Dragons rout West Lafayette, 6-1

FULTON — If you’ve followed Argos boys soccer this season, you’ve no doubt noticed the impressive variety of names on the score sheet.
The Dragons used that versatility to good affect once more Saturday, handing West Lafayette a 6-1 rout at the Caston Boys Soccer Regional championship.
Zach Stockman and Damon Binkley each scored twice, while Ronald Tanner and Sean Mullaney also each tallied goals as the Dragons rallied back from a 1-0 deficit for their first regional title since 2001.
“It’s not only having the guys who can do it, it’s having the guys that do it,” said Argos Head Boys Soccer Coach Todd VanDerWeele. “And it’s not even just scoring; everybody has been stepping up when it’s their chance. When the opportunity presents itself, each kid steps up... and it doesn’t matter who it is, and it continues to happen. That’s one good thing about these guys — they’re very good at covering for each other. It doesn’t matter to them who gets what, they just want to be successful as a team, and it’s fun.”
Argos found itself scrambling early as Brian Anderson scored for West Lafayette in the game’s first minute, but after a penalty kick shootout win over Bremen for the Culver Sectional championship Oct. 8 and a nip-tuck regional semifinal win over Oak Hill Tuesday at Caston, the Dragons showed some serious poise Saturday.
Tanner scored on a penalty kick in the third minute, and freshman Binkley notched a pair of goals in the ninth and 11th minutes to give the Dragons a 3-1 advantage during an eight-minute flurry. Stockman scored his first goal of the night in the 33rd minute to put Argos up 4-1 at the half, and, not content with that lead, Mullaney and Stockman added two more scores in the 64th and 67th minutes, respectively, to put the game away.
“I was hoping we would respond and I thought we would respond. I didn’t think we would respond to the magnitude that we did,” said VanDerWeele. “Hat’s off to them. They just focused and took advantage of the opportunities and really put a lot of pressure on a really good team. I think West Lafayette was just stunned when we scored those three goals at the beginning of the game.
“We kind of learned some lessons against Bremen because we didn’t respond the way we should have after we scored some goals,” VanDerWeele added. “We had a little bit of that against Oak Hill, but tonight there was no let-up. I think that’s just the maturation of the guys. They’ve learned, they’ve gotten better, and now they’re playing with some confidence. Hopefully we can continue that.”
Following their win, the Dragons headed back to their home pitch at Eugene Snyder Field to celebrate with the Argos girls team, which picked up a 3-0 win over Hanover Central for the girls title and the regional sweep Saturday night.
“It’s exciting that Argos, the boys and girls are both able to have some success,” said VanDerWeele. “We’ve had some success for the first time in awhile, and we get to do it together. I think that’s really exciting for the school and for the community.”
West Lafayette closes at 11-7-1 as Argos improves to 13-6. The Dragons move on to play conference rival Bethany Christian
(17-3-1) in the opener at the LaVille Semistate Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner will play the winner of another semifinal match-up between Fort Wayne Canterbury (15-1-4) and Guerin Catholic (13-5-2) in the championship at 7 p.m. at Newton Park.
“We just played Bethany two weeks ago. They have got so many weapons, so much speed,” VanDerWeel said. “We played them at their place, and we lost on two PKs. We played them really tough, we played a man down the whole second half. They’re in our conference, there is a lot of familiarity between the two so it’s going to be a battle.”
At Caston Regional
First half
W. Lafayette — Brian Anderson, 1st minute
Argos — Ronald Tanner (PK), 3rd minute
Argos — Damon Binkley, 9th minute
Argos — Binkley (Tanner), 11th minute
Argos — Zach Stockman (Jordan O’Dell), 33rd minute
Second half
Argos — Sean Mullaney, 64th minute
Argos — Stockman (Taylor Ogle), 67th minute
Shots on goal: W. Lafayette 3, Argos 7
Saves: W. Lafayette 1, Argos 2
Corners: W. Lafayette 7, Argos 1
Fouls: W. Lafayette 11, Argos 12
Record: Argos 13-6, West Lafayette 11-7-1 (final).