ARGOS — The Argos girls soccer team’s tournament run came to an end Saturday with a 2-0 loss to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in the opening round of the Class A Argos Semistate at Eugene Snyder Field.
The bigger Knights, with their physical size and superior midfield passing, posted a 17-1 advantage in shots on goal. The majority of those shots, however, came from long distance and were easily handled by Argos keeper Karlee VanDerWeele. The senior captain had one leaping parry in the first 20 minutes to stop a hard shot from Luers’ Mayson Whitman, and it looked like Argos would get on the board first. Megan Ditmire combined with Jami Patterson to break through the Knights’ defense, only to watch the shot roll past the post. That turned out to be the story of the day as Argos put most of their shots just past the post.
While the Knights continued to snipe from long distance, their most effective tactic turned out to be crosses from the wings.
Kelly Dwire sent a low driving cross from the wing at shoulder height, and Whitman finally corralled it for a 1-0 Knight edge. Whitman’s score, her 29th of the year, was followed a minute later by a similar cross from Jordan Turpchinoff. This time, the ball careened off a Dragon defender for an own goal.
“I suppose it has to go down as an own goal, but with their pressure, they deserved it”, Argos coach Jon Alcorn said, “Whitman is a big, strong kid, and we did well to hold her off as much as we did. We really gave up a lot of height and pounds to them overall.”
The hosts managed to fend off the Knights and hang around.
Down two at the half, the Dragons adjusted to move another player up top. With 15 minutes to go in the game, junior Raelynn LaFrance received a pass and attacked hard at the right back. She cut around the defense and took it straight to goal, fought off two defenders, and slipped a low shot just past the pipe — Argos’ theme on the day.
“We dropped the marker on Whitman at the half and moved Raelynn up to striker,” Alcorn said. “We moved Charlie Horn up to midfield and dropped Sammie (Hopkins) to a holding mid. Charlie is a lefty with energy and Sammie’s a good passer, and we just wanted to throw a different look at them. In trying to find something that worked, Raelynn sat for a time, and she’s not used to that. When she got back in and made that charge, it was like she realized it was fold or fight. She decided to fight and it seemed to energize us. I’m really proud of how we played that last 15 minutes.”
With time waning, the Dragons began pushing defenders up. Twice Whitman counterattacked and found herself one-on-one with the Argos keeper. VanDerWeele came up with spectacular saves both times, including taking both a first shot and a rebound shot off her face on one sequence.
“We pushed up and Karlee may have had her best game of her career,” Alcorn noted. “She kept stopping them from getting the goal to ice it. You hate to see it all end, but when you play that hard and put it all out there, you have to be proud. What a huge difference this bunch made from the start of the year. We had those steady three and four year starters in VanDerWeele, Hopkins, Flower and Patterson. Emily (Alcorn) made it back from illness to play big minutes. Kaytlyn (Johnson), Kayla (Prochno) and Madi (Williams) played some great soccer. This group of seniors earned this great season. They’ve set a great standard, and the underclassmen have bought in.”
The Dragons finished the year at 13-6-2.
In the other semifinal Saturday, Mishawaka Marian handled West Lafayette 4-1, getting a pair of goals and a pair of assists from Shannon Hendricks. They posted an identical score versus Luers in the championship to advance to the state title match for the second consecutive year.
In an interesting twist, the Class A state title game will be a rematch with Providence. The school just across the river from Louisville beat Marian in penalties last year, but due to the IHSAA’s new “Success Rule”, both teams will move up to Class 2A for 2013. In all class sports, schools earn points by their IHSAA tournament success and those with enough points every two years will move up a class.
• ARGOS SEMISTATE
LUERS 2, ARGOS 0
L — Mayson Whitman (Dwire) 33rd minute
L — Turpchinoff (unassisted) 34th minute
Shots on Goal: Luers 17, Argos 1
Saves: Luers 1 (Tobe), Argos 15 (VanDerWeele)
Corners: Luers 10, Argos 5
MARIAN 4, LUERS 1
M — Brittany Payne (Denise Veldman) 20th minute
L — Mayson Whitman (unassisted) 22nd minute
M — Gabbie Veldman (Maggie Hartnagel) 28th minute
M — D. Veldman (Shannon Hendricks) 31st minute
M — D. Veldman (Hendricks) 42nd minute
Shots on Goal: Marian 11, Luers 4
Saves: Marian 3, Luers 7
Corners: Marian 6, Luers 11
MARIAN 4, WEST LAFAYETTE 1
M — Denise Veldman (Shannon Hendricks) 16th minute
M — Gabbie Veldman (Hendricks) 42nd minute
W — Whitaker (Bittner) 46st minute
M — Hendricks (unassisted) 54th minute
M — Hendricks (unassisted) 70th minute
Shots on Goal: Marian 4, West Lafayette 1
Corners: Marian 3, West Lafayette 7