- Special Sections
LAKEVILLE â€” For most of 80 minutes, the Argos boys soccer team played with the number two team in the state.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, a pair of mistakes wound up costing them a pair of goals, and the Argos offense couldnâ€™t quite find the counter to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in a season-ending 2-0 loss to the Knights at the Class A LaVille Semistate Saturday in Newton Park.
The two teams remained locked in a scoreless stalemate until Luers finally broke through in the 55th minute. The Knights notched an insurance goal less than nine minutes later, and that was all the scoring they would need as they closed out the Dragonsâ€™ season with a 2-0 semifinal victory.
Luers ultimately fell to No. 1-ranked Guerin Catholic in a nip-tuck 2-1 overtime game that may prove to be the de facto state championship in Saturdayâ€™s semistate title match night in Newton Park.
â€śI thought we played very well in the first half. We came out and were doing some good things in the second half and then we made a mistake and they scored, and we made another mistake,â€ť said Argos boys soccer coach Todd VanDerWeele. â€śBig games come down to who makes the fewer mistakes, and the mistakes we made cost us today.â€ť
After Vincent Stoneâ€™s shot in the 49th minute caromed off the right Luers goal post, the Knights got on the board in the 55th minute when Dylan Hoyaâ€™s through ball found Ben Oberley in the Argos box, and he two-touched a low drive into the far corner of the Dragonsâ€™ net to leave Argos trailing 1-0.
After a back-and-forth possession battle over the next eight minutes, Hoya scored his own goal in a 1 v 1 situation, chipping a left-footed shot from in close into the back of the net to push Luers out to a 2-0 cushion.
â€śAt 1-0 we were still in it. The second goal, we were trying to push up a little bit more, and they get the counter on us,â€ť said VanDerWeele. â€śSome things that led into that first goal were the stabbing and committing and diving in too hard and letting them get around us and that was something we did all game and it ultimately cost us on both goals.â€ť
Argosâ€™ usually prolific offense never quite got going Saturday with just four shots on goal to Luersâ€™ 14. Tylor Peters made eight saves in goal, and Josiah Osborn managed another defensive save on Luersâ€™ second shot on target in the gameâ€™s seventh minute. Jorge Barron finished with two saves in the Knightsâ€™ net for the blank sheet.
Luers locked down Argos striker Damon Binkley, who entered Saturdayâ€™s semistate semifinal with a school-record 43 goals to his credit this season but was unable to register a single shot on goal at Newton Park.
â€śThey were crowding him out, and we werenâ€™t able to get him space,â€ť VanDerWeele said of his junior forward. â€śHe was not moving as well as he usually does, and we just couldnâ€™t get going. I thought we did move the ball better after the first 20 minutes of the game, it just wasnâ€™t our day.â€ť
One potential game-changer came in the 68th minute when Argos senior mid Dominic Cataldo was hit from behind and fell just inside the Luers 18-yard box. Binkley set up for a penalty kick, but after some discussion between officials, the foul was ruled outside of the box, and the Dragons had to settle for a free kick instead. Argos was unable to do anything with the set piece, and the Dragons never put a shot on frame again in the season-ending loss.
â€śIt was a chance, but the gameâ€™s 80 minutes long and there are plays throughout the game and we just didnâ€™t make enough of them,â€ť VanDerWeele said. â€śYou could say thatâ€™s a regret, but there were other situations we just didnâ€™t get enough out of so I donâ€™t think that had anything to do with the outcome. That wouldâ€™ve been a game-breaker, but we couldâ€™ve made plays at other times too.â€ť
The Dragons close at a creditable 18-4 with their third straight regional title in the 50th year of Argos soccer.
The team must now say goodbye to a deep senior class of 10 in Joseph Stone, Taylor Ogle, Sean Mullaney, Cataldo, Spencer Beam, Maxi Bailey, Brian Snyder, Derrick Jensen, Jerry Lee and Casey Johnson.
â€śWeâ€™ve got a lot of them. Theyâ€™ve been very loyal, hard-working and done nothing the last four years but try to improve and make everyone improve,â€ť VanDerWeele said. â€śThey believe in the team concept and theyâ€™re going to be greatly missed. Hopefully some of thatâ€™s worn off on the younger kids, and Iâ€™m sure it has. Iâ€™ve got some talented kids coming back, but itâ€™s tough losing a group like that thatâ€™s been an integral part of all three runs.â€ť
â€˘ FORT WAYNE LUERS 2,
At LaVille Semistate
Luers â€” Ben Oberly (Dylan Hoya), 55th minute
Luers â€” Hoya (Logan West), 64th minute
Shots on goal: Luers 14, Argos 4
Goalie saves: Luers 2 (Jorge Barron), Argos 8 (Tylor Peters)
Corner kicks: Luers 9, Argos 3
Fouls: Luers 12, Argos 8
Records: Luers 18-3, Argos 18-4 (final).