Co-Captain Oliver Chernyk ’15 leapt into the air, spiked the ball down onto Phillips Exeter Academy’s court and saw the crowd jump into the air cheering. Andover played its final game against Exeter at the tri-annual Andover/Exeter Weekend. Although Andover had high expectations coming into the match, the team lost to Exeter 3-1 and finished the season with a final record of 3-7.
The atmosphere was charged for the third and final meeting between the teams. In the two previous meetings, Exeter had won by 3-0 and 3-2 margins.
In the first set, Andover came out firing. Both teams traded side-outs and points until the score was 5-5. Andover’s Evan Park ’18 served his team up a six-point lead, continuing his streak of exceptional serving performances.
Exeter battled back, but Andover stayed strong and held the score at 20-15. Then, the team held its lead with Co- Captain Thayer Anderson ’15 serving and brought the score to 24-15. Andover secured the first set and the 1-0 lead with a score of 25-15.
In the second set, Exeter changed its line-up and fought back. Andover didn’t gain a single service point while siding the ball out through six rotations. The team kept Exeter within three points, however, and Park stepped his game up once again and earned the team another two points on the serve, bringing the score to 9-8 in favor of Exeter.
“We came out hot and started strong with a dominant first set. In the second, we lost steam and never really came back,” said Austin Robichaud ’15.
Exeter scored a side out and then quickly scored three points, bringing the score from 13-13 to 17-13. Exeter followed up its burst by trading side outs with Andover until it won the set 25-21. In the third set, Andover suffered from miscommunications, and Exeter quickly capitalized. It quickly took the set from 6-5 to 25-14, bringing the overall match score to 1-2.
The fourth proved to be far closer. The two teams traded leads seven times before a 10-10 tie. Exeter then leapt ahead to grab a 17-13 lead, but Andover fought its way back into the game. The score was brought to 21-21, 22-22 and then 23-23. Exeter then grinded out the next two points and won the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.
Park said, “It was a competitive game. We didn’t get the result we wanted or the season we wanted, but this was a good way to end the year. I’m proud of this team and how we played.” Andover Boys Volleyball ended its season with a record of 3-7. With seven returning players, the team will look to climb back above .500 next season.