ARGOS | Sixteen matches and 119 goals into the 2011 season, the last thing the Hanover Central girls soccer team expected was to be shutout Saturday night.
The Wildcats failed to score a goal for the first time all season and fell 3-0 to Argos in the IHSAA Class A regional final.
Hanover Central advanced to its first regional under the new class system in Indiana soccer and finished the season 15-2.
"It was incredible for these girls to make it to this point," Hanover Central coach Jim Pattison said. "I didn't know in August how far this group could go or what we were capable of. I'm proud of what they've accomplished."
The Dragons got on the board in the seventh minute when senior midfielder Stefany Parrish took a feed from Allison Flower and found the back of the net. Pattison didn't believe the early goal changed his teams' composure as much as was the product of a good play from Argos.
"We had a bit of a mental breakdown there," Pattison said. "They made a good cross and that hurt us. We missed the ball. We knew they were a good team and they proved it."
Both teams were relatively unfamiliar with each other, but Pattison had a lot of respect for Argos (14-6-1) entering the match.
"They've been playing soccer here since the early '90s and we didn't start until 2000," Pattison said. "We didn't know much about them and we didn't really know how to play them until midway through the first half. At that point, they had that early goal. Of course, they didn't know much about us either, so it goes both ways."
Jami Patterson added another Argos goal just before halftime off an assist from Raelynn LaFrance. In the 56th minute, LaFrance added the final insurance goal.
"We gave them a lot of pressure in the second half, but we just couldn't finish," Pattison said.
Hanover Central's Kirsten Nirtaut (35 goals this season) and Blayr Poston (35 goals) both worked for chances to crack the scoreboard. The only substitution Pattison made was early in the second half when Poston took a blow to the face. The junior was back on the field in about five minutes.
"There was a little bit of fatigue there, but that's the way it's been all year," Pattison said. "We don't make a whole lot of subs, where as they were bringing in three or four players almost every break."
The Wildcats lose five seniors from the team, including Nirtaut and defender Samantha Bathurst. Poston and goalkeeper B.K. Sakelaris will lead an experienced group of returners next season.
"Last year, we finished 12-3-1 and I challenged this year's team to beat that," Pattison said. "We finished 15-2 and I just challenged our returners to beat that next year. They'll have their work cut out for them."