The Ashley Ridge Boys Soccer team split a pair of matches last week, falling 1-0 to Goose Creek Feb. 26, but defeating Hanahan 4-1 Feb. 28.
Junior striker Blaise Dampier, who was unable to play most of the 2018 season due to an ACL injury, had a hat trick in the win over the Hawks. Lucas Lazik had the other Ashley Ridge goal.
“We have a large senior class coming back so we are excited about that,” Ashley Ridge coach Nate Harris said. “I was very pleased with the response after the loss to a good Goose Creek team. We came out today and lifted each other up and played well as a team. They found their resolve.”
Ashley Ridge opened its season at the Bryan Ostrower Showcase, where it lost a close match to Nations Ford and fell to Clover.
“There is good competition there so that is how we like to start our season every year,” Harris said. “It was good to set the bar and kind of see where we need to get to. Those two teams should vie for state. Goalkeeper Eric Watson did great there. The Clover score doesn’t reflect how he played because he made some amazing saves.”
Watson is one of 11 varsity lettermen returning from last year’s Swamp Fox squad, which placed fourth in its super region in 2018 and was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round with a loss to Dutch Fork. Team co-captain Clay Garrick is also back to help anchor the defense. The midfield will be anchored by co-captain Jimmy Davis at wing and Elliot Girone. Dampier and fellow striker Carter Medved will be counted on for leadership up top.
Other players returning from last season include Lazik, Jacob Dupske, Oscar Gonzalez, Reilly West and Dylan Kubat.
Harris also has confidence in sophomore keeper Beckham Boomershine, who tended goal during the win over Hanahan. Other new members of the Ashley Ridge team are Perrin Witherspoon, Logan Karns, Matthew Langhals, Blake Hall, Kevin Brigham, Cameron Johnson and Austin Smith.
“This is a great group of kids,” Harris said. “They are fun and intelligent and I’ve been looking forward to this season.”