The Lady Swamp Fox soccer team is off to a strong start.
Ashley Ridge is the defending Region 8-AAAA Champion and seems to have the players in place to make another strong run this season.
“We have some solid soccer players across the field,” Ashley Ridge coach Mark Weaver said. “All 16 girls are very quality players so if they come together and form that single unit it will be a fun season to watch. This group loves playing soccer and that even shows in practice. It’s fun being out here with them.”
The Lady Swamp Foxes lost three starters to graduation, two from the defensive side of the field and a center-mid. But Weaver is optimistic about the season.
“They have been difficult to replace, but girls have stepped up to fill those shoes,” Weaver said. “We are excited about some of our younger players. We have three freshmen who are skilled and ready to step in and play. We want to repeat as the region champ but also want to progress from what we did last year. We would like to move further in the playoffs.”
Bo Erickson, Taylor Johnson and Amelia Clower return to anchor the mid-field, which should be the team’s strength.
“We have two seniors and a junior there,” Weaver said. “If those three come together they should be able to control the middle.”
Jade Erickson, Maddy Reed and Anna Moses provide good depth in the middle.
The Swamp Foxes also have experience in other parts of the field.
“We have two forwards returning as starters up top,” Weaver said. “Sara Goodwin is back after leading the team in scoring last season and Cassidy Govan returns and also gives us a strong presence there.”
Lexi Sanchez will also likely spend some time at the forward position.
Allyson Manns returns in goal after starting as a freshman last season.
“We have great confidence in her,” Weaver said. “She learned a lot in the off season and I feel she is really coming into her own this year.”
Sophomore Mollie Smith will also tend goal for Ashley Ridge.
Megan Horton, Caitlin Willan, Jaimy Farmer and Caitlyn Fecko all return to the Ashley Ridge defense. Joining them this season is freshman Skylar Davis.
Ashley Ridge faced good competition in the preseason, scrimmaging Dutch Fork, Irmo and Ashley Hall. The Swamp Foxes lost 2-1 to Dutch Fork but won the two other scrimmages.
“We played well in all those games and worked on playing as one unit,” Weaver said.
On Tuesday, Ashley Ridge opened its regular season with a 6-0 victory over Stratford. Clower and Govan had two goals each. Goodwin and Sanchez also scored for the Swamp Foxes.
Ashley Ridge will be tested over the next few days as it travels to West Ashley Friday and to Wando Tuesday. The Lady Swamp Foxes host Berkeley March 20.