By Luke Stone ‘20
The scene was all too familiar.
For the fifth game in a row, an early game misstep put the Tigers down 1-0. This time, it came in the sixth minute on a controversial penalty kick perfectly placed in the back right corner. And this time it was against EHS in Alexandria with 65 Woodberry boys still on the way.
While they would ultimately leave the High School with a 2-1 victory to improve to 3-5-1 on the season, it would not come easily.
The Tigers adjusted their formation, moving defender Jack Sloan ‘20 up top alongside Hugh Monsted ‘20 in the formation now known as “Mongoose.” While the duo, joined by midfielders Trevor Daniel ‘20, Owen Pudsey ‘20, Meade Seay ‘21, Johnny Russell ‘22, and Jake Benslimane ‘22, would create some better scoring opportunities later in the half, nothing was clicking on the attack.
After halftime though, the Tigers came out firing on all cylinders. Sloan drew a penalty less than a minute into the half and equalized on a brilliantly placed shot that bounced off the crossbar and came down just inches over the goal line.
“Honestly, I was just thinking about the celebration I would have after,” Sloan said. “The keeper tried to bait me to go right, so I went left, hit it too hard, and put it off the crossbar.”
Three minutes later, Sloan took a beautiful through ball, ran past several Maroon defenders and finished with his right foot to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
“It all started because Jake made a nice play, made a tackle, and played me through,” Sloan said. “Once I could feel the defender inside me, I decided to cut through and take my shot.”
And when he did, the Tigers student section, cordoned off on the far touch line with vuvuzelas and bullhorns, erupted. The larger, yet generally quieter, EHS student section predictably fell silent.
“Having our students there was awesome. It totally boosted our confidence,” goalkeeper Zack Woods ‘20 said. “If we had been there by ourselves, we would have just been playing for ourselves. But because we had sixty five of our boys out there, it especially felt like we were playing for the school and ‘riding for the brand.’”