The fans were out in force for Washington International's latest rivalry game against St. Albans on Friday night in Northwest Washington. (Photo by Elena Zettelmeyer)

On Friday, Washington International rode the bus to its Northwest neighbors St. Albans, and players were reminded of the last time the two teams met. Last November, the Red Devils suffered an extra-time loss to the Bulldogs in the D.C. State Athletic Association final.

But it was not the result of the game on the players’ minds as they travelled the single mile from Macomb Street to Garfield Street. Instead, Washington International read about a different source of motivation.

“Last year’s captains wrote us a letter. We didn’t see it until the bus on the way to the game. It told us that we needed to give a good performance for the community and the fans. Last year against St. Albans we lost, but we did the community proud,” senior forward Nico Ubide said. “It was a huge motivational tool. WIS doesn’t have a football or lacrosse team, so our main thing is soccer. It’s the biggest thing that gets the whole community out together.”

In Friday’s rematch, sophomore Pablo Peltier pounced on an errant clearance to score late in the first half, and Washington International held on for a 1-0 win.

“The games against St. Albans are the best experiences I’ve ever had playing soccer. . . . ” senior Julian Klingen said. “All the hype draws fans from both sides. Last year in the final event, though we lost, it was still a great experience to play under the lights with everyone cheering you.”

Klingen moved from left back to anchor the center of Washington International’s defense this season. Last Thursday, he committed to play college soccer for Division III Oberlin. Ubide led the area with 24 goals as a junior. Together, the duo assured its inexperienced teammates were ready for the pressure of the ‘D.C. Derby.’

“The biggest thing this offseason was encouraging young guys. We had a bunch of guys from JV who thought about not playing soccer at all. A lot of them were convinced that the shoes were just too big to fill,” Ubide said. “We saw St. Albans on the schedule in mid-September and said: ‘All right, we got a month and a half to prepare for this. If we think we can win this game, we’re going to have to put in work every single day.’ ”

As Washington International (2-0) and St. Albans (2-2) enter conference play, the two teams will work to refine their play in hopes of returning to the DCSAA final.

“Everyone on the soccer team at St. Albans wants to play WIS again. Everyone at WIS wants to play St. Albans again. The atmosphere fires everyone up; it’s a great rivalry,” St. Albans senior captain Johnny Comas said. “Washington International has a good team, we’re evenly matched. Hopefully we’ll meet again.”

The Big number: 9

Goals scored by O’Connell senior Andres Garcia as the Knights are unbeaten in their last five games.

Player of the week

F Austin Minnigh, Huntingtown, Sr.

Minnigh has scored or assisted in every game during the Hurricanes’ 6-0 start, amassing five goals and seven assists. Against Calvert on Tuesday, Minnigh dished out three assists in Huntingtown’s 3-1 win.

The Post Top 10

Meade held onto the top spot with wins over Annapolis and Glen Burnie. . . . Walter Johnson beat Bethesda rival Whitman in convincing fashion Tuesday. . . . DeMatha bounced back from a loss to McDonogh with wins over St. Anthony’s (N.J.) and Ireton. . . . Severna Park beat South River, 1-0. . . . Mount Hebron returns to the rankings after beating Howard County rival River Hill for the first time since 2009.

1. Meade (5-0) LW: 1

2. Watkins Mill (3-0) LW: 2

3. Walter Johnson (5-0) LW: 4

4. DeMatha (5-2) LW: 3

5. Leonardtown (4-0) LW: 5

6. Severna Park (6-0) LW: 7

7. Quince Orchard (3-1) LW: 9

8. Mount Hebron (4-1) LW: NR

9. Damascus (5-1) LW: NR

10. Huntingtown (5-0), LW: NR

Dropped out: No. 6 Whitm an (4-2), No. 8 Gonzaga (1-2-1), No. 10 Blake (3-3)

On the bubble: Magruder (5-1), Chesapeake (3-1), Broadneck (3-1)

Records through Tuesday.