Connor Ding ’20 headed a ball towards the crossbar and Sam Kumler ’21 rose up to finish it off with another header, contributing another goal to Andover Boys Soccer’s 3-2 win over Deerfield on Sunday. After Wednesday’s 0-2 loss to Worcester Academy, Andover’s record moved to 4-8.
With a few players recovering from injuries, the team has been settling back into its rhythm, according to Co-Captain Henry Rogers ’19.
Rogers said, “We had a long period on the team where people were playing positions that weren’t necessarily their normal positions. But now that a lot of people are back from injury, it’s been a lot easier because guys are back where they feel more comfortable. [Co-Captain] Max Levi [’19] is back in goal after playing center back for a long time. Connor Ding is back from injury back at center back.”
Despite having multiple players come back to play against Deerfield, Andover had to sit out another player. Midfielder Daniel Cho ’21 suffered a concussion during the game, and his concussion will have an impact on the team’s feature games, according to Lucas Stowe ’20.
“Daniel was in the middle of a shot with his left foot. One of the defenders hit him [and] he kind of toppled over and hit his head on the ground. I’m sure he’ll be back sometime soon. He’s a really big part of the team, though. We would love to see him back as soon as possible,” said Stowe.
In the game on Saturday, although Deerfield opened the game’s scoring with the first goal, Andover was able to take back three more due to its perseverance, according to Rogers.
“We let a goal up in the first ten minutes of the game. Then we really turned it around and showed a lot of mental toughness, scored three really good goals and we were unlucky to concede a penalty off of a hand ball in the second half,” said Rogers.
According to Ethan Hong ’22 and Rogers, the team’s offense was able to take control of the game and move past Deerfield’s defenders.
“As a team we did very well in keeping possession of the ball, something we haven’t been doing as well in the past. We did well when we had the ball to keep it and make smart tactical plays on when and when not to drive into their defense,” wrote Hong in an email to The Phillipian.
“They were quite an athletic team, but I don’t think they have the same quality of technical soccer players as we did. We used that to our advantage. We passed around them, and we got a lot of opportunities from just moving the ball quickly and getting in behind them,” said Rogers.
Andover looks to get better at both scoring on opportunities and guarding goals from other teams in the future, according to Rogers and Hong.
“An area for improvement, we just need to stop giving up stupid goals, especially early in the game. We have to come out harder.” said Rogers.
Hong added, “I think we can improve on finishing out chances. Composure is huge, especially when that feeling hits right in front of the goal. We had multiple chances to probably make the score 7-2 or 8-2, yet because of our lack of composure at goal, we were unable to convert.”
On Wednesday, Andover fell to Worcester, a team that earlier this season defeated defending New England champion Loomis Chaffee. One of the biggest reasons for the loss, according to Stowe and Rogers, was the strong athleticism demonstrated by Worcester.
Stowe said, “With Worcester, they’re traditionally a very athletic team, very similar to Deerfield… So we were really trying to work on moving the ball around so we could go around them versus trying to go through them or chasing after them.”
“They have a lot of speed, a lot of strength. They move the ball really well, so our defense [had to] shift really fast to get across the field when they try and switch the play,” said Rogers.
Andover will face Kimball Union Academy at home on Saturday and hopes to continue the offensive control it showed against Deerfield, according to Stowe.
“Against [KUA] I’d say [we need to work on] keeping a tempo of the game on our side, not allowing them to keep possession of the ball, trying to maximize the time that we have the ball and just moving it around making sure that everyone’s getting into play,” said Stowe.