BRATTLEBORO -- When the Twin Valley boys soccer team huddled up in one corner of Sawyer Field during halftime of Friday’s Division 4 quarterfinal, it’s possible that Tony Tarr drifted off toward a phone booth.
In the second half, he was Tarr-ific.
The striker put away a rebound and later scored off a throw-in to give the No. 2 Wildcats a 2-0 victory over 10th ranked Arlington.
"Tony is an interesting player. I’m not sure where his head was at. If you watched him early on, there was just no energy in the young man. And then he goes and scores the game winner," said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. "That’s Tony in a nutshell."
With the victory, the Wildcats will return to BUHS on Monday for a semifinal matchup with No. 6 Cabot at 3 p.m. And they might need another clutch defensive performance from Cade Nesbitt.
"Cade was the player of the game in my opinion," added Hayford. "He marked No. 7 (Fred Pickering) and took him right out of the match. That kid had maybe five hat tricks during the season."
Twin Valley keeper Sam Molner, who only had to make two saves against the Eagles, had his second postseason shutout in as many games. His team was coming off of a 4-0 rout of Twinfield in the prelims.
"I told my players at halftime that the longer we let Arlington hang around the more confident they will become. They’re a good team," stated the Twin Valley coach, whose team went to the break in a scoreless deadlock.
The Eagles nearly took the lead early in the second half, when Austin Hawley’s corner feed was pushed just wide by Alex Trayah. John Esposito then curved a shot across the face of the goal and just outside the far post. Pickering’s direct kick over the Twin Valley wall sailed high.
A frustrated Hayford was trying to energize his troops. "Work as hard as Colin (Lozito) is," he would often yell out.
Tarr, who just moments before was talking to himself in disgust for not making the proper play, was in the right place at the right time when it mattered most. Hunter Therrien rifled a shot from the right wing that Arlington goalie DJ Jennings was unable to secure and the rebound went right to Tarr, who drove it into the back of the net with 18 minutes remaining.
Ten minutes later, Tarr would strike again. Dal Nesbitt took a throw-in near the corner and Tarr headed it past Jennings to make it 2-0.
Thanks to a steal by Eli Park and more solid marking from Cade Nesbitt down the stretch, the Eagles were unable to threaten.
The Wildcats outshot their foes 4-0 in the opening half, but all of them were low percentage. Lozito was denied three times by Jennings, while the towering goalie also caught a shot from Therrien.
The early highlight was started by Cade Nesbitt. He swiped the ball deep in Twin Valley territory and sent it ahead to Lozito, who put it on the foot of Tarr and the striker’s attempt drifted just wide.
Moments later, Tarr was spotted heading toward a phone booth and returned as a totally different player.
In other Division 4 quarterfinals, No. 1 Proctor blanked West Rutland 2-0, No. 4 Sharon zipped Black River 3-0, and No. 6 Cabot edged Danville 2-1.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.