half. Westside kept knocking. Callahan nailed a screamer just wide and Abi Farrow had another strong bid. It was Callahan who found the net with 21:08 remaining. Pipeling nearly scored again for the Horde, tattooing the crossbar on a direct kick. Another time, Pipeling hung a dangerous looking corner kick in front of the goal but Staab, experienced as the keeper on last year’s title team, leaped and punched it away. Then, with 3:38 to go, Madison Guay rang up her first varsity goal to account for the final score. Pipeling had the assist. The Horde kept attacking. Pipeling shot just wide. “If that goes in, it’s a game again,” Wood said. Wood credited Pipeling for a strong defensive job on Belnap. “That’s probably the toughest assignment in the state,” Wood said. The contest was played in a driving rain. The Eagles and Horde both have stern tests on deck. Arlington travels to Fair Haven to play the Division II Slaters under the lights on Friday. The Golden Horde has rival Proctor coming to town for homecoming Saturday. Follow Tom on Twitter @RHSportsGuy tom.haley@rutlandherald.com

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