After ducking underwater due to heavy pressure from his defender, Neil Simpson ’19 resurfaced and ripped a backhand shot under the goalie’s arm. Simpson’s goal was one of eight that he scored in Andover Boys Water Polo’s 16-15 double overtime loss against Suffield Academy. Earlier in the week, Andover suffered a 11-7 loss to Loomis Chaffee, bringing its overall record to 4-6.
Countering Simpson’s inspired offensive performance, Suffield’s offense came out roaring. After the first quarter, Suffield led 4-3, and by halftime, Suffield had scored an additional six goals while Andover had only scored one. A passionate halftime speech by Head Coach Dan O’Shea, however, revitalized Andover heading into the second half.
Simpson said, “Going into halftime, coach gave us an amazing speech that got us all fired up and that inspired us for the rest of the third quarter… That was a turning point in the game for us.”
Nick Isenhower ’18 added, “While we had a rough second quarter, everyone really showed up at the end. Our captains, our bench, our field players, our goalies. Everyone came together and really made our plays work and everything we’d been working on in practice. We really had a great game in the second half and it really showed in all of our stats.”
Alongside Simpson, Isenhower provided an offensive spark for Andover. He was the second highest-scorer of the game for Andover, tallying five goals on the day.
Simpson said, “Nick Isenhower played the game of his life. He was covering their top player for the majority of the game.”
Against Loomis on Saturday, Andover struggled to defend against its opponents’ speed, and fell 11-7.
Co-Captain Dan Tran ’17 said, “Loomis was a fast and experienced team that played as a unit very well. Their ability to capitalize off any of our mishaps hurt us a few times.”
Despite the loss, the team showed determination and grit. Simpson and Co-Captain Jonathan Xue ’17 each scored for Andover.
Tran said, “We have to work on our passes from the perimeter into our hole set player… We know that these are teams we can beat and that by doing so, we can punch our ticket to the playoffs.”
Nonetheless, Andover is confident in its ability heading into the second half of its season.
Xue said, “I’ve never seen our team come this close together, I’ve never seen our team this passionate, especially scoring those game-time goals… Heading into our next two games we have a lot of momentum and it’s always good to have that kind of passion and energy driving us to hopefully make it to playoffs.”
The team will face off against St. John’s Prep on Friday.