Andover Boys Volleyball won its game against Wilbraham & Monson 3-0 on Saturday before falling to rival Phillips Exeter Academy 0-3 on Wednesday. The team’s record now stands at 2-1.
Saturday’s victory came in large part due to the team’s tenacity, but the team suffered from a lack of quickness on the court, according to Rawit Assamongkol ’18.
“When our first hit [doesn’t] work, we try, try, triceratops again, showing perseverance. However, because of our caveman-like reflexes, we had some plays that weren’t so great… We really put in mammoth efforts, though,” wrote Assamongkol in an email to The Phillipian.
Although Wilbraham’s tall middle hitter towered over the Andover team, Andover used its bigger players to block the opponents’ hits and win points.
“Ben Meyer [’18] has the wingspan of a pterodactyl, which meant he could block from far away. [Clayson] Briggs [’19] has the velocity of a velociraptor, which helped him respond to quick hits well. And even despite Wilbraham’s middle hitter’s brachiosaurus height, we ice-aged all his plays. [Isaac Blackburn-Johnson ’18] also had hits [that] landed on their side like the asteroid during the Cretaceous Period,” continued Assamongkol.
Andover won each of its sets over W&M with dominant scores of 25-11, 25-8, and 25-12.
On Wednesday, however, the team struggled to serve and return well.
Neil Simpson ’19 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “One thing that killed us was our 15 missed serves. Statistically speaking, as Ryan “Eustreptospondylus” Goggins [’18] pointed out on the bus ride back, we shouldn’t have missed as many serves.”
“Exeter’s hitters could crush the ball with their long spaghetti arms, while we could hardly reach the net with our T-rex-esque arms,” added Evan Park ’18 in an email to The Phillipian.
By contrast, Exeter’s strong passing and offensive shots allowed it to score consistently.
“Their receive was really good. They got the ball to the center well. The ball came down like a meteor, like the one that killed the dinosaurs. Our team was the Gulf of Mexico, and they just blew us up,” said Assamongkol in an in-person interview.
Andover lost each of its three sets, scores of 20-25, 18-25, and 20-25, but the comparative closeness of the match indicated an improved Andover team, according to Assamongkol.
He said in the same interview, “Five points isn’t much in volleyball. Statistically speaking, if we lost to Exeter as we have in the past, we would’ve lost by ten points. But this year was different. We got better while their team got slightly worse.”
Although the team came out of the game without the result they wanted, there were some positives to be taken from the loss, according to Simpson.
Simpson wrote, “We did see a few positives throughout the game. The beautiful thing about volleyball is that what happened previously in the game has no actual effect on the rally at hand. So, theoretically, when we made two mistakes in a row, it meant that we did something good.”
“Neil ‘Degrasse Tyson’ Simpson was our best player today. His speedy efforts to save every ball resembled a velociraptor. It was fantastic to watch,” wrote Park.
Looking toward upcoming games, Andover Boys Volleyball hopes to bond as a team.
“Going forward I think we should have team film sessions where we pepper in clips from ‘Land Before Time.’ The only thing more important than learning how to spike a ball like a meteor smashing into the Gulf of Mexico is compassion,” added Park.
In addition, Andover is nursing a number of injuries.
“A lot of us were injured. A lot of knee injuries. A lot of ankle injuries were still there. […] Our heavy bodies are stressing our legs, and our knees are feeling it most,” said Assamongkol.
The team will travel to Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) for a game on Saturday.