ARGOS — When Argos takes the field on for semi-state action on Saturday it will be another in a long line of successful seasons the school has had in the sport of soccer over the years.
The first actual public school soccer program was started by the Dragons in the early '60s. The first interscholastic soccer game in the state was played between Argos and Culver Academy back in 1963 and the Dragons were the first recognized state champion in the sport in 1973.
Since 1997 Argos has won nine regionals, including a streak of six in a row between 2011 and 2016.
Another streak that heads into Saturday's game is an individual run of three games in tournament play with a hat trick (three goals) including both games of last week's regional.
Sophomore Ted Redinger is the player on a scoring run having also scored twice in Argos’ sectional championship win over Caston.
“There’s no secret I’m just in the right place at the right time,” said Redinger. “I’ve always been the guy that scores. We have a bunch of good players and that makes it easier.”
“It’s kind of like an instinct for me,” he said. “I see where the ball is going and get in position.”
Redinger is right about the Dragons having a “…bunch of good players.”
He is one of four players in double figures on the team that has knocked home 97 goals on the year. In fact Redinger is third on the team in goals scored with 11.
Senior Chino Roque is rounding out an outstanding four year run with 21 goals this season — an average of 1.2 a game — and also leads the team in assists with 13.
Fellow senior Owen Nifong is not far behind with 16 goals. Senior Pablo Mata rounds out the top four with 10.
It’s that senior leadership that has been the key to the team’s success, and also what Redinger credits with his good fortune in the tournament.
“We have a lot of really good senior players,” he said. “They help me out. They encourage me a lot. They’ve taught me to stay calm and just to relax and shoot.”
Having that safety net of experienced players on the field allowed Dragons coach Todd VanDerWeele to get his sophomore more involved with the offense up front and allow Nifong to patrol the back.
“I really don’t care where I play as long as I play,” said Redinger. “(Coach VanDerWeele) told me before the season that I would be playing a lot this year and would have a role on the team. It gave me a lot of confidence going into the year.”
“I just like playing for my team mates,” he said. “My dad (Ted) played so it’s kind of in the family too I guess.”
Argos will need a confident approach taking on Lakewood Park Christian (17-2-1) in semi-state action at South Bend St. Joe High School at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The winner will face off against the winner of the Jac-Cen-Del vs. Indianapolis Lutheran contest for a chance at a state championship next week.
Lakewood Park has a senior leader of their own in Zach Collins who has scored 28 goals on the year to go with 13 assists.
A small tight knit community has created a sense of family over the years in the Argos program. It’s something that Redinger feels already as a sophomore.
“We’re a small community, everybody plays soccer and we’ve all known each other for a long time,” he said. “It’s a positive that we are so close. We just have to stay focused and keep playing hard.”