James Island soccer teams in region contention
By David Shelton
James Island – At just past the midway point of the region 7-AAAAA schedule, both James Island High soccer teams are right in the mix for a top three finish in the competitive league.
Entering April, both the boys and girls team sat at 6-3 in region play and both were among the top four in the league standings. Six of the region’s eight teams will qualify for a spot in the lower state bracket of the AAAAA playoffs and both teams will easily place among the top six.
Finishing in first or second in the region means home games in the playoffs so James Island is looking to move up the standings over the next four weeks.
The girls’ team entered April at 8-5-3 overall, including preseason action. Junior Emmalee Carter is having an all-state type of season this spring, leading the Trojans with 14 goals and eight assists. Freshman Riley Nash has four early goals with seven assists and sophomore Tanner Vegis has two goals and seven assists after nine region games.
There is plenty of scoring balance among the girls’ team. Senior McKenna Costa, junior Sarah Burris, sophomore Molly Conway and freshman Candler Fontaine each have scored three goals in the first month of the season.
The boys’ team sits in a second-place tie with Fort Dorchester and with an 11-3-2 record overall, including preseason tournament play.
The boys’ golf team recently earned a top 10 ranking in class AAAAA and will certainly contend for the region 7-AAAAA title. Wando is the league favorite.
Senior Kyle Sawyer is the team leader and one of the most consistent performers at the top of the scoring ladder. Junior Naia Pieniak has been a top four finisher this spring, and sophomores JJ Keane and Drayton Stewart also rank among the top four scorers for the season.
Sophomores Jesse Nguyen and Nick Velasquez, along with freshman Jackson McGowen have been among the top four in some matches as well. James Island’s quality depth will likely make them a strong contender in the lower state.
The softball team is working hard to finish among the top six in a highly competitive region battle. The region includes the likes of Ashley Ridge, Stratford, Summerville and Wando, with James Island battling with Goose Creek and Fort Dorchester for the final two playoff spots.
Senior leaders on the 2017 squad include Anna Barfield, Laura Burn, Olivia Petrucci and Callie Berry.