It didn't take them long to find it.
Arlington forward Bre Morren got the Eagles up early with a goal in the second minute of the game, and Arlington's quick forwards continued to vex the Bearcats throughout the Eagles' 3-0 Wesco 4A North victory Tuesday night at Monroe High School.
"Emotionally, especially when on the road in a tough place like Monroe, it gives you a huge energy lift," said Arlington head coach Nathan Davis about Morren's early goal. "It was good to get that."
The Eagles controlled possession throughout the game by using their quickness to hurry past the Monroe defenders. Morren's score came after she collected a header by Lily Bynum and put the ball into the back of the net.
McKenzie Buell scored a goal in the 22nd minute after a deflection from teammate Channing Hudson. Buell, who was just a few yards in front of the goal, collected the pass and spun around to shoot.
Not long after halftime, Olivia Larson added Arlington's final goal in the 48th minute with a little chip shot that went over and past the Monroe goalkeeper.
"Up front we did a really nice job putting pressure on them," Davis said. "? We have excellent effort in the midfield and the forwards. They're working hard to get open. They're not rushing. We made good decisions with the ball and kept from turning it over."
Morren didn't play the second half because of a "tweaked hamstring," but Davis hopes she'll be OK and ready to go in the Eagles' next contest.
"She's dangerous. She's fast," Davis said. "Both Bre and Larson are doing a real nice job."
While the offense played well for Arlington (3-1 league, 5-1 overall), the defense did a nice job, too. The Eagles recorded their fourth shutout of the season thanks to their strong defense and goalkeeper Kat Sanchez.
"Our defense kept their spots very well," Davis said. "Our center backs, Kerra Williamson and Madi Grogan, have just done a great job. We've only given up two goals. They've done a great job."
Davis also praised Sanchez, a sophomore, who has made several big saves for Arlington this season.
"Our keeper is young, but she's very quick," Davis said.
Sanchez wasn't tested much in the second half, but had some saves in the early minutes against Monroe. Madison Bradley and Haylee Longsine both got off good shots in the first half that Sanchez helped steer away from the goal.
On the other side of the field, Monroe's starting goalkeeper Sydney Day made several key saves as well for the Bearcats (2-2, 2-4). Day was under almost constant fire in the early minutes as Arlington got off to its quick start.
Day had a strong showing in goal, but left the game in the 65th minute after contorting awkwardly for a save. Loryn Moore came out and didn't allow Arlington to score in the final 15 minutes.
After the game, Monroe head coach Kathleen Potthast praised Day -- and Moore -- and said the former should be fine for the Bearcats' next game.
"I have two talented keepers and that helped on some of the breakaways," Potthast said. "? Even with the score 3-0, I thought both of our goalkeepers played very well for us."
Potthast said the Bearcats knew Arlington was a team that was fast and with quick-strike capabilities. They were hoping to force a defensive battle and keep the game a low-scoring affair.
"We knew we were playing a talented team," Potthast said. "We knew that we had to stay in the game in the first half, and hopefully shut them out. Hopefully, go into halftime tied 0-0."
However, Arlington was able to get the early score and seize the momentum early in the game. Davis was pleased with his team getting a victory on the road, on a turf field -- where the ball "moves a little quicker" -- and against a tough opponent.
"This is a great one for us to get," Davis said. "Monroe's a tough team. They're always physical and they're talented. They're great in the air and they play the ball really well.
"This is a valuable one."
At Monroe High School
Goals–Bre Morren (A), McKenzie Buell (A), Olivia Larson (A). Assists–Lily Bynum (A), Channing Hudson (A). Goalkeepers–Arlington: Kat Sanchez. Monroe: Sydney Day, Loryn Moore. Records–Arlington 3-1 league, 5-1 overall. Monroe 2-2, 2-4.
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