The Bishop England girls soccer program won eight consecutive state championships before losing in the Lower State finals the past three seasons. Could 2013 be the year the Bishops return to the top?
Not winning state championships is “a point of frustration” for the Bishop England girls soccer team. The past three seasons have all been cut short by Academic Magnet in the Lower State finals. Prior to that unfortunate trifecta, the Battling Bishops had won eight consecutive state titles.
Coach David Snyder is eager to get back to the tradition of finishing the season on top of 2A. Preseason rankings slate Christ Church – the defending state champions – at No. 1, Academic Magnet at No. 2 and Bishop England at No. 3.
“We're not happy with that,” Snyder said, “but we realize we've earned the 3. I would still stack my team up in terms of effort, value (and) ethics against any of 'em.”
Snyder, who started coaching at Bishop England in 1994, has implemented a new system this year that is similar to Manchester United. “A Premier League type system,” he calls it. Snyder hopes it will make the Bishops more aggressive, quicker and tougher to beat down the middle of their formation.
“We have speed on the flanks. We have some good play at forward. We're solid down the middle,” he said. “We graduated most of our defenders, so we're building in that scenario.”
Regan Van Metre is the team captain and plays midfield. Julianne Dahlman, a senior goalkeeper, has started in the box for three years. “She's actually been pressed by an impressive freshman, Logan Leask,” Snyder said. “Logan is going to be our future star in the box, so there's a little competition there, which is healthy.”
Snyder also noted college signees Taylor Lott (Belmont) and Molly Moriarity (Queens College) as impact players. Erin Moriarity, Molly's sister, and Julia Shahid provide considerable speed to the roster.
Bishop England's first region game is against Academic Magnet, March 7. The Bishops host a rematch of that game, April 18, and then travel to Christ Church two days later to cap a grueling stretch.
Heads up, Wando girls soccer opponents: The Warriors are going to be good.
The Warriors return eight starters from last season's 20-2 team that finished as 4A state runner-ups and region champions. The year before that, Wando won the state title.
Coach Shannon Champ said the “core of the team has played together for two years,” so the Warriors have plenty of championship experience. She noted team chemistry and great depth as strengths.
Seniors Rachel Torlay, Melissa McCool and Hannah Ross figure to lead the group, with sophomore Raymara Barreto continuing to assert herself in a prominent role.
Games against West Ashley, Hilton Head, Academic Magnet and Charlotte Catholic will challenge Wando. Champ listed the team's goals as winning the Spring Valley Viking Cup, which is the regular season opener, March 1-3 and the region and state championships.
They're big goals, but with the roster Wando boasts, they're attainable. Champ said the team needs to improve its aggressiveness and “its ability to find the back of the net.”
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