BEHS soccer teams score No.1 rankings in pre-season polls
Ed Khouri is one of the most successful high school soccer coaches in state history as he closes in on 500 career victories to go along with 14 state championships at the helm of the Bishop England boys’ soccer juggernaut.
But it’s a match that the Bishops didn’t win that causes the veteran coach to have a case of the “woulda, coulda, shouldas.”
The match occurred last spring in the Lower State championship against Bluffton. The Bishops took a 2-1 lead when James Cox scored a goal to give the Bishops a 2-1 lead just 12 minutes away from a state title. Things looked good with the Bishops in a PK situation. But the kick was no good and Bluffton recovered with three straight goals – two – in overtime – to end the Bishops’ season at 16-4.
“It’s one of those games that still haunts me,” Khouri said. “It just eats at me. I do have returning players who played in that game and didn’t play to their potential. I will remind them of what happened.”
Last year, the Bishops began the season as the No. 1 team in the state in the Class AAA coaches preseason poll. But the team painfully learned that No.1 at the start of the season doesn’t always equate to being the best team at the end of the season.
That was the message that Khouri was making loud and clear as the team began practice Monday to prepare for the 2018 season. Once again, the Bishops begin the season as the No. 1 team. But Khouri knows of the risks that go along with the ranking.
“You know, that’s great for us,” Khouri said. “But it puts a big bullseye on our backs. It can be good – or bad. We just have to make sure the kids don’t get complacent. Our goal is to win the state championship every year. That’s something we embed in our players, especially the young ones. The psychological aspect is so important.”
The Bishops stumbled last year, but still have a collective 17 state titles, which is the best in state history. Irmo is second on the list with 16 state crowns.
Khouri doesn’t talk about the tops teams in the Lowcountry and state - and the squad that could challenge the Bishops this spring.
“Every game will be a challenge,” he said. “We just don’t want to stub our toes again. We look forward to every game.”
The Bishop girls, under the direction of coach Dave Snyder, are ranked No. 1 in the girls’ Class AAA poll.
The Bishop girls ended a six-year state title drought with a Class AA crown in 2016. But the Bishops were unsuccessful in defending their title last spring as they dropped a 2-1 decision to Brookland-Cayce in the Class AAA Lower State championship. The Bishop girls have won 10 state titles.
The Hanahan boys’ soccer team also showed up in the preseason poll, checking in at No. 6.