The murmurs that floated through the Bishop England stands after both the boys and girls lacrosse games on Thursday centered mostly on one thing — Wando.
One of state’s premier lacrosse rivalries will be reignited for the postseason as Bishop England and Wando will meet Tuesday in the Lower State championship game for both the boys and girls.
It’s the fourth consecutive year the two crosstown rivals will play for the girls Lower State title and their seventh straight meeting in the playoffs.
While the boys teams face each other annually during the regular season, it’s the first time the two will meet in the playoffs, mainly because it’s the first time Bishop England has advanced past the first round.
Bishop England head coach Jonathan Davis didn’t have a moment to catch his breath until the final buzzer sounded. Even then, he mostly just smiled.
The Bishops had never been out of the first round of the playoffs. Now they were playing for Lower State.
Second-seeded Bishop England edged No. 3 seed Hilton Head, 8-7, in the state quarterfinals Tuesday at Jack Cantey Stadium on Daniel Island. In a game that saw five ties and five lead changes, every second mattered.
“We told them today there’d be no opportunity to take a play off and they didn’t,” Davis said. “They fired out. They were aggressive and we did what we do.”
Tied 6-6 midway through the third quarter, Connor Malark snuck a shot into the bottom corner of the net to regain the lead for the Bishops. Colin Reich scored with a bounce shot 12 minutes later to match the largest lead of the night for either team.
Hilton Head cut the deficit to 8-7 with 5:46 to play but wouldn’t crack the Bishops defense again. After allowing five goals in the first half, Bishop England surrendered just two in the second half. “We’re pretty good six-on-six with a lot of veteran guys down there,” Davis said. “One-goal game against one of the best teams in South Carolina and to come out on top because the boys played their hearts out, it’s a great feeling.”
Malark finished with three goals, while Reich and Michael Gaffney both scored twice. Christian Greavu added one goal and one assist.
Wando pummeled Dutch Fork 22-6 in their quarterfinals matchup on Thursday. Bishop England has never defeated Wando and lost 14-7 to the Warriors at home last month. But for the best Bishops lacrosse team in school history that’s already seen a few firsts this season, Davis remains optimistic.
“They’re the dynasty here but I’m really looking forward to Tuesday,” he said. “We’re a different team and this is the most fun we’ve had in a long time.”
Bishop England girls lacrosse allowed little suspense in the state’s largest rout of the postseason.
The top-seeded Bishops scored the first six goals of the game in just over six minutes on way to a 25-1 win over No. 4 seed Bluffton in the state quarterfinals on Thursday.
Bluffton didn’t get off its first shot of the game until 12 minutes into the first half. Nagi Reed scored for Bluffton with 12:38 to play before halftime. The Bobcats would only manage two more shot attempts the rest of the night.
“There was a different level of intensity today,” Lady Bishops head coach Jeff Weiner said. “Particularly in the playoffs, I tell them ‘Go, go, go and don’t stop.’ We want them to keep that level of intensity. We can’t let up.”
Sophomore attack Emma Pizzo led all scorers with seven goals and three assists. Ellie Long scored four goals with two assists, and Morgan Roberts and Rachel Banton both added two goals.
Wando defeated Chapin, 11-10, in their quarterfinal matchup on Thursday. The defending Lower State champion Bishops outlasted Wando 11-9 last month in Mount Pleasant.
“My girls like to play the tougher games and Wando will be a tougher game,” Weiner said. “We have a successful season when we beat Wando and they have a successful season when they beat us. That’s the way it’s been the last four years.”