By David Shelton
Special to The Post and Courier
The two most successful boys’ soccer programs in the Lowcountry battled through a pair of overtimes and into penalty kicks before Bishop England came away with a win over Wando in a matchup of two top-ranked teams.
The Bishops, ranked No. 1 in Class AA, handed Wando, the top-ranked team in AAAA, its first loss of the season by edging the Warriors, 4-3, in penalty kicks on Monday night at Jack Cantey Stadium.
Bishop England improved to 17-2-1 on the season, avenging an early season 3-1 loss to Wando, while the Warriors dropped to 19-1 overall. The two powerhouses have combined to win 21 state championships.
Bishop England keeper Jake Michel came up with two big saves and scored a goal during the penalty kick phase of the contest.
“Playing Wando is always tough,” Bishop England coach Ed Khouri said. “Very good team and always well-coached. Today it went back and forth. We had some good looks in the first half and Wando had a great goal in the second half. It was anybody’s game to win.”
Bishop England scored first when Joel Bunting found the back of the net on a pass from Sal Badolato in the 15th minute of the game.
“It’s the fourth game in a row we have given up a lead early, so it was just a matter of time before it cost us,” Wando coach Shilo Tisdale said. “We have to fix that issue. We have a lot of work to do. I thought we should have put away some of the good chances that we had but it is what it is.”
The lead held into the second half before Wando’s Logan Chalfie tied the game with a header off a deflection in front of the Bishops’ goal in the 51st minute of play.
Both teams had scoring chances in the final 30 minutes of regulation but neither threatened in the two five-minute overtime periods. Both keepers — Michel and Wando’s Will Kendrick — came up with saves in the opening round of the shootout. Each team scored on their next three attempts, and Curtis Johnson gave Bishop England a 4-3 lead with his score in the fifth round.
Michel then stepped up big again, deflecting Niko Ullo’s attempt to seal the upset win.
Khouri said the win means a lot to his team mentally as they begin preparations for the upcoming state playoffs.
“Winning adds to the confidence as we get into the playoffs,” Khouri said.
“Playing against a quality team and bettering ourselves for the playoffs. That’s what this means tonight.”
Wando entered the contest as the nation’s top-ranked spring team by USA Today.
“I don’t like to talk about it but I have actually brought it up a few times to see how they would react to it,” Tisdale said. “The reality is that we don’t play for a national championship but we can play for a state championship. That’s our focus from here on out. We get to play again.”