By Dylan Walmsley ’19
On Friday afternoon, the 9th ranked Tigers from Woodberry hosted the 12th ranked Saints from St. Anne’s Belfield (STAB). The Tigers knew their first Prep League game would be a battle, as the Saints played, and beat, John Paul the Great by a larger margin than the Tigers.
In the first five minutes of the game, STAB appeared to carry over their confidence from the John Paul the Great game, for they rifled off three quick shots the start the half. Zach Woods ‘20 blocked one of these shots, which was headed toward the right side of the goal. After a wake up call and a substitution that put Max Richter ‘19, Woodberry’s leading scorer, in the game, the Tigers quickly gained momentum.
Riding the momentum, Meade Seay ‘21 received a ball on the left side of the box and shot, barely missing and hitting the nearside post. For the rest of the half, the Tigers owned the tempo. They even scored a goal that the refs called back. It came from a Jack Sloan ‘20 throw that appeared to ricochet off a STAB defender into the goal in the 15th minute. However, the ref did not see the same thing, so he signalled a goal kick, the procedure following a goal directly off a throw-in.
Another near-goal chance occurred in the 32nd minute when Sloan launched another throw-in into the box. After the goal tipped the ball, a messy sequence of touches followed where four STAB defenders deflected shots, and the ball hit the post twice before the ref called a dangerous play. The Tigers finally capitalized when Walker Antonio ‘19 floated a ball over the defense to Max Weaver ‘19, who headed the ball into the goal.
The Tigers entered the break with a 1-0 lead, hoping to increase the lead in the second half.
And that they did. In the 55th minute, Hugh Monsted ‘20 sent the ball soaring into the air, and Richter redirected it into the goal when it came down. 2-0 Tigers. Aside from a few breakaways by STAB, the Tigers continued to dominate the game and eventually buried another goal in the back of the net. Providing a late spark off the bench, Vincent Reich ‘21 placed a ball perfectly to the top right corner of the goal in the 86th minute.
The Saints did not go scoreless though, as Dylan Walmsley ‘19 committed a silly foul in the box with about two minutes to go in the goal. One of the Saints’ team captains finished the penalty kick, making the score 3-1.
Although Woodberry conceded a goal late in the game, they still pulled out a much needed win against a top 12 team in the state. The Tigers face off against the Norfolk Bulldogs for another Prep League battle this coming Friday, November 5th at home.