Connor Canning (21) takes a shot during one of Bishop England's two scrimmages in the Citadel Lacrosse Tournament, held Feb. 9.
Thirteen was a lucky number last season for the Wando boys lacrosse team. The Warriors went 13-1 en route to winning the state title.
This season, expectations are geared toward a repeat performance. “Our No. 1 goal is to provide these student athletes with the best experience and opportunity possible,” Wando coach Lance Renes said, before emphasizing the program's emphasis on having a 3.5 team GPA. “On the field, our goal is to win our region, Lower State championship and state championship.”
Renes added that although the Warriors are a young team, they're well-rounded offensively and defensively. “We are successful because each player plays for the guy next to him, and we work as a team,” he said.
The attack will be led by juniors Tucker Dodson, Carson Horner and C.J. Anderson. In the midfield, sophomore Andrew Phelan solidifies the middle with juniors Chase Robinson and Wright Bailey.
Inside Lacrosse Magazine noted Wando's game against Benedictine Military, Feb. 23, as one of its high school games to watch in the southeast. The Warriors will also be challenged against Academic Magnet four days later, and have a grueling March schedule with matches against Hilton Head, J.L. Mann and Greenville.
While some Bishop England sports teams are struggling with turnout numbers, the Battling Bishops boys lacrosse team is a coveted club among students.
The school created its first junior varsity program this year, filling the roster with 25 players. The varsity team also has 25 members.
The increased interest goes back to a successful previous season, as Bishop England made the state playoffs for the first time sporting an 8-4 record.
This go-round, expectations are raised with seven returning starters, including standouts Matt Durney, David Hull, Will Henesy and Jennings Kleeman.
Newcomers Connor Canning, Blake Jeresaty and Cole Jenkins figure to have an immediate impact for coach John Navarro's balanced group. Face-off specialist Ian Willis is mastering his craft and is regarded as one of the top face-off players in the state.
The Bishops will be tested with matches against Upper State power Mauldin, as well as competitive contests against Wando, Academic Magnet and Hilton Head.