DULUTH, MN-- Usually, the atmosphere on game day for the UW-Superior Men's soccer team is filled with excitement and anticipation.
On Sunday afternoon, the emotion on gameday was quite different. Bittersweet, as some may say, and definitely not an easy day for the Yellowjackets.
In August, incoming freshman Ryder Woodworth suddenly passed away just one day before his college move-in day. He was set to start his first season in a Yellowjackets uniform.
His passing has impacted the Men's soccer program on all cylinders. On Sunday, when UWS hosted Ryder's hometown team, UW-Eau Claire, the game was attributed to his memory.
UWS kicked off the game with one less player. After an opening play, the game was paused to recognize the Woodworth family who was in attendance wearing t-shirts that read "12-strong."
Following their tribute, Senior Archie Gjerdrum completed the starting line-up. Gjerdrum wears number 12, which would have been Ryder's collegiate number.
The UWS squad also wore armbands that included Ryder's number and initials.
The Yellowjackets fall to Eau Claire, 3-1. It was not the result they hoped for, but the game was about Ryder; no winning result can compare to celebrating and honoring Ryder Woodworth's life.