Bonda expects battle Saturday

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By Robert Howey

Indian Land High School Lady Warriors soccer coach Mark Bonda said he expects his toughest match of the season Saturday, May 12, when the ILHS girls go for their second straight Class AAA soccer championship.
The Lady Warriors will battle Class AAA Lower State champion Bishop England, 15-2-1, in hopes of netting their second straight state crown Saturday at Irmo High School’s W.C. Hawkins Stadium.
Kickoff is set for noon.
“Bishop England has been No. 1 in Class AAA girls for the majority of the season. They will be the best team we’ve played in the playoffs this season,” Bonda said. “I feel it will be an evenly-matched game. It will come down to who executes.”
The Lady Warriors, 19-3-1, are the Class AAA defending state champions after prevailing in a thrilling shootout win over Brookland-Cayce last season at Hawkins Stadium at Irmo High.
“We’re a seasoned team and we’ve been there before,” Bonda said. “We know what to expect and I feel we will be prepared.”
Bonda said preparation proved vital last spring when the Lady Warriors won their first-ever soccer championship.
The ILHS team has practiced on FieldTurf this week since the playing surface at Hawkins Stadium is artificial grass.
“We’ve been practicing at Riverview Elementary School in Fort Mill at Comporiium Field and we feel that will be a big help since we’re going to be playing on FieldTurf,” Bonda said. “That made an impact last season and we followed the same practice schedule.”
The Lady Warriors, who blanked host Woodruff High School, 6-0 for the Class AAA Upper State championship on Monday, have outscored four playoff opponents 32-0.
In the win over Woodruff, ILHS got goals from Emily Gerdes and Summer Bishop in the first 10 minutes to give the Lady Warriors an early edge.
Kelsey Long added two more goals before the break to give ILHS a 4-0 lead.
In the second half, Long, who had four goals and an assist in the match, added two more goals to seal the Lady Warriors win.
Kailee Erwin, Shelby Ryberg, Summer Bishop and Gerdes each had an assist in the match.
Summer Bishop has 34 goals on the season, followed by Long’s 26 goals. Gerdes has 14 assists.
The Lady Warriors have scored 155 goals and allowed 16 goals in 23 matches. ILHS has 13 shutouts, with keeper Emma Thompson notching 10 clean sheets.
Bishop England outlasted Swansea, 1-0, in double overtime to win the Class AAA girls Lower State championship on Monday.
Bishops senior Kevyn Banda, a Citadel signee, scored the game-winning goal with two minutes left in the second overtime.
Bishop England sports four Class AAA all-state players in Kessy Bradshaw, Haley Merrill, Lauren Moriarty and Megan Reneike.
The Lady Bishops, in four playoff matches, have outscored their Lower State foes 21-1.
“It should be a heck of a match,” Bonda said. “We have to make sure we do the little things right because it might be another marathon match on a hot day, but I feel we will be prepared and ready to give it our best shot. These girls have a lot of pride.”
Irmo directions
• From the Indian Land area, take U.S. 521 South to Lancaster and pick up the S.C. 9 East Bypass. Follow the S.C. 9 East Bypass to I-77 South. Take I-77 South to I-20 West and follow I-20 West to I-26 West. Take I-26 West to the Harbison Boulevard Exit 103. Turn right on Harbison Boulevard to St. Andrews Road and turn right and follow to 6671 St. Andrews Road, Irmo High. The Class AAA girls state title match is at noon at W.C. Hawkins Stadium.
• Admission is $10 per person.
• No signs, banners, posters, flags, air horns, vuvuzelas or whistles are allowed in the stadium.
• Preferred parking will be in the front of the stadium at $5 per car. Free parking will be available in other lots at Irmo High.