by Ken Brown
ARLINGTON – The Hazen Union girls’ soccer team ran into the hottest team in Division IV last week, falling to sixth seeded Arlington in the first round of the playoffs to end their season.
Taylor Wilkins scored all three of her goals in the first 25 minutes to power Arlington to a 5-0 home win over the Lady Cats in the first round of the Division IV tournament. Staked to a 3-0 lead at halftime, Sidney Herrington put the match out of reach midway through the second half, giving the home team a four goal cushion.
“We had a tough match after a long bus ride and never got into a groove of playing our best soccer,” said head coach Harry Besett. “They had a lot of very strong athletes in the middle and were able to muscle us around,” added Besett.
Magnolia Robinson converted a penalty kick late to end the scoring on the day. The Lady Eagle defense shut down Hazen’s attack to earn their eighth shutout of the season. Arlington lost four of their first five matches to start the season, but edged Blue Mountain over the weekend 1-0 in the quarterfinals to run their winning streak to 11. They lost to Proctor in the title game last season and will look for revenge this week as both teams square-off in the semifinals. Hazen Union finishes the season at 5-9-1, but Besett’s young squad played their best soccer at the end of the season, winning four of their last seven matches. He will lose Alexis Christensen, Maverick Murphy, Lily Castle, and Gabby Stanciu to graduation, but returns a talented nucleus on both sides of the pitch that gained invaluable varsity experience this fall. Besett is only two years removed from leading a veteran Lady Cat squad to the Division IV state title game and likes the way his program is trending in developing their young talent.
“Our four seniors this year have led the team through a very enjoyable season that had a lot more positives than negatives. They were great student athletes to work with, on and off the field. We are losing four strong seniors, but bringing in a group of freshman with a lot of potential, four of which helped out during a few matches this year. If we can get everyone back next year, we should be able to start out on the front foot and put together a competitive team. I look forward to continuing to build on the growth this program has made over the past two seasons,” said Besett.