For the Arlington Aviators Aaron Burns scored a hat trick to raise his goal total to 9 on the season, pushing him into a tie for 3rd-best in the league.
For the Oly Town Artesians it was a group of guys that each had a brace (two goals) that lifted the home side to a 9-7 win.
Burns and Issa Hassan, JC Henson, Sebastian Lyons and William Ramirez are the last WISL Players of the Week for the 2014-15 regular season.
You could forgive Aaron Burns if he packed it in last week. His Aviators were trailing big on their way to the end of a tough, winless season. He didn’t give up, though. Instead Burns came alive with a 4th-quarter hat trick that rallied his side to within two goals.
“Aaron is a top quality finisher. Very calm. I could call him ice man,” says Aviators head coach Dagi Kasim. Arlington General Manager Merrick Parnell has been singing the praises of his forward most of the season. “Aaron Burns is world-class and his poise and skill are second to none. He is a true leader that leads and motivates by example and by his passion for the game.” These characteristics were on display last Saturday in Olympia.
“We needed some big plays and as a captain I lead by example,” Burns tells WISLnews.com. “I wanted to show the rest of the team that all we missed was a little hard work and big things can happen.”
There was no way to pick one single player from the Oly Town Artesians as “Player of the Week” after a group of four each scored two goals and played so well. So Hassan, Henson, Lyons and Ramirez are a four-pick. With Burns, that makes this week a 5-spot.
“After the loss to the Stars (15-2), our guys easily could have packed it in for the season and called it good,” says team founder, owner and GM Brandon Sparks. “But we fought hard in Wenatchee and learned a lot more from the mistakes made there than we did in Tacoma and had a little team bonding because of the long trip and the bad weather. We then had an easy-going, fun week for our friendly and it set up the most intense and focused week of practices that I have seen from this team before the Arlington game.”
Oly Town has relied on the offensive antics of Willie Spurr (10 goals) all season, but Sparks says others were forced to step up against Arlington. “With Willie Spurr nursing some injuries, we needed an influx of offense and we got it from four players that haven’t played big minutes this season. JC, Issa and William have only been with the team since the middle of January while Sebastian has played off and on. They all had goals in the first quarter that helped us build a 5-0 lead and all four scored when we needed them in the second half and that made the Aviators comeback attempt that much more difficult.”
Oly Town head coach Nate Salveson liked his team’s effort and progress. “Our defensive effort from the entire team created opportunities for everyone and it was reflected on the score sheet this weekend,” Nate says.
“Our focus this week was on the defensive side of the ball. We haven’t had issues putting the ball in the net all year. We went into this game with the notion that strong defense will feed our offense. The defensive effort was put on all players including our runners up front providing strong pressure on the ball with the men in the midfield and back marking tight. We were able to force Arlington to rush passes forward and found ourselves in good positions to challenge for the balls at midfield and immediately run at them. Our men up front did a great job of finishing their opportunities.”
As for that guy on the other side of the ball for Arlington that refused to give up? “We all know Aaron very well and he did a tremendous job positioning himself well and finishing in front of the net to pull his team back into the game. In the end, our defense was able to limit his chances and contain the damage he was able to do,” Salveson says.
Previous Players of the Week: Danny Romero, Willie Spurr, Andrew Weishaar, Derek Johnson, Derek Johnson. Nick Cashmere, Adrian Espinoza, Aaron Anderson / Chris Kintz, Aaron Anderson / Tacoma Stars Defense.
For the WISL Playoffs, and going forward, the league will begin awarding an Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week.