In Andover Ultimate’s first week of competition, Andover suffered two losses to Newton North 6-15 on Friday and 9-15 against St. John’s Prep on Wednesday. Its record now stands 0-2.
Co-Captain Reuben Philip ’18 said, “I was very proud of our overall performance against Newton North. They are a very experienced team who had already played three games before playing us. For some of us, this was our first varsity ultimate game and I was very proud of the fight that we put up against such an experienced team.”
Despite defeating Newton North last season, Andover found it hard to prepare for this past game because both teams had many new players and different styles of play, according to Kion Young ’20.
Young said, “Last year’s game didn’t really prepare us this year. Many of the players on the team are new and didn’t know Newton North’s play style. We saw many of the same strategies as last year, but didn’t practice how to counter them, which led to many turnovers for us and goals for them.”
Philip said, “I would say that in general, Ultimate teams can be very inconsistent every year. Newton North, however, has always given us great competition and they have always been a very disciplined team. They always punish mistakes which is a tough first opponent but we learned a lot from the loss.”
Although the game against Newton North was the team’s first official game, the new players were able to adapt quickly to Newton North’s style of play, specifically its zone defense, an uncommon type of defense that Andover had not prepared for, according to Young.
Young said, “We were definitely able to adapt to their set plays throughout the game. Near the end, the new players learned how to attack when Newton North was playing zone defense, and the whole team overall was able to find weaknesses in their offense or defense and use them as the game went on. With a bit more improvement in efficient cuts and team defense, as well as basic skills such as catching and throwing, I think that this team will be able to play much better.”
Against St. John’s Prep, after learning from the Newton North game, Andover worked on its intensity on defensive aspects of the game, according to Puru Sankarnarayan ’20.
Sankarnarayan said, “In the team’s loss to Newton North High, our defense was burnt repeatedly, not giving up the big plays, but allowing the small gains in yardage, and eventually allowing the score. For our away-game against St. John’s, we [worked on increasing] our intensity on defense. In doing so, [we’d] allow for more turnovers and help our offense flow easier.”
Andover will head out and play in a double-header against Northfield Mount Hermon and Choate this Saturday and hopes to continue improving on their defense and endurance, according to Head Coach Scott Hoenig and Young.
Coach Hoenig said, “We recognize that we will want to focus more on our defense — especially holding a consistent force and better positioning and anticipation guarding cutters. On the offensive side, we’ll want to improve the execution of our reset and reverse among the handlers and the timing and spacing of cuts among our cutters.”
Young said, “I think we should work on basic skills so that everyone is confident in throwing and catching the disc and on stamina and endurance for the upcoming games. Especially for the NMH and Choate games next week and on upcoming tournaments and invitationals, being able to use energy efficiently so that we aren’t tired out by the first few games, will be crucial to winning.”