By Bob Sofaly
The Island News
The Beaufort Academy girls second-year varsity soccer coach Gordon Shuford said he has more than 20 girls coming out to play this year.
“We’ll have good depth this year with middle and varsity girls,” he said. “I have a whole new team this year with lots of talent and depth.”
“We barely had enough (players) to field a team last year,” he said as his athletes made their way through a short agility course he set up for them. “We have three seniors this year. One is returning and was last year’s team captain. Another girl is a transfer and the third has played before but didn’t last year. I feel good about those three seniors. The combined talent we have coming up, … with the energy we have right now, … should be really good.”
Shuford said his teamed suffered a terrible loss in the final seconds of game last year with Patrick Henry.
“Couldn’t quite get back on track from that,” said Shuford, whose team struggled last year to a 5-11 record. “(This year) we are a completely different team. But I really don’t have any concerns. I know we will compete this year in our SCISA, 2A conference.”
The Lady Eagles’ first home game will be against Bridges Prep at 6 p.m. on Feb. 21.
Larry Scheper, long-time head coach for Beaufort Academy’s tennis teams, has led the Eagles’ programs for 11 years, winning three state championships each with the girls and boys.
But this year he has his hands full because of lack of participation for the girls squad.
“As of right now we only have two girls in the program, and they’ll have to compete with the boys team,” Scheper said.
SC Independent Schools Association rules state that if a school doesn’t have enough players for a girls team, the athletes have the option of playing with the boys.
“We had 13 girls last year but only two have showed up as of right now,” he said. “Most of the girls are doing other things and playing other sports right now. But I suspect when they will be with us before too long.”
Last year the team struggled and won only one match.
“We were very young but are very hungry this year and looking forward to this season,” Scheper said.
Scheper said his squad will be working mostly with technique, stoke-wise, and consistency in their practice schedule.
Leone Di Properci, 13, a seventh-grader at BA, is one of those girls who will be playing on the boys squad.
“It’s a little stressfull,” she said. When asked if she was intimated, she said, “Definitely,” but said she wasn’t scared.
The Lady Eagles’ first home match will be 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7.
Bob Sofaly has been photographing people and what they do in Beaufort since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.