It was too even to call during the regular season so the two best teams in the state ran it back one more time.
Academic Magnet took the first game against Bishop England, 1-0, a month ago on Daniel Island. Bishop England evened the series, winning 3-1 two weeks ago in West Ashley. Neither lost another region game all season.
So with the two rivals, who’ve been positioned first and second in the AAA state rankings the length of the regular season, knotted atop Region 7-AAA with the playoffs awaiting, a third game was added to decide the final standings.
Bishop England seized the Region 7-AAA championship with a 2-0 shutout of Academic Magnet Wednesday at Jack Cantey Stadium on Daniel Island.
The Bishops secure the top playoff seed out of Region 7 with the tiebreaking win, assuring them home-field advantage through at least the state quarterfinals.
Both of the Bishops’ goals came off the their heads rather than their feet. The first required multiple headers.
A Bishops corner kick lured Raptors goalkeeper Benji Vazquez out of the net. James Cox floated a header over Vazquez and toward the goal where Raptors midfielder Conolly Burgess was waiting to stop it with a header of his own. Jacob Schirmer then returned Burgess’ volley with another header this time to the opposite side that landed in the back of the net to lift the Bishops ahead 1-0 in the 35th minute.
Bishop England had a pair of quality opportunities inside 15 yards in the opening five minutes of the second half; Vazquez denied both advances.
James Cox broke through in the 46th minute, leaping for a high cross from Miller Stoke and sending a header with once bounce into the far corner of the net for his 26th goal of the season.
Daman Wegner put a solid head on a ball toward the net for Magnet in the 56th minute. Bishops keeper Matthew Michel corralled it in time, though, for one of his nine saves on the night.
With the second seed out of Region 7, Academic Magnet will host in the opening round of the playoffs but could travel as early as the second round. The Raptors could potentially see Bishop England again in the state semifinal game, which the Bishops would host.
The Class AAA postseason begins April 30.
Visit moultrienews.com/sports for complete coverage through the soccer, baseball and lacrosse postseasons this spring.