Early in the first half of the game against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), Co-Captain Alex Dziadosz ’16 launched a corner kick into the box. The ball bounced straight to Co-Captain Peder Bakken ’16, who blasted it into the bottom left corner of the net. The pass between the two Co-Captains was Andover’s only goal in last Friday’s 1-1 tie. Andover then lost 3-1 to Cushing the following Wednesday, dropping its record to 7-2-2.
Since they played on the turf in Phelps Stadium, Andover’s match against NMH was fast-paced, allowing for varied strategies on set pieces.
This difference was crucial in creating Andover’s lone goal.
Bakken said, “In our pregame meeting, [Head Coach Will Orben] mentioned that since we were playing on turf, we could play the ball in on the ground from a set piece. [Dziadosz] and I then discussed what to do and decided to try a play that I had seen done once before.”
“I told everyone on the corner where to run, so that they caused confusion and dragged the defenders away. Everyone executed their job perfectly, so I was left alone with a free shot from just inside the top of the 18,” continued Bakken.
On the other side of the field, NMH’s potent offense tested Andover’s defense throughout the game. Filled with intensity, the backline held strong and was able to counter NMH’s relentless attack for most of the game. In the final moments of the match, however, NMH managed to get through Andover’s defense on a set piece.
Post-Graduate (PG) Brad Schlosser ’16, the team’s starting right back, said, “We were able to play a relatively even match with NMH because our team came out with a lot of intensity. After losing a close game with Milton, we wanted to respond with a strong performance. We moved the ball around the defense and through the midfield to try to have as much possession as possible.”
Following the frustrating tie, Andover battled to a 3-1 loss against Cushing on Wednesday.
Andover fought hard and earned a 1-0 lead after PG Alejandro Diaz ’16 scored on an open chance in the first half, but Andover was unable to stop Cushing from capitalizing on its opportunities.
Andover’s defensive line put pressure on the ball, only allowing Cushing to fire off three shots. Cushing, however, managed to finish all three of its chances.
Darian Bhathena ’16 said, “[Moving forward], we are going to need to work on a bit of everything, making sure we play as a team throughout, no matter the situation. We’d have a great buildup from the defense and the midfield and we’d start moving the ball forward and then we’d try to do too much individually.”
Andover will work to implement these strategies when it takes on Deerfield this Saturday.