Andover Boys Water Polo defeated Williston Northampton and Hotchkiss with scores of 14-9 and 19-11, respectively, to qualify for this year’s Nepsac playoffs. Andover also defeated St. John’s Prep (The Prep) 18-10 on Wednesday. The team’s record now stands at 7-1.
Neil Simpson ’19 said, “I think we played pretty well this weekend considering the circumstances. I like to say that we did what we needed to do to come away with the two wins. I think this weekend we took advantage of our fast break opportunities. We scored when we had the opportunities and we capitalized on defense when we had the chance to double team players and steal the ball.”
Nathaniel Cruz Walma ’18 said, “The real highlight came after our second game against Hotchkiss when Coach told us that we had qualified for playoffs with our wins. We haven’t qualified since 2013 when we won New England’s, so it was kind of a big [deal], especially since last year we really wanted to qualify and we were really close but we didn’t quite make the cut. Now we’ve already got it, so we are at least guaranteed one postseason game.”
According to Co-Captain Nate Smith ’18, Andover was surprised by The Prep’s high level of play in its matchup against the team this Wednesday.
Smith said, “This was the first year we played St. John’s since they got their new facility, and we went in without knowing much about where they were at in terms of development. We were surprised quickly by their physicality, but regained control over the course of the game.”
“The team could improve on five-meter shots,” added Sam Donchi ’20. “We had multiple opportunities but didn’t convert any of them.”
According to Smith, Andover played a rushed game against The Prep due to its unexpectedly heavy offense.
Donchi said, “St. John’s was up 3-1 halfway through the first quarter. We did a very good job shutting them down and turning the game around.”
The hole set in water polo is the player in the middle of the pool, positioned in front of the goal. Andover hopes to utilize their hole set to generate more points in the future, according to Simpson.
“[I believe that our team can improve by] generating a bit more offense from our hole set. We are starting to look into our big and powerful hole players now but our passes have to be a bit sharper and our hole sets have to work on their step outs [to get position],” said Simpson.
Andover will face Choate this weekend, and hopes to make up for its loss against them last season.
Simpson said, “Last year we had a lot of trouble with Choate. They were a big team and they played a physical game and they pressed us out really well. Hopefully we are going to keep working on our composure against big press defense and hopefully come out on top.”