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Arsenault leading Dragons' charge

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By Mickey Patterson

CRESTWOOD - Jeff Arsenault's fortune on the soccer pitch has risen and the South Oldham High School Dragons have come right along with him.

After what he described as a 'not good' junior season, Arsenault, a senior for the Dragons has emerged as one of the area's most potent offensive threats in a deep senior class that has seen the Dragons improve the past four years to this season's 11-6-1 record going into next week's district tournament.

"It's going pretty good this year," Arsenault said. "We have a real deep bench and a lot of young guys that can come in and play. We are a stronger team than we ever have been since I came here four years ago. Every year the program has gotten better and this is definitely the best year."

The improvement of the SOHS program under coach Denis Beall has more often than not been overshadowed by the powerhouse Oldham County program which has won five straight regional crowns and is ranked No. 4 in the state this year.

Arsenault's rise along with his fellow seniors has made the Dragons, who have been ranked anywhere from 10th to 15th this season, a viable threat to OCHS' regional and district reign.

Arsenault has enjoyed a breakout season this year with 12 goals and 10 assists. He scored both goals in a 3-2 district seeding loss to OCHS earlier this year.

Much of his success can be traced to a strong summer of club ball with an Oldham Thoroughbreds select team that reached the state finals.

"I think his club ball experience really helped him take things to the next level," Beall said. "He took some time off from club ball, but playing last year really helped him. He has always been a guy who busted his butt, but now he is so comfortable with the ball on his foot. He has always been a leader and the improved scoring has just made him more so."

Arsenault's foot speed has always been a strength, the increased ball control has made him a threat from all over the field.

"He just doesn't try and run by guys now," Beall said. "Now he has the speed and the touch."

The club experience on a team with players from all three local high schools has also given Arsenault a different outlook on the intense rivalries.

"The club season really helped me and I got to know all those guys pretty well," Arsenault said. "It's kind of hard to play against them now. We're still big rivals, but it's different. We're friends, but I really want to beat them too. I love it."

As the Dragons head into the district, Arsenault is not looking past a first round match with a solid Shelby County team, but knows OCHS is always looming just in the distance.

"I have had a good year and we have had a good year as a team," Arsenault said. "I think we can play with them (OCHS) or with anybody if everyone focuses and plays the way they can."

E-mail us about this story at: sports@oldhamera.com.