By Luke Stone ’20
The Tigers had fought off wave after wave of the Collegiate barrage.
The 1-0 lead they had mustered from a 10th minute Jake Benslimane ’22 “worm-burner” still stood. After holding off a well-rested Cougar squad just two days after a 5-0 win that didn’t come easy against North Cross, the floodgates broke. Collegiate defender Colin Ryan sent a desperation ball to the back post, where the towering Will Neuner put it just inches over the outstretched gloves of goalkeeper Zack Woods.
Five minutes later, the final whistle sounded as the Tigers rushed through handshakes and showers to get up the hill in time for seated meal and chapel. The 1-1 draw with Collegiate on an odd Monday afternoon gave Woodberry three days to prepare for the Norfolk Academy Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, no amount of rest can prepare a team for the draining three hour trip to the beach to take on the Bulldogs. Woodberry’s bevy of buses rolled into the gates at Norfolk Academy less than thirty minutes before kickoff. Hugh Monsted ’20 opened the scoring for the Tigers in the first ten minutes, though the team could not muster the energy to find a second goal in a high scoring match until the second half.
“We had a couple of costly miscommunications at the back,” Monsted said. “We were able to create some good chances, but our finishing was not as good as it has been recently.”
The Tigers did seem just a touch off on Friday. With a 4-1 deficit late in the second half, one of Monsted’s corners were just inches away from the heads and feet of three different Tigers trying to put shots on goal. While they did finally find the net again on a Meade Seay ’21 goal in the dying minutes, the performance was a departure from the Tigers recent form. The road loss dropped them to 6-6-2 on the season.
However, the 11th-ranked varsity squad has no lack of opportunities to vault up the rankings. The draw against Collegiate will certainly earn more advocates from the VISAA state playoff committee, and upcoming matches against Blue Ridge, Trinity Episcopal, and Veritas seem to lean in the Tigers’ favor. Even if one of those matches doesn’t go the team’s way, the Tigers will have a chance to silence all critics in their Oct. 25 match against top-ranked St. Chris at home.