BE girls' lacrosse players make their mark on national stage
The Bishop England girls’ lacrosse team has established itself as one of the best – if not the best – programs in South Carolina. Now, a nucleus of the team helped the Palmetto State make a mark on the national stage.
Five Bishops and two other local players recently competed in the U.S. National Tournament Championships, which were contested on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The South Carolina team posted a 3-1 in pool play against some of the best competition in the nation.
The Bishop England players included Emma Pizzo, Ava Ward, Ellie Long, Grace Ann Carlson and Morgan Roberts. Logan Lillie of Wando and Becky Van Kirk of Porter-Gaud also played in the prestigious event.
Bishop England coach Jeff Weiner was in attendance for the event, which is held annually at or near the venue of the NCAA championships. This year’s NCAA finale was held in Foxboro, Massachusetts. He was impressed with the Palmetto State contingent.
“Last year, we were 3-1 so we’re doing pretty well at the national level,” Weiner said. “When we started playing in this event five or six years ago we got shellacked. Over the years we have become more competitive and are getting better at it. We’re still not playing with the big boys, but we’re holding our own.”
South Carolina opened play with a victory over a team from Northern California and then beat the Arizona team. The Palmetto State girls lost to a team from northern Florida and finished play with an exciting 10-9 victory over a team from Connecticut.
Weiner said many of the Bishop England players didn’t play their normal positions in the tournament.
“But at the end, when they wanted to win, they put my girls in and played them where they belonged.”
That paid dividends as Pizzo dished out the winning assist with approximately 30 seconds left in the match. Jordan Green of Chapin was on the receiving end of Pizzo’s assist and scored the winning goal.
The two players were on opposite sides in the Class AAAA state championship, a match Bishop England won by a 15-6 margin.
“We have some pretty good rivalries with J.L. Mann and Chapin, but when they get on the same team, they are buddy-buddies.”
Weiner said his players and others who played on the South Carolina team will be better for playing against top-notch competition.
“For some of the players, (the talent level) is a huge shock to them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pizzo and teammate Beatrice Navarro were honored at the national level. Pizzo was named All-American while Navarro earned Academic All-American status.
“Emma is going to have the school records in goals, assists and points,” Weiner said. “To be honest with you, I don’t see anybody breaking her records. As good as she is on offense, she’s probably the best defensive player in the state.”
Weiner said Navarro is a “very, very bright student. I don’t know what her grade-point average is, but it has to be over 4.0 because she takes honor classes. Other than Emma, she’s the best defensive player I have.”