Co-Captain Thayer Anderson ’15 splayed himself across the floor and barely dug the ball out of the air against Wilbraham & Monson Academy, helping his team secure a point and earning one of his 25 digs at the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council volleyball tournament.
Andover played two sets against Choate and Wilbraham each during a round robin before the tournament in order to determine the third and fourth seeds for the semifinals. Unfortunately, Andover tied with Choate 1-1 and fell to Wilbraham 2-0, knocking Andover’s team out of the competition before reaching the tournament.
Against Choate, Andover came out firing. The team went ahead 4-0 early in the first set. Anderson’s 11 of 14 digs, two aces and 10 of 12 serves during the entire match kept Andover energized. After Choate pulled back to 6-5, the set became more even, and the two teams traded points until Choate quickly pulled away and gathered a 20-13 lead.
Within three rotations and the help of six consecutive points on serve, Andover was able to bring the score back to 23-22 and then 24-23. After this, Andover was given two opportunities to finish off Choate but was unable to capitalize on its leads. Andover defended one set point but then lost the set 26-28.
In the second set, middle Brendan Deorocki ’15 served the team to a six point lead with seven consecutive points off the serve. The score was 9-3 in Andover’s favor. During the entire match, Deorocki had two aces, 12 of 13 serves and 6 of 6 blocks. Though Choate was able to tie the match at 18, Andover succeeded in tying up the match 1-1 with a 25-22 win in the second set. A main contributor to the win was middle Austin Robichaud ’15, who turned in a flawless 15 of 15 hits and six kills.
The second match was against Wilbraham, who Andover beat earlier in the season. Andover started off the match down 0-3 and then 1-4. Deorocki was on top of his game, however, and served the game back to 4-4.
Outside hitter Austin Tuan ’17 served up a 12-7 lead for his team, serving 12 of 14 with one ace, six kills and 13 hits overall. Despite his performance, Andover slowly lost its lead, and the game was tied again at 18-18.
Andover’s hard work fell apart as Wilbraham pulled ahead and secured the lead at 23-20. Fighting for a semifinal spot, Anderson served back to 24-24 and then defended the set point to tie the game again at 25-25. Wilbraham just barely grasped a 27-25 first set win.
The second set began like the first, with the game tied at 5-5. Andover was then able to pull ahead, 12-8, in part due to Evan Park ’18, who had 29 assists in the tournament.
Later, Wilbraham brought the score back to 15-12 and took hold of the game. At this point in the game, Tom Johst ’15, an opposite, and Tuan served the game back to 24-23. The game could have gone either way. In an intense period of play, Wilbraham forced a side out and served two points to snatch the game out of Andover’s grasp. The final score of the match was 2-0.
The early exit for Andover in the group stage was not reflective of the team’s form. Co-Captain Oliver Chernyk ’15 said, “The tournament was a really tough way to go out. We had some unlucky breaks and obviously didn’t play up to our potential. Coming in, we felt like we had a good shot on winning it all. On the other hand, we’ve got a chance to redeem ourselves playing Exeter this upcoming weekend. On the whole, I’m really proud of how the guys fought.”
Andover will be playing Phillips Exeter Academy in the traditional Andover/Exeter rivalry on Saturday, May 2.