Argos turns it up, beats Rochester in sectional semis
Next up: Argos vs. LaVille, 2 p.m. Saturday at Newton Park
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
LAKEVILLE –- A piece of cheesecake can weigh somebody down.
A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.
Metaphorically, the Class 1A, Sectional 35 girls soccer game between Rochester and Argos might have seemed like both teams had cheesecake for dessert after a heavy lunch.
Eventually it was Argos who put the dessert fork down first and went to work.
Lilly Hines who scored twice, and Madi VanDerWeele and Emma Dunlap who also tallied for Argos in a 4-0 win over Rochester in a Class 1A, Sectional 35 semifinal at Newton Park Thursday.
Argos scored twice in each half. Alyssa Poisel had four saves in goal for the shutout.
The Lady Zs have never scored a goal in their history against Argos.
The Lady Dragons improved to 12-4 and advanced to the sectional final. They will play LaVille, a 5-2 winner over Bremen in the second semifinal.
RHS finished the season 10-3. Two of their three losses were to Argos. They still have never scored on Argos, much less beaten them, in the history of the program.
“I told them the air felt like cheesecake,” RHS coach Chantal Rensberger said. “Like everyone was real stressed. They didn’t need to be. They just needed to go out and have fun -- win or lose. Like, this has been the best season we’ve ever had.”
Argos defeated LaVille 4-1 on Sept. 17 in their most recent meeting.
VanDerWeele’s goal came on a long-range bomb from 35 yards out on a free kick that touched the hand of RHS goalkeeper Kaillie Woods.
VanDerWeele said she normally doesn’t practice those kicks during practice with the team, but after playing Rochester earlier in the season, she went out and practiced them by herself, envisioning a scenario where she might have to take one.
“I knew after we played them the first time, I had a lot of free kicks,” VanDerWeele said. “It was my first time taking that many, so then I went out by myself with my brother, and he helped me just place them. And I did the same thing the other night. I just knew that I couldn’t give them time to set up, so I just had to take it, and I knew if I either put it at least on goal someone would crash or I’d get lucky or it would go in.”
Hines scored with 16:02 left in the half when she took a pass from Dunlap and fired a looping shot off the inside of the left upright and past Woods.
Dunlap scored with 18:47 left in the game on a rebound in traffic after Woods stopped a Madisyn Barcus shot.
“Her; Nanna (Aryanna Allen); Lilly; Madisyn Barcus, who comes off the bench as a senior … great minutes,” Argos coach Joe Stone said. “My four girls up there that I have in that rotation are just incredible players. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. And my defense, of course.”
Hines scored with 8:01 left on a shot that eluded Woods, ticked off the left post and just barely crossed the goal line.
RHS had two shots on goal early, but Poisel stepped out and deflected a Mercedes Brown shot less than 90 seconds into the game.
RHS sophomore Amy Williams had a shot on goal that Poisel stopped with 22:40 left in the half.
“The first 10 minutes of the game, I felt like we came out and had really good momentum,” Rensberger said. “We had three or four shots on goal that were very uncharacteristic for us in the first 10 minutes. (Poisel) had quite a few great saves. If we would’ve just shot to the corner, I believe we would have scored, but they just have a momentum in their program that is something that I’m hopefully building for our future. Because all 11 play 180 percent the entire game.”
Rensberger, an Argos grad who counts Stone as a coaching mentor, also compared the dedication of the Argos players to her own players.
“Everybody he puts on the field, that is their sport,” Rensberger said. “They don’t have a lot of three-sport athletes at their school or two sports. These girls play from pretty much they’re coming out of the womb and they’re kicking a soccer ball with that program. And I know that because I live there. So they’re a phenomenal team. You know that I have a great rapport with Coach Joe. But they brought it tonight, and we couldn’t bring it back.”
Stone said his team also played stressed. But they brought the right intensity.
“For some reason, this year my team feeds off the other team’s intensity,” Stone said. “The first five minutes of the game, we were flat. Once they realized Rochester’s coming, they’re coming, we just like flipped a switch and turned it up.”
VanDerWeele, a team captain along with Poisel and Sydney Shepherd, said the team has had some “issues with team chemistry.”
“We’re still young, so we’re still trying to figure out each other and how to play,” VanDerWeele said. “We have a senior out right now, and we’re still trying to figure some of that stuff out.”
Rensberger raved about how much fun she had coaching the team, especially after the team was forced to cram 13 games into 33 days.
“I’m not upset. I’m very proud of our team,” Rensberger said. “We played, I think, as hard as we could’ve.”
Stone can see the improvement in his protege’s program.
“I’m sick and tired of everybody telling me that Rochester’s not very good because of their competition,” Stone said. “They don’t play anybody? Bull. The girls can play. Are they as talented as us? No. But their heart is incredible. And Chantal’s doing a great job with them. I remember playing Rochester in the past, and I didn’t have to work hard. I didn’t, coaching or playing. Now we have to work for every goal every game.
“And I appreciate that because she only makes us better.”