DeMOTTE — With under a minute remaining, Argos senior Jami Patterson took a ball from Charlie Horn, cut past two defenders at the 18 and hit a shot to her left. The ball careened off the post and into the goal to lift Argos to 2-1 over Boone Grove and clinch the Lady Dragons a repeat sectional title.
Patterson had scored on an assist from Megan Ditmire midway through the first half to give Argos a lead. The Dragons had the better of play for most of the game, and limited 16-2 Boone Grove to three shots on goal in the first half — most long-range snipes grabbed by Argos keeper Karlee VanDerWeele. Despite controlling the match, the early goal was the only one on target, as most Dragon shots went wide or high of the frame.
“Our game plan was to have Allie Flower mark (Paige) Aguliera,” Argos girls soccer coach Jon Alcorn said. “She scored about 40 goals this year and has really been the engine of their team. Allie did a tremendous job, and it really limited their attack, but we just couldn’t find that second goal to give us some breathing room.”
With their star hampered all day, the Wolves needed someone else to step up. Enter Mackenzie Starcevich.
A partially cleared ball fell to her feet and the senior midfielder drove to the right side of the box and hit a strike to the left post to level the match and stun the Dragons in the 78th minute.
“That’s what seniors do. Starcevich hit a rocket,” said Alcorn. “When that happens, it takes your breath away. I’m so proud of our kids because they didn’t falter. Charlie (Horn) had the sense to win the tackle and carry it instead of clearing it. Boone Grove had pushed their strong center back, McCafferty, up trying to equalize, but when they scored, she stayed up. So Jami received a good ball with less pressure.”
The Boone Grove goal, dramatic in its own right with 2:42 remaining, set up the Argos rally, finished by Patterson with only 34 seconds left.
“It was clear that we were a bit better overall, but you have to credit Boone for heart. They kept at it to the end. And for us to take a blow like that and stay composed was incredible,” said Alcorn. “It’s too bad someone had to lose this one.”
The Dragons, now 12-5-2 on the year, return home to regional play at Eugene Snyder field. The one-game Class A Girls Regional will be Saturday at 7 p.m.
• ARGOS 2, BOONE GROVE 1
At Covenant Christian Sectional championship
A — Jami Patterson (Megan Ditmire), 21st minute
B — Mackenzie Starcevich (unassisted), 78th minute
A — Patterson (Charlie Horn), 80th minute
Shots on goal: Argos 3, Boone Grove 6
Saves: Argos 5 (Karlee VanDerWeele), Boone Grove 1 (Rachel Gerhardt)
Corners: Argos 0, Boone Grove 6
Records: Argos 12-5-2, Boone Grove 16-3