Bishop England earns rematch with Academic Magnet in Class AA Lower State boys soccer final

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Bishop England earned a measure of redemption with a 2-0 win Saturday over Waccamaw, the team the Bishops lost to in last year’s Lower State semifinals.

The Bishops can earn a fuller measure in Tuesday’s Lower State final against Academic Magnet.

Mateo Gomez and Michael Heyward scored unassisted goals as BE (17-7-1) advanced in the Class AA boys soccer playoffs against Waccamaw (13-7-2) at Jack Cantey Stadium.

The Bishops lost twice to Magnet during the regular season, both times by 3-2 scores.

“Hopefully, we can learn from those matches and take it to them on Tuesday,” said BE coach Ed Khouri, whose team last won a state title in 2011. “Magnet is well-balanced, and hungry and well-coached. The way they play, it fits their players. They run at you, and they run at angles. It’s very important that our boys focus on the weak side. They have to be aware of that player coming in and mark him up. That will be very important.”

Bishops keeper Ross Rogers, one of six seniors on the team, said effort will be the key.

“We’ve just got to play harder,” he said. “They are good at finding runs, they are good at the diagonal through-ball. We’ve just got to play our hearts out.”

Against Waccamaw, Gomez scored unassisted in the 24th minute as BE led 1-0 at the half. Heyward took advantage in the 65th minute when Waccamaw failed to clear a ball in front of the net, icing the game with his goal.

“It was redemption for us,” said Rogers. “That’s what I’ve been telling the guys the whole week. Let’s take it one game at a time and not overlook anybody.”

That’s a good message for a young team, Khouri said.

“We are a very young, and the mentality of our players changes from day to day,” Khouri said. “But overcoming Waccamaw was good for the program and good for the boys. Now we can look ahead to Academic Magnet.”

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