It will be a challenging season for the Ashley Ridge boys’ soccer team, but the Swamp Foxes are off to a good start.
“We are a team that is very young in some spots so everyone is going to have to step up from time to time to have a successful season,” Ashley Ridge coach Nate Harris said. “We do have a core group of four-year varsity seniors returning.”
The Swamp Foxes have experience in the midfield, which will be anchored by returning starters Sean Siehl, Michael Sauter and Manny Enciso. Siehl is a Coker College commit who has experience as a striker, but the Swamp Foxes are looking for freshman Tristen Caples and sophomore Britt Soyebo to play major roles there this season.
Senior Stockton Blanchard returns as the team’s starting goalkeeper.
Other returning lettermen include midfielders Quincy D’Antonio, Austin Saracina and Jordan Freund and defenders Jake Kreider, Zack Vollertsen and Matt Loehrke.
New to the varsity this season are Lenny Miret, Jacob Kirtley, Coleton Rickus, Dane Petersen and Trevor Ryba.
The Swamp Foxes faced some strong competition during the Sandhills Classic pre-season tournament in the midstate, where they placed eighth.
“The tournament featured five of the top 15 Class AAAA programs in the state,” Harris said. “Our freshman and sophomores really stepped up when a number of starters were injured during the course of the tournament. I was very proud of the team’s effort in the face of some adversity.”
Last week, Ashley Ridge improved to 4-2-0 on the year with a 1-0 win over Stratford Thursday and a 4-1 win over Cane Bay Friday.
“We played very well against Stratford,” Harris said. “It was a great game and it was nice to see them win a close one like that. At Cane Bay we didn’t have as much warm-up as we would like and we played questionable the first 15 minutes. However, they did a fantastic job adjusting. I’m proud of these kids for overcoming a sluggish start.”
Caples scored the goal at Stratford and Blanchard had the shutout in goal.
At Cane Bay, Miret, Siehl, Vollertsen and Ryba scored for the Swamp Foxes. Soyebo made a nice cross to set up Siehl’s goal and pick up an assist.
The Swamp Foxes will once again face stiff competition in region play.
“Region 8 is going to be a dogfight as always,” Harris said. “Fort Dorchester has been the region champion for a couple of years and they return a very strong team. I just hope we can be in the playoff mix at the end of the year, but we are going to have to play at a high level to be in that conversation.”