Arlington’s Brian Torres (18) heads the ball during a boys soccer game between Archbishop Murphy and Arlington at Arlington High School on Monday, April 15, 2024 in Arlington, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Arlington’s Brian Torres (18) heads the ball during a boys soccer game between Archbishop Murphy and Arlington at Arlington High School on Monday, April 15, 2024 in Arlington, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Archbishop Murphy routs Arlington 7-0 in boys soccer

Gabe Herrera scores a hat trick, and Zach Mohr contributes two goals for the Wildcats.

ARLINGTON — The Archbishop Murphy High School boys soccer team made a strong statement Monday night.

The Wildcats went into John C. Larson Stadium to face a quality Arlington team, and they left with a 7-0 victory over the Eagles in a Wesco 3A/2A game for their largest win of the season.

Senior forward Gabe Herrera tallied a hat trick, junior midfielder Zach Mohr netted two goals, and juniors Paul Holeman and Corvan Lara each contributed one for the Wildcats (6-3-2 overall and in league), who rebounded from their 2-0 loss to Wesco 3A/2A-leading Shorewood last Wednesday. The result pulled Archbishop Murphy into a fourth-place tie with Arlington (7-3-2, 6-3-2) in the league standings as the the race for playoff positioning tightened further.

All of Archbishop Murphy’s goals came in the final 42 minutes of the game. Mohr broke the ice in the 38th minute, then the Wildcats scored four times in the first 12 minutes of the second half to turn the game into a rout.

Wildcats coach Mike Bartley said he knew Arlington would attack more, specifically on long balls, so his tactic was to change from a buildup formation to a counter-attack system.

“We knew they play three in the back, and we play three in the front, so we wanted to expose them on the one-twos and get around them,” Bartley said. “In the first half, (Arlington) did a super good job of marking. So we talked about attacking the space behind. … And that’s how we got the through balls to be wide open.”

The strategy paid immediate dividends. Herrera scored less than a minute into the second half to give Archbishop Murphy a 2-0 lead, hitting a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner. He struck again just two minutes later, scoring on a breakaway from a Mohr assist. Mohr got his second when he struck a right-footed hit into the bottom-left corner in the 48th minute, and Holeman completed the blitz by making it 5-0 in the 52nd minute.

Herrera captured his third goal of the night in the 74th minute, and Lara made it 7-0 a minute later.

“With my midfield, I have a good connection with them,” Herrera said, “so when they see me make that run, they always give me that ball.”

The postseason is looming with both teams having four games remaining in the regular season. The Wildcats have an easier conclusion, while the Eagles face an undefeated Edmonds-Woodway team and battle-tested Shorecrest squad their next two games.

”I had the idea that instead of sitting back and locking in defensively like we’ve done the last couple years, I thought, ‘Let’s go and take chances forward.’ And tonight was the case of when you play with fire, you can potentially get burned,” Arlington coach Kieren Raney said. “We’re going to have short-term memory with this one and move on. … It stings, and I am in some way glad that it happened now rather than too close to playoffs.”

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