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Spy Ponder Girls Soccer Ties Up Against Belmont, 2-2

Speedy Spy Ponder Robinson wreaks havoc to Marauder D but Belmont comes back for draw.

How fast is Arlington's ? Really fast.

This spring, Robinson was one of the top 20 high school juniors running the 400 meters in the US, recording a personal best of 55:03 for the one lap.

Now put that raw speed on the soccer pitch and watch out.

And when the first-time varsity gets the ball on the fly, the best even expert defenders is hope is that someone is coming to help. And pray.

Twice, Robinson quickness punished Belmont's otherwize stellar defense with goals, giving the Spy Ponders the lead over their new league neighbors.

But experience and steady pressure provided by an experienced midfield presented the Mauraders (2-1-1, 2-1-1) with the opportunity to tie the game only minutes after falling behind midway through a  rainy second half, salvaging a 2-2 tie with Arlington (1-1-1, 1-1-1) Thursday, Sept. 15.

"I don't care if you put two, three or five defenders on her, she's going to beat them," said C. Paul Austin, Arlington's first-year head coach, about Robinson.

"And she'll only get better. Now she's scoring on one of four shots. Soon that will increase," he said.

For Belmont's long time coach, Paul Graham, the game proved that this Belmont team can come back from making "too many mistakes."

"I credit our tournement experience. We've seen that, done that. We know how to come back in a game," said Graham.

Robinson's speed down the left side resulted in the first goal after only 11 minutes of the first half when she zoomed by the Marauders' defense to slot the ball in front of the net where Maria Cali passed to forward Collen Kane who scored beating Belmont's Maria-Alice Manetas.

Belmont would leave it late in the half before tying the score when a free kick 30 meters from the net resulted in a collision between Arlington's goalie Hanna Howe-Luboeich and Belmont forward Charlotte Alexander, allowing the ball to squirt free for Kara Fischer to run up and plant it by the fallen netminder.

By the end of the period, Belmont began controling more of the game as the Marauders midfield quartet – Joanna Albert, Izzy Goldstein, Corrine Ognibene and Alexander – were not allowing Arlington from crossing the center line. 

Momentum changed sides with the teams as Arlington began the second half playing the long ball into space for Robinson who continued to wreak havoc in the back. Robinson created the best two opportunities in the half, with a shot from the outside and spearheading a two-on-one with Gabi Galvin, both times stopped by Manetas.

But just before the halfway in the half, Robinson made Belmont pay, racing by the only defender on the right side and powering a shot by a sprawling Manetas at the 21 minute mark, giving the senior three goals and two assists to share the points lead in the Middlesex League with five.

But it only took Belmont a little more than two minutes to tie the game up once again. A disputed corner kick was awarded to Belmont that ended up in the center of a penalty box 'mixer' finally settling on the right foot of Alexander 10 meters out. Alexander – who Graham moved from midfield to foward for this game – made no mistake with her kick, scoring just under the diving Howe-Luboeich. With an assist, Belmont forward Emma Teach shares the Middlesex League scoring lead with Robinson. 

And as the drizzle became a shower for the final 15 minutes of the game, Belmont stepped up the pressure against Arlington. But the Spy Ponder's back line of Sophia Hirsch, Natalie Tarantino and Cali cut off inside moves by Marauder strikers allowing Howe-Luboeich to face only easy challenges.

Next up for Arlington is Woburn (2-2-0) at home on Tuesday while Belmont must visit arch-rival and current Middlesex League leader Winchester (3-0-1) away on Tuesday.

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