Everything about Monday night was long for the Philip Simmons girls’ soccer team: long odds, a long bus ride and some long faces following a 4-0 loss to No. 1 seed St. Joseph in a Class AA state semifinal game.
“We knew going in they were the No. 1 seed for a reason,” said Philip Simmons coach Jay Watterworth, whose team’s round-trip lasted more than seven hours, not counting the game time. “We were told their defense was good, and they were better than advertised. We played teams like Bishop England and Porter-Gaud and were able to at least score. They made it so difficult to even get a shot off. We had something like five shots the entire game. They played great defense, but they are a complete team.”
It was the Iron Horses’ best season in their brief history. They won two playoff games, topping Saluda 16-0 in the first round and followed it up with a 3-0 victory over Wade Hampton. Monday’s loss gave the Iron Horses an 11-4 record.
“This season was about growth,” Watterworth said. “When I think about the growth in the program my mind always goes back to that first practice where we had five or six players and to where we are now. We have 18 players on the roster. I told them after the game that I expect us to be back here next year.”
This was the Iron Horses’ first full season in soccer after last season’s schedule was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 18 players on the roster, 14 will be back for the 2022 season. The top returning players are all-state selections Kylee Kellermann and Claire Esse. Both players will be juniors next year.
Alexndra Ugan was an all-state selection as well, and will play in the North-South Game.
The Philip Simmons boys’ team also had success in the Class AA playoffs with a first-round victory over Greer Middle College. However, the Iron Horses’ season came to and end in the second round with a loss to Andrew Jackson.
The Bishop England boys, the top team in the state, were scheduled to host Brookland-Cayce on Tuesday night in the Class AAA Lower State championship. The winner advances to Saturday’s state championship to play the winner of the Berea-Daniel match. Saturday’s title game will commence at 1 p.m. at Irmo High School.
The Philip Simmons boys’ team, the No. 1 seed in Class AA, was scheduled to host Christ Church Tuesday in a second-round game. The Iron Horses won their first state title in 2019, but were unable to defend it last year because the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out spring sports.
The Bishop England boys, meanwhile, failed to make the Class AAA tennis playoffs for the first time in a long time.
The Bishops won back-to-back state in 2018 and ’19, but didn’t get a chance to defend their title last spring.