The Lincoln boys' soccer team's record indicates the Yellow Jackets have suffered some bumps and bruises during the regular season. But it should make them a better squad in time for the playoffs.
Lincoln, which reached the Class A state championship game last spring, is only 2-3 heading into Thursday's game against Porter-Gaud.
Lincoln, one of the smallest schools in the state when it comes to enrollment, has already lost to Class AAA schools Eastside and North Myrtle Beach. The Yellow Jackets' other loss was to Christ Church, which defeated Lincoln in last year's state title game.
"We're playing a tougher schedule," coach Robert Hartnett said. "No. 1, it gets us used to better competition, so when the playoffs come around, we'll be battle-tested. We'll struggle for a little bit, especially in the early season.
"As a (Class) A team, we can afford to play a tougher schedule and lose some games because all A teams make the playoffs," he said. "For instance, larger schools, such as Class AAAA, have to finish in the top four of their conference to qualify for the playoffs. In A, not all schools have a soccer team, so everyone gets in."
The Lincoln program is in its fourth year of existence, and the Yellow Jackets didn't even own a playoff win until last spring.
The next step, winning the title game, will take talent, of course. It will also take character.
"That's the No. 1 thing," said Hartnett, who says he can count on 12 players to regularly show up at practice and for games. "Some schools have large rosters, but we don't. Sometimes we have some issues and that means holding players out of games, which means we'll play with eight or nine (players). We'll do at times."
Hartnett said he will probably hold three players out for at least the first half against Porter-Gaud because of disciplinary reasons, so that will make the match even more difficult.
While the roster is small and includes eight basketball players, there is a good soccer nucleus.
Preston Myers is back for his sophomore season after leading the state in scoring last spring with 56 goals and 21 assists.
The team's defensive specialist, Darwin Deas, is back as is goalkeeper Gerald Alston, who is the team leader, according to Hartnett.
Two Pinewood Prep soccer players recently signed scholarships. J.D. Spearman signed to play for Clemson, and Ben Allen signed with North Greenville University. Both have been members of Pinewood's state championship-winning team the past two years.
Spearman yielded just .89 goals per match last spring to earn the SCISA defensive player of the year honor. Spearman, who began the season with school records for season (31) and career (44) games, was All-Lowcountry last spring.
Wingate University's Ashley Green recently pitched a perfect game against Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit.
Wingate won in five innings. Green, a former Bishop England star, threw 58 pitches, including 40 for strikes, and struck out seven of the 15 batters she faced. She has won 14 of her 18 decisions this spring, with a 2.34 ERA.
Green has allowed 81 hits in 101 2/3 innings and struck out 98.
Reach Philip M. Bowman at email@example.com or 937-5592.