The only bad thing about having a class filled with great talent in high school sports is that, eventually, they’ll leave, and they’ll all go at once.
Four years ago, Screven County was still relatively new on the girls soccer scene. With the help of a large freshman class of athletic players, the Lady Gamecocks became a force and were able to advance into the postseason.
But now, eight seniors –—and eight starters — are gone, leaving a new group of young Gamecocks to begin the next chapter in program history.
"I’m not going to lie. It’s tough losing that many good players," Screven coach Terry Markovcic said. "It’s tough going into any season with so many holes to fill. The good news is that we’ve done this before. We just have to build up a new group to lead us."
With the popularity of soccer rising and the roster growing, Screven will have no trouble fielding a team. The problem will be filling the stat sheet as departed seniors include the team’s all-time scoring, assist and shot leaders.
This season, another large group of freshmen will begin their varsity careers by being thrown right into the fire and playing quality minutes from the very start.
"I’m very hopeful for this season," Markovcic said. "We’ve got a lot of improving to do and we might learn some tough lessons, but we definitely have some talent with these young girls."
The Gamecocks also have the leadership of their three returning starters.
Seniors Jessica Markovcic (goaltender), Madyson Torres (midfield) and junior Hannah Jones (midfield) will have to help their considerably greener teammates with in-game adjustments. Although all of Screven’s experience at the forward position is lost, Terry Markovcic is glad to have a lot of minutes logged in the middle of the field and on defense.
"We’re definitely counting on our older girls," he said. "Hopefully, we can start with our small core and start to build off of that."
One thing going in Screven’s favor is a schedule that provides some quality competition away from home to get the young Gamecocks battle tested before entering into a Region 3-AA slate that promises to be full of talented teams.
The Gamecocks travel to Groves for their season opener Monday, go to Cross Creek next Friday and host Groves February 23 before beginning region play.
"Early on, we’re just going to see what we’ve got and what we need to adjust," Markovcic said. "We’ve still got a lot of positions where we aren’t sure who will start. A lot of girls will get a chance and we’ll keep moving things around until we see what we like."
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.