High school graduation ceremonies affect people in different ways. Take Bishop England boys’ lacrosse coach Tyler Tracy for example. Sure, he will be all smiles on the big day later this month. But it will be bittersweet as 17 players on his team walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.
For now, he’s going to savor the Bishops’ 11-7 victory over A.C. Flora last Saturday afternoon in the Class AAAA state championship, which was contested at W.C. Hawkins Stadium at Irmo High.
“It was a great day, a great victory,” Tracy said. “Next year will be different no doubt. But every team is going to be different from one year to the next whether you have 17 seniors or two seniors.
“But these 17 seniors knew what it takes – and knew what was at stake,” Tracy continued. “The kids were diligent and worked hard. We pushed them and pushed them, and they responded.”
The victory gave the Bishops an 11-4 record and their second state championship. The Bishops won the state title in 2017 and seemed poised to make it No. 2 in 2019 but Oceanside Collegiate Academy defeated the Bishops.
Last year, the Bishops were 5-0 and owned the state’s No. 1 ranking. But the COVID-19 pandemic shut down spring sports in the Palmetto State for the remainder of the school year.
COVID also affected the Bishops this spring.
“Obviously, it’s been like a roller coaster. We had an impressive victory over Waccamaw in March and were scheduled to play A.C. Flora (three) days later,” Tracy said. “But we had to go into quarantine. Once the quarantine was over, it was like starting a new season. Our first game back was against Wando, and we got crushed. But we kept our heads up.”
Saturday, against A.C. Flora, the Bishops took control of the game late in the first half and continued to be impressive early in the second half as senior Dennis Treasurer scored five consecutive goals. The Falcons cut the lead to 9-7 late in the game, but the
Bishops put two more points on the scoreboard to seal the deal.
“Dennis had a fantastic year,” Tracy said of Treasurer, who scored the 100th goal of his career this spring. “He and Jack Jennings formed something special during their careers. If you look at Jack’s assists, they usually correlate with Dennis’ goals. And Dennis’ goals correlate with Jack’s assists.”
Jennings led the Bishops with two assists.
The Bishops’ Robert Pilla added three goals, Watson McLoud tallied two and Michael Long collected a goal and an assist. Goalkeeper Brandon Head stopped nine A.C. Flora shots.
“It’s a great feeling to win the state championship,” Tracy said. “We knew we had the talent, but the key was how would that talent mesh. We had 17 seniors who knew what the stakes were. They succeeded.
“Next year, we know we will have that target on our backs,” Tracy added. “But that will make us want to get back to work.”