Receiving a pass from the corner, Neil Simpson ’19, looked at the goalie and rocketed a well-placed shot into the Hopkins net for his fifth goal of the match, which secured Andover Water Polo’s 14-8 win over Hopkins. In its other matchups this past week, the team fell to Loomis Chaffee and Phillips Exeter Academy with scores of 15-9 and 18-7, respectively.
Against Hopkins, the team’s first match of the season, Andover notched a decisive victory. Playing Loomis in the second game of a double header, Andover was noticeably fatigued as it hopped back into the pool. The team conceded the match, but found greater success against Loomis than it had in previous seasons offensively, scoring one more goal than in its previous matchup.
On Wednesday, Andover went into its match against Exeter down two goalies, Thomas Glover ’18 and Ryan Sedagat ’19. Beginner goalie Harvey Zheng ’19 faced off against Exeter in his first career start, having picked up water polo for the first time three short weeks ago.
Zheng said, “In this game, we were out three players, including two goalies. Because of that, I had to step up and try my best against a very good Exeter team. I think the game was a great learning experience to help strengthen our play and experience as a team overall.”
Exeter’s team boasts a notable hard-press defense and a penchant for quick breaks on offense. The two strategies shut down Andover’s first half offense and allowed Exeter to create a large lead in the initial portion of the game. Andover, however, adjusted well in the second half, scoring six goals compared to Exeter’s five for an eventual 18-7 loss. This improvement will hopefully show throughout the rest of the season.
Nick Schoeller ’18 said, “This week we worked a lot on working through a hard press because we knew Exeter was going to push us into the corners. Their pool is a lot bigger than ours, so we had to work on staying in position even under hard pressure. I think considering the fact that we have such a young team we expect to have a certain amount of slip-ups.”
Concerning the team’s ongoing progression, Co-Captain Jonathan Xue ’17 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Tough game, but we’re optimistic. We just need to learn from our mistakes and apply those to our weekend games.”
Describing the team’s adjustments, Jacob Hudgins ’19 said, “Going into the next game we need to work on getting back on defense and staying on our man as well as being aware of the drives.”
Andover looks forward to games against Canterbury and Brunswick this Saturday.