MOUNT PLEASANT — The Wando Warriors boys soccer team had a new ranking when it faced an old foe Tuesday night, Bishop England.
The Warriors, the No. 1 team in the state — and country — won, 3-1, in the intense rivalry that sometimes pits neighbor against neighbor and club teammate vs. club teammate.
“We came out fired up,” said Wando coach Shilo Tisdale, whose team recently moved up to the No. 1 spot in the country by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. “We wanted to prove ourselves, not because of the ranking, but because it was Bishop England. It’s an in-town rivalry we want to win.”
The Warriors (15-0) play five games in five days next week, including a battle against Academic Magnet, the No. 1 team in Class AA.
The Warriors wasted little time flexing their soccer muscle. Charlie Heffron scored his third goal of the year just 72 seconds into the match.
Bishop England coach Ed Khouri said his team had a breakdown that gave Wando the early goal.
“Still, Wando is legit,” Khouri said. “They have a good team, are very disciplined and they come at you from different angles. The angles of attack are very effective.”
The Warriors pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 38th minute when Andrew Davis scored on an assist from Erik Clark, his second assist of the match.
The Warriors scored their final goal in the 72nd minute when Lejend Bain scored his seventh goal of the year. Clark was credited with his third assist of the match and 21st of the season.
One of Wando’s strengths is its depth at the keeper position. Colin Lemmon and John Milligan split time and allowed a combined seven goals heading into the Bishop England game. But Lemmon was injured warming up to enter last week’s game against Cane Bay and didn’t play against the Bishops. Milligan kept the Bishops off the scoreboard until late when the Bishops’ Nolan Coulter scored in stoppage time at the end of the match.
“Tactically, we did the best we could,” Khouri said. “That’s why you have to be ready. When you make a mistake against a team like this, you are going to pay for it.”
Bishop England faces Academic Magnet Thursday while Wando is off for a week.
“That stretch of five games in five days is going to be a battle,” Tisdale said. “We just have to manage our playing time and be smart how much we play each of our players. Our goal is to get better.”