Academic Magnet and Bishop England met in girls soccer for a third time this season, but Monday’s match was the most important.
And, for the third time this season, the results were the same. Senior all-stater Kallie Peurifoy scored two first-half goals to lead Academic Magnet to its third consecutive Class AA Lower State championship with a 3-0 win over the Bishops.
Academic Magnet, state champion in 2011 and state runner-up last spring, will play for the Class AA/A state championship against defending state champion Christ Church on Friday afternoon at Gilbert High School in Columbia.
“We played very well, particularly in the first half,” said Raptors coach Anna Merriman. “I was so impressed with our focus and how we really got into our groove. They (Bishop England) made some changes in the second half and took us out of our groove a little, but we played pretty well overall. It’s hard to be disappointed with a 3-0 win against a quality team. We knew they would come out really tough. This is a quality win over a quality team.”
The Raptors were the clear aggressor early in the match, pressing the action within 25 yards of the goal. Six minutes into the contest, Peurifoy found paydirt, rifling a shot from 25 yards out into the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead.
In the 20th minute of the half, Peurifoy again found an opening from the right side of the box, delivering a laser shot into the left corner for a 2-0 lead.
Bishop England made some changes in the second half and had a few scoring threats. The Raptors, however, put the match away on Libby Zanin’s goal with 18 minutes remaining in the contest.
Academic Magnet has out-scored its three playoff opponents, 23-0.
“We are playing well and we’re happy that we have reached the No. 1 goal we set for ourselves,” said Merriman. “We have really been focused on getting back to the finals since we started. I’m very proud of the girls.
“Last year is definitely a motivating factor. Since tryouts, we have talked about not feeling that disappointment again. It has been fuel for the fire all season long. It will be fun to have a rematch with Christ Church.”
Goals: Peurifoy 2, Zanin 1. Notes: Sacha with shutout. Records: Academic Magnet 22-3, Bishop England 11-8. Next: Academic Magnet plays on Friday in Class AA state championship game in Columbia.