Seconds after the opening whistle, Andover Boys Water Polo linked together a series of passes to give Thomas Choi ’16 a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie. He effortlessly slammed the ball into the back corner of the net, scoring a crucial goal in Andover’s eventual 11-10 loss to Williston on Saturday. Nevertheless, Andover managed to bounce back in the second game of its doubleheader, clinching an 11-8 victory over Hotchkiss to bring its record to 2-4.
Despite the narrow loss against Williston, Andover’s goalies turned in a stellar performance. They had an extremely high save percentage at approximately 55%, which is well above the league’s typical 30% save average.
Andover’s persistence prevailed, as the team refused to let Williston run away with the score.
“[Our] mental strength was prevalent. After falling to a three point deficit against Williston, we were able to fight back to a one-possession game in the final thirty seconds,” wrote Nick Isenhower ’18 in an email to The Phillipian.
In spite of this, Andover stumbled offensively and failed to capitalize on opportunities. Its shooting percentage was only 33%, which could potentially be attributed to poor shot accuracy.
“Our biggest weakness in both games was inaccurate shooting. We had a lot of shots directly at the goalie in center cage, while hitting the corners would have been more effective,” continued Isenhower.
Additionally, the team faced height challenges while playing in the shallow end of the pool.
“Many of our strongest players are very tall, and in the game against Williston, [while playing] in the shallow end, [they] had a difficult time staying off the bottom. [This] allowed for Williston to take possession of the ball,” said Nicholas Schoeller ’18.
Bouncing back from the tough loss, Andover used strong defensive strategies in its win against Hotchkiss. The team’s fast steals resulted in strong counterattacks, which opened up shot opportunities.
Captain Nick Faulkner ’16 and Dylan Norris ’16 stood out as a strong duo, as they scored multiple goals and forced several turnovers. Newcomer Eric Osband ’19 also made a solid impression in the game with a remarkable number of steals.
“[Osband] had a series of exceptional performances in which he threw several fouls. He made a lot of steals and forced a lot of turnovers,” said Schoeller.
Andover barraged the Hotchkiss net with shots, and by the end of the first quarter, Andover held an 8-2 lead.
Thomas Glover ’18 said, “Every single person made it off the bench in [the Hotchkiss] game, and we knew from the first quarter it was pretty much a sure victory. We continued to stay ahead throughout the entire game, and eventually won.”
Andover will look to build on its success against Choate at home this Saturday.