Wood boys take early district lead

April 8, 2011

By Robert Niedzwiecki
The Winchester Star       

It's only one Northwestern District boys' soccer win, but at James Wood, excitement is definitely in the air.

"Oh man. I'm so proud of my team," Colonels senior sweeper Josh Marts after a 2-0 victory over Sherando Thursday night at Kelican Stadium in the district opener for both teams. "We came out, worked hard, and did exactly what we said we were going to do.

"We're going to regionals, baby. That's where we're headed."

By knocking off last year's district runner-up, the Colonels (2-2-1, 1-0) are certainly off to a good start toward that goal. And by starting out much stronger than Sherando (0-5-1, 0-1), James Wood put itself in prime position to win Thursday. The Warriors - perhaps still feeling the effects of Wednesday's tie against Spotswood in which four players were injured - did not match James Wood's energy in the first half. The Colonels had a significant edge in ball possession, and they did not allow the Warriors a single shot in the first 40 minutes.

But that didn't factor much into the one goal that was scored in that span. That was all Matt Henriques' skill and speed.

Yost (two assists) played a ball toward midfield, where Henriques was waiting a few yards into Sherando territory. Some players might have felt the urge to put a foot on the pass, but at the last second Henriques turned and let the ball run forward into space.

Henriques then turned on the afterburners. He beat Sherando defender Anthony Pinto to the ball, pushed it ahead, and outran him toward goal.

Warriors goalkeeper Rodrigo Casteriana (five saves) came off his line as Henriques pushed the ball into the penalty box, but Henriques calmly knocked the ball to the right of him for his fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.

"I just encourage him to do nothing but turn and go to goal," James Wood coach Chris Hild said. "That's his strength, and he does a very good job of it."

That was pretty much all the scoring the Colonels' defense needed to work with.

In the second half, the Warriors were a significantly more cohesive unit and spent a lot more time on the attack, outshooting James Wood 10-8 after being out-shot 8-0 in the first 40 minutes.

But most of those attempts were from long range and weren't dangerous. Prior to Marfing's goal in the 64th minute, only Taylor Ruths' shot in the 60th minute that was grounded wide had promise.

"Our defense played a top-notch game," Hild said. "We knew coming into this game Sherando's tactic was to play in the air. They're good in the air, and we knew that.

"At practice yesterday we prepared for it, and it showed up on the field. We did a good job with it."

James Wood has been using the defensive lineup of Marts, stopper Jacob Carpenter and outside backs Chandler DeHaven and Alex Pate fronting goalkeeper Elliot Shiben (three saves) since the second game of the year, and Marts liked what he saw in the Colonels' latest effort.

"We didn't give any room to breathe at all," Marts said. "It was a total team effort tonight."

Sherando coach Pat Anderson said defensive execution hurt his team Thursday.

The Warriors were hampered by the absence of defender Jake Lewis (concussion), who was one of the players who got injured against Spotswood. But no matter who's on the field, Anderson said the team must always keeps its shape on defense, and the Warriors didn't do that on the two goals.

"We didn't help ourselves on both those goals," Anderson said. "We got flat."

Anderson was encouraged by the team's performance in the second half, though.

"We were getting the ball out, getting it wide, being able to use each other, [and] controlled it a little bit more," he said. "But once we get in that box, they stifled us. But it will come. [Finishing in the box] is the thing we work on the most in practice."

As for James Wood, Henriques is just glad the Colonels got their first district win under their belt early.

"I saw a couple of their games, and I felt we could take them," Henriques said. "The team wanted it bad enough, and we worked hard for it together."

- Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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