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Mud cant stop Eagles
Tiltons goalscoring leads Eagles in muddy bog game against Lake Stevens
In field conditions bordering on comical, the Arlington Eagles boys soccer team took down the Lake Stevens Vikings 2-1 in a physical, hard-fought match.
The April 24 game was played under a driving rain storm, making passing difficult and dribbling the ball next to impossible. Arlington persevered through the conditions and the formidable Vikings team to capture a huge victory for the school.
Lake Stevens came into the game nationally ranked and it showed in their team speed, even through the puddles.
In the games fifth minute Arlington goalie Keith Bayer stopped a low line drive, sprawling out across the mouth of the goal. Two Viking forwards slid into him and one knocked the ball loose, the other finished it into the net for an apparent early lead. However, the referee correctly ruled that Bayer had control of the ball and awarded Arlington a free kick. It proved to be a much needed break for the Eagles.
Minutes later, in the only clear chance for either team the rest of the half, John Tilton took a pass along the right wing and somewhat miraculously managed to weave his way past three onrushing defenders. He jetted down the right side and with only the goalie to beat, flicked home a right-footed finish past the splash that was the Viking goalkeeper.
The crowd erupted, and deservedly so. It was a remarkable goal, made even more spectacular given the field conditions.
Lake Stevens appeared stunned, as they have not trailed in many matches this year. The rest of the first half took place in the midfield as both teams struggled to connect passes. Often a player would streak forward dribbling the ball, only to be held up by a particularly deep puddle of water which halted the ball completely.
At the start of the second half, an obviously shocked Lake Stevens side ratcheted up the intensity. They came out white-hot with anger and intensity, pushing Arlington back onto their heels. But Arlington dug in and behind the staunch defending of Mike Huston and Mike Baxter, kept the Vikings out for much of the half.
However, Lake Stevens was relentless and in the 64th minute scored on a shot from 20 yards out. Their forward broke free and found a smidgen of daylight at a good angle from the goal and proceeded to hammer home the equalizing goal.
Arlington, bowed but not broken, gathered themselves up and kept the score level. The remaining minutes of the second half were full of tension as even small chances became weighted with importance. Keith Bayer made several impressive stops of Viking chances in the waning minutes.
Arlingtons last offensive chance came on a corner kick with only seconds remaining. The ball came across the Viking goalmouth and was not controlled by either team, skidding sloppily across the wet grass. Juan Guadarrama had the best shot at a possible finish, but could not capitalize.
After 80 minutes, the score remained knotted 1-1. The teams went into sudden death and within the first three minutes, John Tilton again broke free from the Lake Stevens defense on the right side. He shot from 15 yards out at a 45 degree angle from the goal and his blast streamed past the Lake Stevens keeper into the back of the net. The celebration began in earnest for Arlington as the players ran across the grass to congratulate each other.
Coach Mike Gudgeon looked thrilled afterwards.
Im elated. Ive talked to the guys a lot about the ups and downs of the season. They showed a lot of heart to pull out this victory. Now weve put ourselves in a good position for districts.
John Tilton was equally pleased with the teams work.
I dont even know what to say. Weve really stepped it up as the year has gone on. We fought back tonight after they scored.
The Eagles have the district playoffs to look forward to now, after this, the defining victory of their season.
They play again versus Cascade on May 3.