Despite an early 10-4 lead in the first set, Andover Boys Volleyball never completely found its footing as it was swept in three sets by Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH). After losing the first set 25-20, it fell in subsequent sets 25-22 and 25-21.
Although Andover was initially strong, its serve return became faulty towards the end of the first set. After a demoralizing defeat in the first set, Andover lost its confidence and intensity moving into the later sets.
Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith said, “We played a decent match and were on track to score in the first set when one of our side-out rotations fell apart returning multiple serves. After that there was a lack of confidence and intensity. We beat ourselves as much as NMH beat us, though they should be credited for their perseverance.”
Co-Captain Austin Tuan ’17 said, “We also let the other team get on serving runs because our passes weren’t that good, so the combination of the two hurt us a lot.”
Andover also had to implement a new strategy because one of its key players, Rawit Assamongkol ’18, was unable to play due to an illness. To fill his position, Roberto Rabines ’16 and Jackson Lee ’17 played at both the front and back row positions.
“They both stepped up really well and jumped right into the game. Roberto got a couple nice hits, especially down the line, and Jackson saved a few balls that were hit by their middle,” said Tuan.
The team struggled to execute a strategy enacted by Coach Beckwith at the beginning of the NMH game. Thus, Beckwith believes the best strategy moving forward may be reliance on natural tendencies.
Coach Beckwith said, “We have to practice more as a team this week. It may be that we are not ready for a specific game plan yet as a team and that we do our best just playing on instinct for this time of the season.”
Andover came into the season with four of its team members being new to the sport. That being said, Andover had made great improvement since the start of the season, gaining much needed fundamental skills.
“Our starters are all of the returners, but outside that, maybe four have played the sport before, and the other four are completely new. Even so, there has been so much improvement by everyone on the team, and I think a lot of that comes from the returners setting a good example, and the new members being willing and wanting to learn not just what’s fun, but everything that builds up to that, and all the foundational skills that are so important to the sport,” said Tuan.
Andover looks to snap its losing streak against Choate this Saturday.