Down by three in the third quarter, face-off specialist Troy Pollock ’21 gained possession of the ball, drove down the field and scored off a dominant fast break. In the end, these efforts secured the team’s 9-8 win over Brewster on Wednesday, following an 8-9 loss to Milton on Friday and a loss to Salisbury on Saturday. The team’s record now stands at 4-4.
According to Pollock, the win against Brewster was essential for the team’s momentum moving forward.
“This game was a do-or-die game for our season. We needed this win to keep us going, and we won against a great opponent. We played all four quarters to the fullest, and I think we found [ourselves] as a team,” said Pollock.
Will Kantaros ’18 added, “We were down by three in the third quarter. We’ve been in similar situations in previous games and threw in the towel. I was really proud of the team for not giving up and continuing to fight. Troy Pollock had a sick goal right off the face off that pushed the momentum our way. Tolo also had a monster hit on a kid. It was sick. Our effort was fantastic. This was a statement game and we delivered.”
On Friday, the team took an 8-9 loss to a talented Milton team, but Andover remained composed and did not give up, according to Co-Captain Larson Tolo ’18.
“Friday’s game was not at all what we hoped it would be, but we played with a lot of intensity and that is what I remember most. For example, we had one goal when we were down by two where we passed the ball around crisply, running our play with precision and finishing with a rocket of a shot by Zach Geddes ’18. Our defense played very well that game as well, with multiple takeaway checks that made the other team hesitant in running their offense,” wrote Tolo in an email to The Phillipian.
Andover traveled to Salisbury, Conn. on Saturday to play Salisbury’s nationally-ranked team. According to Tolo, the team reflected after Friday’s loss and showed greater determination on Saturday and was proud of its performance.
Tolo said, “Because we did not play our best on Friday, we had a lot of time to think about what we wanted to do to not feel that way again. It is a horrible feeling losing a game that you thought you could have won, so on the bus home Friday, we said exactly that and, as a team, we thought about how to turn things around. We saw Saturday as a fresh start, and we played that way. We lost on Saturday, but we played some of the best lacrosse of the season. Salisbury is ranked fifth in the nation, so that loss felt better than the loss to Milton.”
Jed Heald ’20 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Our team had been practicing very hard the past few weeks in order to prepare to play one of the country’s top teams in Salisbury. We’ve been working on defensive slides and communication and, on the offensive side of the field, we’ve improved our shooting percentages. It was definitely tough having back-to-back games, especially after losing the first one, but the team did a great job coming together Saturday night and giving it our best effort.”
Tolo credits much of the team’s success on Saturday to goalie Eugene Yoon’s ’18 performance and a cohesive offense led by Andrew Antonucci ’18.
“Eugene Yoon played out of his mind. Salisbury is an incredibly skilled offensive team, but Yoon kept us in that game. He made save after save, robbing the other team of some hard-earned goals. Also, our offense was playing incredibly well. Andrew Antonucci was a stand-out, shaking his defender to score some very important goals. All in all, our team played the kind of team-oriented lacrosse we have been striving for all season, and it was great to see things come together,” wrote Tolo.
Tolo also stressed the importance of playing for the team as a goal for Wednesday’s game.
Tolo wrote, “The first goal is to play for each other rather than for one’s self. We have had some trouble in creating a culture that pushes for guys to put aside their pride and glory for the good of the team, but that has been our main focus this week. We have been meeting as a team to ensure that this is our collective goal, and Wednesday will be a great time to put those goals to the test.”
On Wednesday, the team beat Brewster 9-8 after losing in overtime last year. The team also achieved its goal of unified playing. According to Tolo, everyone was motivated by the positive outcome of the game.
“I was incredibly satisfied with today’s game. We played exactly how we wanted to, battling for everything and playing for each other. It was a tough week for everyone, but I am so pleased with how everyone responded to a disheartening weekend,” wrote Tolo.
Tolo hopes to translate Wednesday’s success into confident playing throughout the rest of the season.
Tolo wrote, “We will take everything we did well today and try to improve it in practice for our next game. It is easy to coast off of this big win, but we haven’t proven anything yet. We need to keep bonding as a team and playing tough, competitive lacrosse in practice and we will be on a good path.”
The team will face St. Paul’s at home on Saturday and Holderness at home on Wednesday.
Editor’s Note: Nick Bevacqua ’19 is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.