It was the Class AAAA girls’ state championship. But as the final seconds ticked off the clock at Irmo High School’s W.C. Hawkins Stadium, it was more like a coronation as the Bishop England LAXers dismantled Oceanside Collegiate Academy 25-2.
The Bishops completed one of the most impressive lacrosse campaigns south of the sport’s high school hotbed Maryland as they rolled to an 18-0 season that culminated with their fifth straight state title.
The victory, the Bishops’ 64th in a row, capped a most memorable season – unless you were the opponent. The Bishops outscored opponents 325-34 during the season, and in four playoff games, the Bishops averaged 21 points to the opponent’s one.
And the way BE coach Jeff Weiner talks, the best might be yet to come. Four freshmen and a sophomore were in the starting lineup Saturday. Another sophomore would have started but missed the game because she was quarantined.
“We’re not going anywhere,” said Weiner, who owns a 155-31 career record at BE since being named coach in 2010. “We lose four seniors and the biggest loss will be on defense. We lose two all-state defenders, Victoria Rowe and Coco Pampu. But Leslie Wysong, who missed the season, will be back.”
The offense Saturday was balanced as eight players entered the scoring column. Elisabeth Tausig tallied 11 points, including seven goals to lead the team. Frances Poch, who scored four goals as a freshman in the 2019 state championship, had another four-goal day. Henley Bredemann also scored four goals while Lauren Wysong and Evelyn Kitchin both tallied three goals. Graison Liverett, Bo Rosato and Fiona Kelly also scored for BE.
The Bishops played an aggressive schedule which included the best teams in the state regardless of classification, including Class AAAAA powers Chapin, Fort Mill and Wando.
“We tried to schedule Riverside, but their coach said their schedule was full,” Weiner said. “We beat Chapin, and Chapin beat Riverside. It was Riverside’s only loss. I think we are the best team in the state.”
Oceanside Collegiate actually led 1-0 with a goal in the first few seconds of the game. But the Bishops rebounded, rallied and roared to keep the 64-game winning streak intact. The Bishops have not lost a game since Charlotte Catholic defeated them five years ago.
Weiner builds his teams with two ingredients. He looks for athletes and players with speed. He also isn’t concerned about playing freshmen who have no high school experience.
Still, 2021 was different.
“Despite our success, it was a different, difficult year,” Weiner said. “The High School League didn’t allow preseason workouts in December and January, and that made it difficult because we had a wave of freshmen coming in. We had only one scrimmage – against Porter-Gaud. The team was quarantined for 10 days before the season started, and we had only one practice before our first game (of the season).”
And that one practice led to perfection as the Bishops competed yet another undefeated season.