BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS — The new season began like last season ended for the Argos boys soccer team Tuesday. Michael Richard and Teddy Redinger each scored in the first half to lead the Dragons to a 2-0 win over visiting Warsaw at Eugene Snyder Field Tuesday.
The game was Argos’ season opener and marked their first appearance on a pitch since beating Indianapolis Lutheran to win the Class 1A state title last November.
Though stalwarts like Chino Roque, Sam Manikowski, Owen Nifong and Caleb Ellis graduated, Argos still has seven returning seniors. But the goal scorers against Warsaw were juniors Richard and Redinger, the same two players who scored the goals in the semistate win over Lakewood Park last season.
Richard scored first with 29:45 left in the half. He took a pass down the middle and shot straight at Warsaw keeper Miles Burkholder. Burkholder stopped Richard’s initial shot, but Richard chased it down and scored from a difficult angle from the left side of the goal past Burkholder.
The second goal was reminiscent of Roque’s game-winner in the state title game in that it came off a corner kick. After Gabe Stone sent the corner in the direction of the goal, it deflected off Redinger amid a sea of bodies and trickled into the back of the net.
Argos coach Todd VanDerWeele said that he considers Richard, Redinger, Gabe Stone and Cameron Markley as the team’s top finishers. Devon Allen and Jake Stults could also wind up scoring goals.
The key might have been defenders like Kayden Brady and Colton Markley. Markley blocked multiple shots before they got to goalkeeper Kurt Johnson.
“I thought that we defended well, other than probably about 15 minutes of the second half when the fatigue was really getting to us and we weren’t dealing with it well,” VanDerWeele said. “I thought that we got mentally stronger the last 10 minutes and defended better those last 10 minutes than we had up to that point in time. In the second half, we fought with fatigue a lot. … I thought fatigue had a huge issue in what we did tonight.”
Without Nifong and Manikowski, Argos will miss two key defenders and players to whom their teammates looked up. VanDerWeele said Colton Markley, Richard and Stone tried to fill the leadership void Tuesday.
“Not only were Owen and Sam tremendous players and leaders on the field, they were our leaders,” VanDerWeele said. “When things went bad, the guys looked at them (and said), ‘Are we OK?’ And those two had a way of making everyone feel better. So replacing them, we haven’t necessarily done that yet. I mean, I think you saw that tonight with some different play. I think Colton definitely stepped up. I thought Michael was trying to be a leader in his spot. I just think Gabe is naturally a leader anyway. So there are guys that are working on it.”
Argos travels to Oak Hill at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.