By Mitch Riith ’25
In the first round of the playoffs, momentum was all toward the Tigers. Two early scores from Robbie Handelsman ’23 set the pace early. Rylan Meza ’24 was also a key component vs St. John Paul the Great as he made many impressive saves. Although the Tigers have had a great season, there have been many setbacks such as many injuries. Starting outside-back John Shottes ‘23 was unfortunately diagnosed with mono, ending his season and Woodberry soccer career early.
With a 2-0 win over St. John Paul the Great, Woodberry moved on to the Quarterfinals, matched up against the tough Trinity Episcopal team in Richmond. In conference play, Woodberry had previously lost 1-3 to the Titans. The Tigers started off on a good note Sudhit Sangela ‘25 put one in the back of the net creating an early lead for the Tigers. In the second half, however, Kodi Udochukwu slid to block a shot, and the ball caught his arm. He was handed a red card and the Titans earned a penalty kick, and the game was then tied at 1-1 off of the penalty kick. Just like that, the momentum shifted.
Being a man down the whole game, Coach Len Mills put Robbie Handelsman at center back on defense and there was not one goal scored by the Titans despite being a man up. The Tigers held on, managing to send the game to penalties. Despite Rylan Meza’s two saves, the Tigers were defeated 7-6.
Even though a solid group of seniors leaves the Forest in the Spring, the returning players hope to carry on the legacy next year. The Tiger key players to look out for next year are Sudhit Sangela, Sandy Dillard, Alejandro Ford, McAuley Davis, Wyatt Jones, Webb Ellerbe, and Toby Warmack.
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