Still scoreless: RHS girls soccer streak against Lady Dragons continues in loss
Dunlap, Edmonds score as No. 13 Argos hands Lady Zs first loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS –- Emma Dunlap and Elizabeth Edmonds scored in the first half to lead the Class 1A, No. 13 Argos girls soccer team to a 2-0 win over visiting Rochester at Eugene Snyder Field Monday.
Freshman Lilly Hines assisted on Dunlap’s goal. Aryanna Allen assisted on Edmonds’ goal, a deft pass that she put right on Edmonds foot in the 18-yard area that Edmonds finished with a precise strike inside the right post.
RHS had one shot on goal for the game. Abbi Richard took that shot in the first half, which Argos goalkeeper Alyssa Poisel swallowed up.
Argos also had a 6-0 edge in corner kicks in addition to their 14-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The teams could meet again in Class 1A, Sectional 35, which LaVille will host at Newton Park from Oct. 5-10. The IHSAA state tournament draw is Sept. 27.
The loss continues a streak that is historic in Argos annals and ignominious in RHS annals: The Lady Zs have not only never beaten Argos, but they have never scored against them.
RHS dropped to 3-1 with the loss. They had outscored their three previous opponents by a combined score of 9-1.
Still, RHS coach Chantal Rensberger, an Argos grad who considers Argos coach Joe Stone a mentor, said this loss was progress, especially given that they held the Lady Dragons scoreless in the second half. Rensberger remembers an 11-0 loss to Argos earlier in her coaching career.
“As always, Argos is home for me, and I’m good friends with coach Joey,” Rensberger said. “We knew coming in that they have a young team, but they have a lot of talent and a lot of speed, so for us, it was very, very fast-paced compared to the three games we’d played previous. … But I just told them this game is what leads us to good TRC (Three Rivers Conference) games. This is what makes us better as a program, by playing these teams. And to hold them 0-0 in the second half, that’s big.
“I’m very proud of the girls. I have girls who are gassed, and they’re tired. And this game especially always brings a lot of anxiety and excitement because it’s under the lights, and they know that I graduated from here, and it’s Argos, and everyone wants to beat Argos.”
Said Stone: “Everybody plays hard against us. And I like that.”
While Rensberger called goalkeeper Kaillie Woods “phenomenal” for her work, Stone said his team will be working on shooting in future practices.
“Our offense was great tonight,” Stone said. “We’ve just got to learn how to finish.”
Still, Stone raved over Edmonds’ goal.
“The pass was beautiful,” Stone said. “I’m not taking anything away from Aryanna. The finish was incredible – one-time, perfect volley. It was a perfect shot by Lizzy Edmonds. For Lizzy to do that, it had to be a perfect pass, and Aryanna delivered perfectly right on cue.”
Possessing the ball against Argos remains tough. You can’t score if you don’t have the ball. As soon as the opponent touches it, the Lady Dragons look to take it away.
“Everything’s about the first touch,” Rensberger said. “It’s first touch and finding your spaces and spreading out. I feel like their goals came from the fact that we left the middle wide open, and they do an excellent job of always being in position. If you watch them, they move as a unit up and down the field where we’re still learning how to find that movement as one.
“If you have a bad first touch against a team that skilled and that quick, they’re going to take the ball from you.”
Stopping the opponents on their first touch was a “struggle” in the beginning of the season, according to Stone. A 2-1 win over Class 1A, No. 5 Eastbrook on the Lady Panthers turf field two days earlier was a good sign that they can play an uptempo style.
“As we have gotten farther into the season, the girls are reading the other players and anticipating a lot better,” Stone said. “So when they do make that bad trap, we’re right there and trying to counter as fast as we can.”