The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown the Bishop England girls’ lacrosse season last spring, just five games into the 2020 season.
The Bishops went 5-0 to push their winning streak to 46 matches. But there were no postseason — or state championship rings — for the team, which was bidding for its fifth consecutive state title.
Three seniors, Kennedy Coupe, Annie Burton and Camille Garner were denied a chance to be on four state championship teams.
“We got the game in against Wando,” said veteran coach Jeff Weiner, who owns a 137-31 record since being named coach in 2010. “That’s the big one. This could have been one of our best teams. I think we scored 17 or 18 goals and we gave up nine in five games. Six of the goals we allowed were against Wando.”
That was then. This is now.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the program. The team got in two weeks of practice and a scrimmage under their belts and then had to shut down with the team in quarantine until Feb. 22. The next day, the Battling Bishops will play Philip Simmons in the season-opener.
Weiner has expanded the roster this season in case he has players quarantined later on in the season. The roster includes 26 players, including seven talented freshmen.
“We have to make sure if someone sits next to someone in class and gets quarantined, we have adequate replacements,” Weiner said.
The Bishops should be the prohibitive favorite to win yet another state title if the team remains pretty much intact this spring.
The team is talented — and young.
Frankie Poch, who scored four goals as a freshman in the 2019 state championship game, returns for her junior year. Another junior, Elisabeth Tausig, led the state in scoring with 36 points during last year’s abbreviated season.
Poch is one of three outstanding midfielders, a position where the Bishops might be the deepest. Weiner expects to play nine midfielders a game to keep fresh legs on the field. Victoria Roe and Olivia Head are all-state candidates at midfield.
The defense should be outstanding — as usual. Coco Pampu, Ryley Dengler and Leslie Wysong head up that group while Lauren Wysong, Evelyn Kitchin and Elizabeth Tausic are the top attackers.
Goalie Hailey Hubbard is one of three BE LAX players who play on the basketball team. Hubbard, who didn’t play lacrosse until she was a freshman, probably won’t be available to play lacrosse until March. Freshman Lizzie Tompkins will get playing time at goalie as Hubbard transitions from one season to another.
“We’re going to carry more kids because this year is going to be a challenge at times,” Weiner said. “But it’s going to be a challenge for everyone.”
Weiner doesn’t spend too much time pondering the “what ifs” of the program.
“Last year was different,” Weiner said. “What makes it even more different was that we weren’t allowed to have open (practice) season. We didn’t get to work with our first-year players, and we didn’t get to work on our skills.”