James Wood boys pick up play in second half to beat Sherando

WINCHESTER — You didn't have to hear every word of James Wood boys' soccer coach Brian Sullivan's loud halftime speech to know that he wanted to see stronger desire from the Colonels in the second half on Tuesday.

It took less than two minutes for James Wood's players to show they got the message.

After the team failed to score on five corner kick attempts in the first half, sophomore Sam Frigaard scored amidst a jumbled mass of players off Edgar Del Moral's corner kick from the left side for the first goal of the game in the 42nd minute.

That would be the first of two corner kick goals for the No. 3 Colonels in their 2-0 win over No. 6 Sherando at Kelican Stadium. Sophomore Colby Fields got his head on a corner kick from the right side played by Joseph Cannata with about six minutes remaining.

The Colonels (10-5-2) move on to Friday's semifinals at No. 2 Handley (13-2-2) at 4 p.m. James Wood is 0-1-1 against the Judges this year.

Sherando (2-14-1) has given James Wood everything it can handle this year, suffering defeats of 1-0 on April 12 and 2-1 just one week prior. The Warriors have been significantly more competitive since returning to nearly full strength health-wise in the first game with the Colonels. James Wood had a 5-1 shot advantage at the break, but the Colonels certainly didn't look smooth and cohesive in the first 40 minutes against the Warriors on Tuesday.

"[Sullivan] just tried to get in our heads and make us want the game more," Frigaard said. "Our energy from the start wasn't there, and Coach helped us bring it up in the second half. That's what got us our two goals."

"If we just got a goal early, we knew we could take the game from there," said Frigaard's older brother Micah, a center back and one of eight seniors on the team.

After the ball went out for a corner kick shortly into the second half, Del Moral lined a ball near the top of the goal box. After a deflection, it quickly made its way toward Frigaard right next to the goal line.

"It was really confusing [trying to figure out where the ball was going to go], but I was in the right place at the right time," Frigaard said. "I just tapped it as I was falling down. I just needed to get that goal."

Frigaard got the ball over the goal line just before anyone from Sherando could arrive in time to clear the ball.

Sullivan has been talking about James Wood's struggles to score goals since the early stages of the season. But the Colonels are dangerous on corner kicks, long throw-ins and set pieces because of their size and aggressiveness toward the ball in the penalty box. He yelled, "this is what we talked about" to his team just before Del Moral's corner. Sullivan said it's important for the Colonels to get as many of those types of opportunities as possible, and they need to take advantage when they get them.

"When we get a lot of them, we're going to increase the likelihood we're going to get a scrappy, ugly goal," Sullivan said. "That was both the goals today.

"Overall, we battled. Sherando hung in there and did an admirable job getting us a little frustrated and off of our game a little bit. But I challenged the seniors at halftime to not let this be their last game. The seniors need to sometimes get the younger guys up, and I think they did that at halftime. It ended in a positive result for us."

Micah Frigaard said he personally felt like he didn't do a good enough job of communicating on the defense in the first half, but he felt like the Colonels were much more organized and possessed the ball better in the second half. The Warriors' only real dangerous scoring opportunity came in the 61st minute. A volley from just inside the 18 sailed high after a deflection from a ball in the air.

"We've struggled to finish all year," said Sherando coach Pat Anderson, whose team scored only nine goals this season. "That's been our Achilles' heel. When we get opportunities, we just don't make the most of them. Credit to James Wood for shutting us down all three times this year.

"And as big as they are and as physical they are you can't give a team like that too many corner kicks and long throw-ins. The last time we played them, it was set pieces that got us, not the run of play."

Anderson liked how his team persevered this season.

"Even though our record didn't show it, they put forth the effort this year," Anderson said.

James Wood hasn't scored more than two goals in a game since April 5, but the Colonels are developing more scoring options. Fields is a JV callup who has now scored twice since being promoted about five games ago, and sophomore midfielder/forward Tristan Obert (eight goals, eight assists last year) played about half the game after seeing about 10 minutes of action in his season debut due to injury against Sherando last week.

James Wood is coming off a wildly successful 2021 postseason in which it made the Class 4 state semifinals. After tying Handley 1-1 in their last meeting, the Colonels hope they can take another step toward a long postseason run by beating the Judges.

"We're going to come in strong against Handley," Micah Frigaard said. "We're hitting our stride about now, so we're coming with full force."

Ben Tanger made two saves for James Wood. Connor Sanders and Jacob Steele, who have split time in goal throughout the year, made two saves each for the Warriors.

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

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