Lady Dragons top LaVille for 3rd straight sectional title
ARGOS — The Argos Lady Dragons struck early and often on their way to their third sectional championship in a row, this time over the LaVille Lady Lancers with a final score of 5-3 Saturday.
This year’s title was especially satisfying for the Dragons as they only returned four starters from the previous season’s regional champion team. “When you have a team that only returns four starters from a team that went to semistate twice, it’s a big challenge,” said Argos coach Jon Alcorn. “I knew we had a good freshman class coming up. It really took a lot of other kids to step up. It’s very satisfying for the girls and for the coaching staff.”
In this game, the Dragons hit them with a barrage of scoring, putting up three goals in just the first eight minutes of play. The first of those goals came 21 seconds in off of a combination effort by two of the aforementioned freshman.
Kennedy Binkley started it off by playing the ball out ahead of everyone. The LaVille keeper raced up to try and get to the ball and squash any offensive attempt by the Dragons, but freshman forward Courtney Dunlap was able to get there first and get the ball behind the keeper and send it in.
Four minutes later, the Dragons got back on the scoreboard as sophomore Val Rospopo took a shot from the angle. It bounced off of a LaVille defender, and junior Kaitlyn Williams was there to clean it up and put it in. Sixty-nine seconds later, the Dragons were at it again. This time Binkley took the shot, and junior Megan Ditmire was there to clean up the rebound, scoring from a sharp angle at the right of the goal.
The three quick goals would prove to be a game-changer for both teams.
“I think we scored on our first three shots. It’s not typical. It was nice to see things come together. This year we are probably scoring on maybe 10 percent of our shots,” said Alcorn. “I figured this would be a passing game versus a speed game. LaVille is quick. The first three goals all came from good passes. I knew passing we would have an edge on LaVille, but would we be able to finish the ball? When you go three for three, that’s huge.”
LaVille coach Steve Hodge also talked about how the three quick goals changed the landscape of this game.
“The great thing about my team is that they never gave up, but why we spotted them three goals in the first eight minutes I have no idea. The first one went in within 20 seconds. I’m disappointed. They are disappointed with themselves. I can’t change it,” said Hodge. “I still think we are probably the best team. We kept going. We never gave up. We kept fighting.
“I’ve got to hand it to Argos. They played really well. The girls were ready to play. If I could take those first eight minutes back I would, but I can’t. I just want to congratulate Argos on a job well done.”
As Coach Hodge said, even when things looked bleak for the Lancers, they kept fighting.
Senior Nina Zeiger got the Lancers on the board in the 18th minute as she danced around multiple defenders and then sent one to the corner of the goal from about 25 yards out. That cut the deficit to a slightly more manageable 3-1 at the half. Argos added two more goals midway through the second half, one off of a free kick by Dunlap, and one scored by junior Haley Kepler on a rebound off of a corner kick.
Even with the large 5-1 margin, LaVille continued to fight. In the 63rd minute, Nina Zeiger put on a repeat performance of her first goal, making a tremendous play with defenders all around. Junior Heather Roeder scored from the middle of the field also, this time at the 72nd minute. The margin was cut to 5-3, but then time ran out on the Lancers as they weren’t able to complete the rally.
Coach Alcorn talked about the heart and fortitude the Lancers showed in the face of adversity.
“I think LaVille showed a lot of heart.They were down 5-1, and I don’t think they dropped. I think they kept playing the same way. The last two goals they scored were just great shots. I really give Coach Hodge props.When you’re down 5-1, most teams drop. LaVille impressed me with their heart and the way they stuck with it.”
Coach Alcorn also spoke about his team’s struggles mid-season and how they turned things around.
“Mid-season we struggled. We played five or six teams that were playing in a sectional final tonight, so we were playing a good schedule. When we played those good teams, we didn’t really beat any of them,” said Alcorn. “Right about mid-season the girls decided they were done struggling; we found our chemistry, and we were going to start doing it right. That was kind of our moment when we tied Mishawaka Marian. They had to decide mid-season, are we going to fold up after a poor game at Culver Academy or what are we going to do? I think they responded well.”
The Dragons will try to continue their run as they play three-time sectional champion Westview in the regional matchup on Oct. 19. The Dragons lost an earlier tilt with them 1-0 in overtime only a couple of weeks ago. They will be looking to avenge that loss on their way to a third straight regional title.
• ARGOS 5, LaVILLE 3
A—Courtney Dunlap (Kennedy Binkley) 1st minute
A—Katie Williams 5th minute
A—Megan Ditmire 7th minute
L—Nina Zeiger 18th minute
A—Dunlap 55th minute
A—Haley Kepler 61st minute
L—Zeiger 63rd minute
L—Heather Roeder 72nd minute
Shots on Goal: Argos 6, LaVille 9
Saves: Argos 6 (Jenni Fishburn), LaVille 1 (Kyleigh Breden)
Fouls: Argos 12, LaVille 13
Corner Kicks: Argos 2, LaVille 1