Wildcats take out aggression on Arlington

After two straight road losses that knocked them out of first place in the Wesco North Division, the Oak Harbor boys soccer team took out their frustrations on the Arlington Eagles on Wednesday night.

Big time.

Led by Senior Brent Thompson’s four goals and dominant play in the midfield, the Wildcats routed the Eagles 9-0 to improve their record to 7-2-1.

“We played very well tonight, but you have to give Arlington credit,” said Wildcats head coach Steve Barker. “They never really gave up and they didn’t let the game get out of hand with rough play.

This game was nice, it got us back on track, but now it’s behind us.”

The Wildcats dominated play over the last-place Eagles in the first half, going up 3-0 on two goals by Kyle Rip and and a Thompson penalty kick. Oak Harbor got on the board first when in the 30th minute forward Kyle Veach was brought down on the left side of the penalty box. Thompson converted on the penalty kick and the score was 1-0.

“In soccer, getting the first goal is important,” said Barker. “If you can get the first two goals, the other team really has to go uphill.”

Minutes later, the Cats had Arlington going up a really long, steep hill. Senior Dustin VanVelkinburgh took a corner from the right side and found junior Kyle Rip who pounced on the ball and put it past the Arlington goalkeeper to make the score 2-0. After several more good Oak Harbor chances, Rip got the final tally of the first half when he blasted a long shot that deflected off of teammate Grant Bull and went in the net.

As the second half began, the rain that was falling in the first half stopped, but the Wildcats continued to pour it on.

Thompson put Oak Harbor ahead 4-0 with his second goal of the contest early in the second half. He completed the hat trick just minutes later when Bull made a swift run from the left side and crossed a pass over to Thompson. The senior midfielder then dribbled past the goalie and a defender before chipping the ball into the net for an easy score.

Bull set up the Wildcats’ next goal as well. This time he made a run from the right side, crossed the ball to Thompson who headed it over to forward Cody Parker who blasted in a volley to make the score 6-0. Minutes later Thompson got goal number four on a blast from inside the box.

“I’ve had a few hat tricks my sophomore year, but never four, it’s kind of sweet,” Thompson said of his scoring outburst.

The only question that remained was if the Cats could reach double-digits on scoring. They came close. After an Alex Fulwiler goal off a corner kick, senior defender Chad Asmus blasted in a curling shot that put the Wildcats up 9-0 with about 15 minutes remaining in the game. Arlington had a chance in the final minutes to avoid the shutout, but Wildcats goalie James Moreno was there to make the stop in one of his few moments of action during the game.

Besides his scoring output, Thompson controlled the flow of the game from the midfield, or more accurately, Arlington’s side of the field. Thompson did a wonderful job of setting up the Wildcat attack and stopping the Eagles from mounting many charges of their own.

“Brent was tremendous in the midfield,” said Barker. “He works very hard and controlled the field for us. He does all the little things well.”

Barker also praised several other team members for having solid outings.

“Cody Parker worked very hard up front for us and James Higgins was solid as well. It’s good to see that we have more players stepping up as the season goes along.”

Bull was another Cat credited by Barker for having an outstanding game despite not scoring a goal. With the Eagles marking Bull tightly, the junior striker did a superb job of setting up his teammates, recording four assists on the night.

“Grant had four assists tonight and played fantastic,” said Barker. “He set people up when he got the ball down in the box. He did what I asked him to do. He laid the ball off when he got pressed.”

Thompson agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“Grant Bull had a great game,” said the senior captain. “He was setting up everything left and right tonight. He was generous with the ball and just played really well.”

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