Twenty minutes into the first half of the Boys Varsity Soccer game against Holderness, Rolando Rabines ’19 passed the ball through the two center defenders to Will Godbout ’20, who took one touch towards the goal and shot the ball through the goalie’s legs and into the back of the net, scoring Andover’s first goal. Godbout went on to score a hat trick, contributing to Andover’s 4-0 home win on Wednesday.
The previous Friday, Andover suffered a 1-0 loss against defending Class A champion Loomis Chaffee. The team traveled to Loomis again on Sunday to scrimmage Northwood.
In order to achieve success against Holderness, Andover focused on possession, passing, and playing as a single unit, according to Tulio Marchetti ’21 and Godbout.
Marchetti wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We implemented a more possession-based approach [against Holderness], and it worked very well. Although our opponents were not the best, it was a good game to begin that style of play… [After the] first half, it was only 1-0, which did not reflect our domination in the game, so we worked harder during the second half, and played faster to secure another [three] goals… As a team… we connected a lot of passes. We played [one or two] touches, and moved the ball up the field fast… Next game will be a lot harder, so as a team we will play faster and try to win every ball.”
“The difference in this game for our team was the fact that we played as a connected team. For the first couple games of the season our defense seemed somewhat disconnected from our offense and vise versa. Our passing was also much better than it had been in past games. All of that combined with our defense shutting down their offense and our midfield maintaining possession helped us a lot,” added Godbout.
Despite falling to Loomis last Friday, the team was able to hold them to just one goal. According to Head Coach Edwin Escobar, Andover was outmatched by Northwood, but the match provided a good learning opportunity for the team.
Escobar said, “We were happy to play [Northwood], but they are at the level where the majority of their players are looking to play professionally. They had a roster full of a lot of international players, and while the result was [a loss], we had our chances to put ourselves on the board. We learned that a lot of things we are doing in practice are very much what they are doing in the game in terms of moving into space, passing the ball quickly, [and] supporting one another on and off the field.”
Due to the team’s goalie, Co-Captain Max Levi ’19, becoming injured and needing seven stitches in his left hand, he moved from goalie to starting center back. Levi impacted the team immensely this past weekend in bringing his value to the field, according to Escobar.
“Max Levi… was our goalie and is now playing center back for us. I don’t think he’s ever played center back in his life before, and because of an injury in his hand he can no longer be in the goal. He is too valuable of a player for us to not have on the field so we sort of played around with the idea of having him on the field, and he’s our starting center back and it’s amazing,” said Coach Escobar.
Coach Escobar continued, “Against Loomis [Levi] was playing against Michael Suski who is arguably one of the best high school forwards in the country, and he was able to defend him for the majority of the game and keep him off the score sheet.”
Although Andover conceded five goals this weekend, its defense was especially strong with Kion Young ’20 saving as many balls as possible, according to Ethan Hong ’22 and Escobar.
Escobar said,“[Young], our Upper goalie, who played in place of [Levi], has been amazing. Against Northwood he was absolutely unbelievable. Against a team like that, they had several chances and Kion made some incredible saves that really made the game close. So he has been absolutely sensational for stepping in for Max in goal.”
This weekend, it was evident that the team is becoming a “90 minute team,” according to Coach Escobar, with their fitness improving since pre-season.
Coach Escobar said, “In the first couple of games [of the season] we were up 1-0 and would end losing 2-1 or 3-1 because we weren’t able to play for 90 minutes. Our fitness just wasn’t where it needed to be for us to compete for a full 90 minutes. I think today we are in a better place, although we have some players that are injured I think as a team we are able to be on the field and compete for longer periods of time.”
Andover Boys Soccer will face Taft at home this Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Max Levi is a Layout Editor for The Phillipian.