There will be seven state soccer championships up for grabs this weekend at River Bluff High School in Lexington.
River Bluff High School, Lexington
AA Girls: Christ Church vs. Academic Magnet, 3 p.m.
AAA Girls: Chapin vs. Hilton Head, 5 p.m.
AAAAA Girls: J.L. Mann vs. Wando, 7 p.m.
A Boys: Charleston Charter vs. St. Joseph's, 11:30 a.m.
AA Boys: Indian Land vs. Academic Magnet, 1:30 p.m.
AAA Boys: Eastside vs. Brookland-Cayce, 3:30 p.m.
AAAA Boys: J.L. Mann vs. Wando, 6 p.m.
Charleston-area teams could come home with five of them, a feat that would be unprecedented for the Lowcountry in S.C. High School League history.
The boys and girls teams at both Wando and Academic Magnet are making their regularly scheduled appearances in state championship games, while the fledgling boys program at Charleston Charter School for Math and Science is in the Class A state finals for the second time in four years.
Despite the success, Lowcountry coaches aren't proclaiming a power shift in state soccer.
"Everything in high school soccer is cyclical," said Academic Magnet boys coach Jason Hamil, whose team won a state title in 2012. "This year, we've got a bunch of Charleston teams in there, but there's been years where Greenville has dominated. There's been years when Fort Mill and that area has dominated it, or Columbia-area teams. But it's definitely exciting to see a bunch of Charleston teams up there."
Charleston-area teams have won three state titles multiple times, most recently last year when the Wando and Academic Magnet girls and Bishop England boys brought home trophies. But tri-county teams have never won as many as four titles in one year, let alone five.
Here's a look at the title games involving Charleston-area teams:
Class AA-A Girls
Academic Magnet vs. Christ Church, 3 p.m. Friday - Academic Magnet is chasing its second straight state title and third in four seasons under coach Anna Merriman. The Raptors are 21-1-1 and ranked No. 1 in the state, and outscored its first three playoff foes by a combined 27-1 before a 3-0 win over Bishop England in the Lower State finals. Emma Coen and Alexis Polycn scored for the Raptors in that match, with Jesse Dooley providing an assist.
The Raptors will face perennial Upper State power Christ Church, which is 17-3 this season after a 4-0 win over St. Joseph's in the Upper State finals. Christ Church lost by 2-1 on May 3 to Bishop England, a team the Raptors beat three times this season. This will be the fourth straight year that Academic Magnet and Christ Church have met for the title; the Raptors won in 2011 and 2013, and Christ Church in 2012.
Class AAAA Girls
Wando vs. J.L. Mann, 7 p.m. Friday - Wando and coach Shannon Champ are in the state finals for the eighth straight season; the Warriors have won the state title in five of the previous seven years. This year, the Warriors are 20-2 and ranked No. 2 in the state, behind their foe in the state finals, No. 1-ranked J.L. Mann. Wando defeated J.L. Mann in the finals last year. The Warriors are led by all-Region 7-AAAA players Logan Nelson, Allie Winglosky, Hannah Betfort and Ellen Hayes.
J.L. Mann is 25-0 this season and defeated Dorman, 1-0, in the Upper State finals.
Class A Boys
Charleston Charter vs. St. Joseph's, 11:30 a.m. Saturday - Charleston Charter School's King Street campus has been open only since 2008, but the Riptide is already making its second state title game appearance. Led by coach Micki Boulineau, the Riptide went 11-3 this year and defeated Branchville, 3-0, in the Upper State finals. Senior Malik McDonald has signed to play at Division II Anderson University, the first scholarship athlete in the school's history.
The Riptide faces a tough task against No. 1-ranked St. Joseph's (19-4-1), a Greenville Catholic school which has won the last two state titles. St. Joseph's four losses this season are to AAAA powers Wando (twice), Irmo and J.L. Mann.
Class AA Boys
Academic Magnet vs. Indian Land, 1:30 p.m. Saturday - This game matches up the top two Class AA teams in the state, with Academic Magnet (18-4-2) ranked No. 1 and Indian Land (20-5) ranked No. 2. Academic Magnet topped Indian Land in the 2012 title game, while Bishop England beat the Fort Mill in last year's final.
The Raptors and keeper Brady Allardice have allowed only two goals in four playoff games, and scored its first playoff win over rival Bishop England in the Lower State semifinals. Indian Land has given up three goals in the playoffs and beat Saluda, 4-0, in the Upper State finals.
Class AAAA Boys
Wando vs. J.L. Mann, 6 p.m. Saturday - Should be a real heavyweight bout. J.L. Mann (27-1) is ranked No. 1 in the state and defeated Wando, 2-1, in the 2012 state final. The Warriors (28-1-1) are ranked No. 2 in the state and are seeking their second state title in four years under coach Shilo Tisdale. The teams met in the regular season, with Wando taking a 3-1 victory on March 2.
Paced by all-region players Austin Barrington, Tucker Heffron, Nat Edwards and Jackson Karolczyk, Wando has not given up a goal in the playoffs and lost only to fifth-ranked Irmo this season.
The Warriors beat South Aiken, 3-0, in the Lower State final on goals from Alex Bourland, Nick Wright and Blake Pearce. J.L. Mann defeated Dorman, 4-0, in the Upper State final.
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