MANCHESTER – Arlington coach Kirk Robinson knew his Eagles needed to come out of the gates with plenty of energy and an early goal, in order to stay with the undefeated No.1 Proctor in Saturday morning’s Division IV Championship game. .
The Eagles ticked one of those two boxes in the first five minutes of play. Sidney Herrington fired a shot from the crossbar a minute and a half into the game, and another shot from Arlington shortly after n didn’t miss the far post by much. No luck materialized, however, and Proctor settled in.
When the Phantoms play their game, they are the Division IV class. They proved it on the Applejack field on Saturday, running away with a 6-1 victory over Arlington for the state championship.
“We were all about that first 10 minutes,” Robinson said. “If any of these (hits) come in, we think we can play them up close the whole way.”
Instead, it was Maggie McKearin who made an impact early on for the Phantoms. The senior entered Saturday’s game with an impressive 42 goals scored during the season. After absorbing Arlington’s initial threats, McKearin put his team on the scoreboard six minutes after a breakaway.
She added a few more points over the next 20 minutes, looking quite comfortable dribbling through traffic and splitting Arlington defenders on the way to the net.
She also put up Emma Palmer on a score during that streak. McKearin’s first-half hat trick gave Proctor a 4-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. The elder said it was crucial for Proctor to be first on the scoreboard against a relentless Arlington side.
“Whether it’s one, two or three goals, I think it’s just important to come out and be on top because this Arlington team will never give up,” McKearin said. “For us hitting first gave us a lot more confidence for the rest of the game and shook our nerves.”
Laci French extended the Phantoms’ lead to 5-0 with 88 seconds left in the first half. French rebounded from a direct kick into Arlington’s net.
Arlington never gave up, playing Proctor even in the second half. Audrey Robinson put a number on the Eagles’ scoreboard with 10:28 to go. Robinson played a direct kick from the right side of the field to the left side of the net, bouncing him past the Proctor goaltender. It made for a 5-1 game.
“We played hard. (Proctor) were a better team, ”said coach Robinson.
Proctor scored the final score with 2:40 left as junior midfielder Jenna Davine found the back of the net.
Denita Moore was solid protecting Arlington’s goal in the second half, stopping seven chances. The senior goalie ended her high school soccer career with a 10-save performance.
It might not have been the end Arlington had hoped for, but coach Robinson took time after the loss to reflect on how the season was going for the No.6 Eagles.
“Amazing season. Beat the three (seed), beat the two, and we knew we had a good step to beat the one, ”said Robinson. “We knew if we did our best we would have a good chance to try and we did our best.”