Seeded first in Division III, Andover Boys Squash traveled to the Head 2017 US High School Squash Team Championships in Hartford, Conn. last Friday.
The team began the tournament with a bye, but faced Germantown Friends School on Saturday. Andover defeated its opponents in a close 4-3 match.
Captain and sixth seed David Tsai ’18 said, “The competition was tough. We were towards the top half of Division III and held our own against very quality teams. The matches were incredibly close, with three of them going to five games.”
Later in the day, however, the team lost to Westminster (Ga.) in a tight 4-3 match. Second seed Ishaan Patel ’18 said, “We need to be fitter as a team because in our last match a lot of us were tired after playing multiple five game matches.”
First seed Alex Bernhard ’19 said, “One adjustment we definitely [needed to make was in] the recovery aspect of the matches since we were playing twice a day, we needed to make sure we were physically and metabolically regenerated by the next match.”
Head Coach Tom Hodgson said, “We lost a very close match to Westminster from Georgia 4-3, and in that match there were three matches that went to five games, so very close. We only won one of those.”
After losing to Westminster, the team convened to regain its energy. Heading into its playoff match for third or fourth place against Poly Prep, the team focused on its shot selection and stamina. Andover’s efforts paid off, as it ultimately defeated its opponents 4-3 to secure a third place finish.
Fifth seed Sean Kim ’18 said, “Throughout the weekend, I felt very excited. I’d say Jack, David, and I were especially excited as it was really the first time this season competing against opponents of our level. Throughout the season we’ve had to play opponents who were either way better than us or much worse than us. We were really tested during our matches, and they were really close.”
The closeness of the matches kept the team on edge and kept its spirits high.
Tsai said, “I loved how everyone was cheering their hearts out and supporting their teammates with all they had.”
Jack Lee ’20 was the only Andover player to win all three of his matches over the weekend, despite being the seventh seed and the only Junior on the team.
Bernhard said, “Jack Lee played really well, winning all three of his matches and keeping in the game for all of them at crucial times.”
Looking ahead, the team hopes to build upon its winning momentum and improve its shot execution.
Coach Hodgson said, “Learning to attack and when to defend even when in points, these are levels of sophistication that we’re just beginning to understand as a team… So to raise the game we have to understand the dynamics of shot selection and execution within points and within matches as well.”
Andover will face Concord on Friday and Phillips Exeter Academy next Wednesday, before traveling to Interschols next weekend.