Argos girls soccer wins 4th straight sectional
McGlothin, Allen, Stults score as Lady Dragons maintain dominance over LaVille
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS –- The Argos girls soccer team appreciates each other.
Players appreciate what each teammate brings to the pitch.
Scoring first against them does not make the Lady Dragons stress out. It only seemingly makes them more determined.
And if LaVille doesn’t understand the inner workings of Argos’ team dynamic, they know the results on the pitch don’t work out too well for them.
The latest example was the Class 1A, Sectional 35 final at Eugene Snyder Field Oct. 9.
Bella Stults had a goal and an assist, and Aryanna Allen scored the go-ahead tally to earn No. 5 Argos a 3-1 win and their fourth straight sectional title.
“I think we have a good chance of making it even farther,” Allen said, when asked to compare this year’s team to last year’s regional championship team. “This year, we have a lot better relationships with each other. … We get along a lot better.”
Argos coach Joe Stone is 13-1 in sectional games in five years on the job.
“I’m ecstatic,” Stone said. “The girls deserved it. LaVille came in with a good game plan. They played their butts off. I’m very happy with them. They played a great game. They executed well. How do you stop a high offense? You pack the box, and they did. … That only makes us better. Hats off to them.”
Argos, who had a 9-6 advantage in shots on goal and a 7-3 edge in corner kicks, also beat LaVille for the eighth straight time and knocked the Lady Lancers out of the sectional for the fourth straight year. Argos also beat LaVille in the sectional semifinals in 2018 and the sectional final in 2019 and 2020.
Senior goalkeeper Lizzy Edmonds stopped five of the six shots she saw. Sophomore co-captain Lilly Hines had an assist.
“It feels great,” senior co-captain Hannah Trump said. “Coming in here, we knew we were obviously the stronger team, but it just feels good.”
Kylie Gorka scored for LaVille (5-6-1) on a penalty kick with 33:33 left in the first half after Argos was called for a hand ball in the box.
But that was LaVille’s only shot of the first half.
“It was a blessing, I think,” Stone said of the early goal. “Because the girls, for some reason, the seniors have been here all four years of their high school career, but they get a little jittery and a little panicky and stuff, and when they scored, it was like, OK, now we’ve got to play because we’ve got to catch up. It was a blessing in disguise.”
Trump praised her team’s mindset.
“We kept our positive attitudes up,” Trump said. “We didn’t change anything. We kept connecting passes, so it turned out great for us. … I think everyone knows their role and what they can do and what they can’t do. And, I think we all know what that is, and we all respect each other, and we always are hard on each other when we know we’re supposed to be better. We know what we can do.”
Asked if the team changed their strategy after LaVille scored first, Hines said “not at all.”
“We’re kind of a comeback team,” Hines said. “But we don’t really get down much.”
Argos had two corner kicks but finally tied the game when Lauren McGlothin stepped into a direct kick from 35 yards out to the right of the goal with 23:56 left in the half.
LaVille goalkeeper Heaylyn Kwiatkowski jumped up in traffic to try and catch it. Kwiatkowski dropped it, and it landed on a LaVille defender’s foot and rolled into the back of the net for an own goal.
“It had to be exactly right where it was,” Stone said of McGlothin’s kick. “And the keeper struggled with it. And their keeper is amazing. Tough, tough keeper.”
That tied the game 1-1, and Argos was feeling better at halftime.
The go-ahead goal from Allen started with pressure upfield from Argos. Not allowing LaVille to clear the ball out of their half of the field so easily, Kadyn Baughman sent a header towards Emma Dunlap. Dunlap then fed Stults to her left.
Stults then attempted a lead pass that deflected off LaVille defender Anna Medina. The ball rolled behind Medina and into the box. Kwiatkowski ran out to try and cover it.
She wasn’t as fast as Allen, who won the race to the ball and beat Kwiatkowski with a low finish for her ninth goal of the season.
Argos was now up 2-1.
In a split second, Allen reacted to where Kwiatkowski moved.
“I had a one-on-one with the keeper, and I always try for the post,” Allen said. “I’m looking at where she’s at and see which side’s more available. … She went to my right.”
Said Stone of Allen: “It always seems like she’s in the right place at the right time.”
Argos made it 3-1 at the 19:20 mark when Hines and Stults worked a give-and-go. After a stutter step gave her some room, Hines sent a diagonal pass back to Stults. From a tight angle to the left of the goal, Stults roofed a shot that gave Argos a 3-1 lead.
Hines did not score in this game, but she leads Argos with 25 goals. She also had a team-high 14 goals last year but said she plays with her head up more this year. She said she sees the field better.
“Oh lord,” a smiling Hines said of her assist. “The shot was difficult. I wasn’t sure if it was in or not. It was kind of a blind pass. I knew she was running to it. … I heard her voice.”
Stone called Hines “tactically savvy.”
“If she’s struggling scoring, she has no problems just giving the ball up,” Stone said. “And she will. She won’t keep just rocking shot after shot until she scores one to make herself feel better. Lilly does what’s best for the team. And with a heart like that, you see why as a sophomore why she was voted captain.”
Argos will next play host to No. 8 Westview in a regional semifinal on Oct. 13. The teams played to a 2-2 tie on Sept. 24 in their regular season meeting.
Westview scored 17 goals in three sectional games. They have scored 78 goals in 20 games on the season.
“We’ll be ready for them,” Stone said. “I’m excited. You’ve got to play the best to be the best. I’d rather start right off with them.”
Stone said his team has had a few “moments of drama” but agreed with his players’ view of team chemistry. He said his players are knowledgeable about the game and are versatile without having any drop-off.
Stone called the team’s chemistry “wonderful.”
“For the most part, these girls all get along,” Stone said. “They respect each other. They talk to each other. … And for the most part, I’m going to say 90 percent of the game, they know their job, and they stay within that job.
“They know their role, and they play within their role.”
Watch Sectional Championship game here:
The Argos girls soccer team celebrates with the trophy on the field following their 3-1 win over LaVille in the Class 1A, Sectional 35 final at Argos’ Eugene Snyder Field on Oct. 9. Argos improved to 15-2-2 and won their fourth consecutive sectional title.
Aryanna Allen Lilly Hines Hannah Trump