Bishops stepping it up

Bishop England's Brandon Costa.

Grace Beahm

Bishop England has one of the nation's most successful boys' soccer programs.

Need proof?

The Bishops have won 14 state titles. Only six schools in the country have won more state crowns. Bishop England has won 11 titles since 1994 under coach Ed Khouri, who reached his 300th career victory last season.

The Bishops seem to be on their way to yet another Class AA state title if what has transpired on the pitch in the last week is any indication. The Bishops beat Wando twice in less than a week. The Bishops gained a victory over the Warriors on Saturday in the championship game of the Palmetto Cup at Brookland-Cayce High School.

The Bishops picked up a hard-fought victory Wednesday at Wando. The teams played to a 1-1 tie, but BE prevailed in penalty kicks to up their record to 14-3-3.

"It's a good rivalry, and both schools benefit from playing each other," Khouri said. "It's good for the schools and good for soccer in the Lowcountry."

"I'm sure losing twice to Bishop England will inspire Wando," Khouri added. "I really believe they have a good team and will be in the (Class AAAA) final against Irmo."

Khouri doesn't even want to talk about the Class AA state championship. He seems to be more worried about a possible Class AA Lower State playoff showdown against Waccamaw next month.

The Bishops beat Emerald by identical 4-0 scores in the past two state titles but have had a much tougher time against Waccamaw in the Lower State. They managed to beat Waccamaw 1-0 the past two years to advance.

The Bishops struggled earlier this season but have stepped it up now that keeper/midfielder Brandon Costa has returned to form after suffering an ankle injury.

"He's still only about 70 percent," Khouri said. "He's a senior leader who is very versatile. He does well in the field and around the net."

"Everyone has stepped it up," Khouri said. "The younger players have played well and that has increased the depth on our bench. We have good depth compared to past teams.

"The team is coming into its own now that Costa is back," Khouri added. "Everything is tidying up right. Hopefully, it will carry over to the playoffs."

Khouri doesn't like comparing one team to another in BE's long line of success. The team has reached the state title game the last 13 years.

"Every team is different," he said. "Each team is different in personnel, talent and style of play.

"We're a balanced team and we don't look for one player to do it all. You can't tell about kids. Last month, we showed hardly any sign of life, and now we're coming into our own."

And if they keep it up, the Bishops could own another state title next month.