For the Bishop England girls and Wando boys lacrosse teams, contending for state titles is old hat. Oceanside Collegiate’s boys team, however, is breaking new ground in its first year as a varsity program.
All three teams will compete for their respective state championships Saturday at Irmo High School. Wando will take on Dutch Fork in the Class AAAAA title bout at 1:30 p.m., followed by Bishop England and Chapin in the AAAA girls match at 4 p.m. Oceanside Collegiate will play Greenville High in the AAAA boys game at 6:30 p.m.
Wando (11-4) is seeking a fourth straight title, winning two in Class AAAA before becoming the state’s first-ever AAAAA champion last spring. Coach Lance Renes says this team is far different than any of his previous state championship teams, which entered each season loaded with superior experience and talent.
“We have three returning starters so this is a whole new group on the field,” Renes said. “This season has been quite the learning experience. We have had to work hard to learn what it takes, to learn how to play together.
"We steadily got better throughout the season and that improvement and progress has peaked here at the end. We struggled early to find our identity but that has emerged and we are playing with a high level of confidence right now.”
Junior Tommy Marcoon, one of the returning starters, is Wando’s leading scorer with 42 goals and 71 total points. Senior Luke Sutton, a first-year starter, has scored 25 goals.
The team’s leader is senior midfielder Andrew Hamilton, who came to Wando last summer as a transfer. Hamilton, who also played football and wrestled at Wando, is a huge force on face-offs.
“His leadership has been huge,” Renes said. “Even though he’s only been here this season, he has taken on a big role and our players look to him as the emotional leader.”
Senior goalie Ladson Howell earned all-state honors and has recorded 131 saves. Senior Owen Broucqsault is a key defensive leader as well.
Bishop England is gunning for a repeat as the Class AAAA girls champion. The Bishops beat Chapin in the final last year.
Bishop England is 17-0 this season, including a 7-6 win over Chapin on April 7. The Bishops have posted six straight wins over Chapin and have outscored their opponents, 304-55, this spring.
Five players for Bishop England have scored at least 25 goals this season, led by senior Emma Pizzo, who leads the state in scoring with 123 points (71 goals, 52 assists). Junior Ava Ward has tallied 59 goals while junior Morgan Roberts has 40 goals.
Oceanside’s opponent, Greenville, won the state’s first-ever boys lacrosse state title in 2010 but has not reached the final since 2011. Greenville enters the championship game with an 8-8 record and lost its last four regular- season games before notching a pair of playoff wins to reach the final. Senior Dante Nordon leads the Raiders with 39 goals.
Oceanside Collegiate (12-2) is led by Wando transfer Riley Seay, a senior, and Bishop England transfer Colin Reich, a junior. The two combined for 149 points this spring.