ST. JOHN | As a right back on the defensive side of the ball, Lake Central's Randy Maksimik doesn't get a lot of opportunities to showcase flashy plays or score goals.
While Maksimik's defense was a big reason the Indians captured their first boys soccer state championship last season, the senior showed he can step up and provide offense when the situation calls for it.
Maksimik scored a goal in Lake Central's state semifinal game as well as its 2-0 state title win over Indianapolis Cathedral.
"It felt great," he said. "I remember when Cody (Barnes) had the (penalty kick, in the semifinal game). He missed. He was really down about it, and I went up to him and said, ‘Don't worry about it, man. I got you.' I ended up scoring that game, and it really boosted our energy going into the second game. I hadn‘t scored all season, and it just came at the right time."
Maksimik's does have a background as an offensive-minded player, as he manned the forward position up until his freshman year, when coach Jereme Rainwater switched him to defense. Like any good soccer player, the transition was pretty easy.
"We made him a back, because we knew down the road we would need a back to win state," Rainwater said. "His ability to go forward and attack is equally as good as his defensive skills. We're not looking to push him forward. He strikes the ball very well for an outside back. We're not afraid to go out and have some of the set pieces (for him). I think that would be fun to watch."
Rainwater realized Maksimik's performance in last season's state finals was a tremendous boost of confidence for him.
"For him, it's been huge," Rainwater said. "He really came out there and showed that he's not nervous on any of his tackles. He's very confident in the players around him."
With some of the most talented players in school history in Chad Rigg, Doug Petersen and Barnes graduating last year, Maksimik knows he'll have to step up and realizes Rainwater has very high expectations for him and other players, such as Josh Crague.
"I think we're going to be able to handle his expectations, because a lot of kids are stepping up," Maksimik said. "A lot of spots that people think aren't going to be filled -- I think we've pretty much got them covered."