ARGOS — Coming into Thursday’s showdown at Eugene Snyder Field, both Argos and Culver Girls Academy had won close matches with South Bend Trinity to start Northern Indiana Soccer Conference play. The winner of Thursday’s tilt would grab the conference favorite role.
The Lady Dragons and Eagles battled through a scoreless first half with only five shots on goal between the teams. Jami Patterson finally broke the stalemate on a Lillie Kozuch through ball midway through the second half, and Argos made it stand up for the 1-0 NISC victory.
“We were feeling each other out to some extent,” said Argos girls soccer coach Jon Alcorn of the first half. “I felt we started with better possession, but they finished with better possession. (CGA) Coach (Nate) King is, in my opinion, one of the best around, so I felt we had to start the half well, because they’d come out ready. We didn’t change our formation, but we moved some kids around, and I decided to toss a freshman, Mariah Lineberry, into the fire a bit. She showed great energy in the first half, and we needed to start the first five minutes with energy. In the first half, we lost possession when we got tired. I knew we had to fight for possession or they’d wear us down.”
The Dragons started the kick-off with some strong possession, but CGA answered with good pressure of its own. The difference came on a Dragon counter that caught the Eagles defense wrong-footed.
Freshman defender Lillie Kozuch won a ball in the defending third and spotted senior forward Patterson at midfield. Patterson collected Kozuch’s through ball behind the central defender and beat keeper Oliva Fox for the game-winner in the 53rd minute.
Patterson had missed an open goal opportunity in the opening frame, so the play was a redemption of sorts.
“The middle defender was holding the midfield stripe trying to let Jami run offsides, but one of the outside backs missed the push up and left her on,” said Alcorn. “Unfortunate for them, because their defense was mostly solid all night — but a great finish for Jami.”
The Eagles picked up the pressure to close the game but were unable to create many good shots.
After the game, Argos senior keeper and captain Karlee VanDerWeele collected the Dragons at midfield and reminded her squad that this was the first win for the seniors versus CGA.
“I felt like Karlee about the game,” Alcorn said. “I know the early conference lead was on the line, but it was more about this team and these seniors breaking that streak (to CGA). We generally try to emphasize playing well and getting better, but Shelby (Sanders) read them the quote from our team shirt at the half — about daring to succeed. I challenged them at the half to want this game. We started the half strongly, lost composure at times, but continued to fight to regain it. I have to applaud these kids.”
Alcorn also noted the strong defensive play of Abby Stauffer, Madi Williams, Charlie Horn and Haley Kepler along with Sanders.
Argos raised its mark to 5-3-2 (2-0 NISC), while CGA fell to 4-5 (1-1 NISC). The Dragons host Clay Saturday at 10 a.m. (JV first), while the Eagles travel to Syracuse for a 1 p.m. game with Wawasee.
• ARGOS 1,
CULVER GIRLS ACADEMY 0
A — Jami Patterson (Lillie Kozuch), 53rd minute
Shots On Goal: Argos 6, CGA 3
Saves: Argos 3 (Karlee VanDerWeele), CGA 5 (Olivia Fox)
Corners: Argos 1, CGA 3
Records: Argos 5-3-2 (2-0 NISC), CGA 4-5 (1-1 NISC)