Argos’ impressive display of offense in the first half was too much for Carroll’s boys soccer team to overcome Thursday in a Class A Caston Regional semifinal match.
The No. 16-ranked Dragons scored four first-half goals and held on for a 4-2 victory. They improved to 18-1-1 on the season and will face Oak Hill (15-2-1), which defeated Peru 3-0 Thursday, at 4 p.m. Saturday in the regional final. Carroll finishes 13-7.
“Defensively, we played solid in the sectional, and the first 40 minutes [Thursday] we did not,” Carroll coach Dave Falkenberg lamented. “We stuck out a lot of legs as opposed to playing solid D. However, No. 10 [Damon Binkley] was probably the best player we’ve seen this year.”
Binkley led the first-half onslaught, recording three goals and an assist during a 23-minute time span. When the damage was done, the Dragons had a 4-1 lead with 10:54 left in the half and the Cougars had to play catch-up the rest of the game.
Binkley now has 36 goals on the season.
Carroll junior Justin Willoughby scored two goals to keep the Cougars in the contest. His first one was on a direct kick in which he bent it past the keeper to make it a 1-1 game in the 12th minute. He added a goal with 9:19 left in the game following a ricochet off a corner kick.
Willoughby finished with 16 goals on the season.
“I haven’t seen a whole lot of D-I, other than on TV, I’ve seen a few in person. He’s got D-I skills and smarts,” Falkenberg said. “The one question mark will end up being speed and height, unfortunately, but I would take him over any other center-mid I’ve played all year.”
The Cougars looked particularly impressive on set pieces — throw-ins, corner kicks and direct kicks — but didn’t finish enough of them.