Dylan Walmsley ’19
On Friday afternoon, the Woodberry Forest Tigers kicked off against their biggest rival, Episcopal High School. Starting off strong, Woodberry almost put one in the back of the net in the first two minutes; Meade Seay ‘21 hit the near post on across from Hugh Monstead ‘20.
Episcopal, however, found a bit of a rhythm, as they possessed the ball in the Tigers’ defensive half for the next few minutes. Although the High School kept the ball in the attacking half, the Tigers’ midfield and defense held a rigid defensive shape, preventing any real threat from occuring– Episcopal only managed one shot during that attack.
Propelled forward by a Charlie Ferrari ‘21 long ball, the Tigers reestablished their tempo for a while. The Tigers’ offense featured a shot by Walker Antonio ‘19 as well as a free kick from about 30 yards out by Antonio. The right side of the Tigers’ formation also helped Woodberry’s offense, as Max Dupont ‘19 and Tommy Handelsman ‘21 made several hustle plays and sent balls over the top to streaking runners. All of the Tigers’ build up culminated in a controversial no-goal off a shot by Giulio deAlessandrini ‘19 in the 21st minute.
For the rest of the first half, Woodberry and Episcopal traded the momentum back and forth, and both teams saw their fair share of chances. However, none of the shots posed a true threat to Woodberry’s keeper, Zach Woods ‘20, who seems to gobble up any shot in his area like a Shop-Vac.
The second half started off as exciting as the first, as one of the Tigers’ center backs Jack Sloan ‘20 was playing forward. This change in the lineup proved to be effective for the first few minutes, as a flick off Sloan’s head almost led to an Antonio goal. After about 12 minutes, Woodberry moved Sloan back to his usual position, and the Tigers’ continued to move forward, as a long cross from Ferrari nearly ended with a Woodberry goal.
After Ferrari’s cross, the game played out much the first half; each team gained and lost momentum while having a few goal-scoring opportunities during those spurts of momentum. The only difference in the second half was the physicality of the game. Woodberry and Episcopal went into tackles hard. Sometimes a player’s intention to win the ball–rather than hit the opponent– was less obvious than other times, and, as a result, both teams were awarded numerous free kicks. Then, in the 83rd minute off a corner from Max Weaver ‘19, Monstead vollied the ball into the back of the net to break the tie.
Episcopal started sending more men forward, trying to score a goal and even the score once again. The Tigers’ defense held the High School from scoring until the 95th minute when, off a penalty kick, Episcopal finally managed to slide a shot past Woods. Neither team was able to eak out a win in the final minute and a half.
Although the Tigers would have loved to defeat their rival, a tie against the 6th ranked Maroon should help the 9th ranked Tigers, 2-1-4 after this game, going forward.