Lacrosse has been a sanctioned high school sport in South Carolina for only four years, and yet there is a dynasty brewing in Mount Pleasant.
The Wando boys team won the High School League state championship last spring with a dramatic 7-6 victory over Dorman, and the team shows no signs of slowing down this season. The Warriors own a 7-0 record after a 26-2 victory over Bluffton on Wednesday. They will try to remain perfect Saturday when they travel to Socastee.
What makes this team impressive is that it has the No. 1 ranking in the state locked down despite graduating 18 seniors from the team that ended last season with a 12-game winning streak and a 13-1 record.
All-Lowcountry selections Logan Wyndham, Connor Johnson, Richard Slay, Jordan Phillips, Jared Wells, Adam Johnson and Andy Cole graduated. Wyndham, a goalie, was The Post and Courier’s player of the year and earned all-state and All-America honors.
“We have some big shoes to fill,” Wando coach Lance Renes said. “But we have some juniors, sophomores and freshmen who are very talented. We’re focused on bringing the kids up and making them work as a team.”
There are 39 players on the varsity roster and 43 on the junior varsity squad. Many of the players came up through the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department.
“That has helped us as well,” Renes said. “We call it our feeder system. It’s established and ran very well. The freshmen coming in, they have good fundamentals and a high lacrosse IQ.”
The roster is loaded with young talent. Junior Tucker Dodson is a top-notch attacker, while classmate Chase Jordan is one of the top midfielders in the state. Renes calls sophomore midfielder Andrew Phelan the No. 1 Warrior.
“He plays like a warrior,” the coach said. “He’s very reliable and plays his heart out. We rely on him to be a playmaker and to be a leader.
Two talented freshmen, Thomas Gribben and Gavin Howley, lead the defensive specialists.
Junior Trevor Pearson is the goalie who has the tough task of replacing Wyndham.
“Trevor has big shoes to fill,” Renes said. “He’s replacing an All-American. But he’s stepped up. We trust him.”
The 16-team playoffs will start in a few weeks, and the state championship game is set for April 13.
Renes said the Warriors’ ultimate goal is to play for another state title.
“But we’re so young, we’re just focusing on one game at a time,” he said. “Once we get to the Lower State, we can look at the big picture.”