After his opponent from Belmont Hill hit a rail off of the right side of the front wall, Captain Alex Bernhard ’19 played a cross that misled his opponent and secured him a 3-1 victory over his opponent. The team ultimately fell 3-4 to Belmont Hill following a 7-0 victory against Tabor and a 5-2 victory against Choate on Saturday. The team’s record now stands at 2-1.
In Andover’s match against Tabor, first seed Bernhard and second seed Jack Lee ’20 were the only two Andover players to suffer a loss as, and according to Head Coach John Roberts, their opponents were arguably two of the best players in the nation.
In an email to The Phillipian, Coach Roberts wrote, “Tabor’s 1 and 2 are arguably the strongest in the country so we knew it would be tough at the top against them. Alex and Jack still put up a fight and hung in for long periods of time. The remaining matches were solid 3-0 performances from everyone against both teams. The boys knew not to take them lightly and never let them get a foothold in the match.”
This season, the team welcomes new players such as Sid Sinha ’21, Arthur Nguyen ’22, and Joe Kacergis PG’19 to the team. According to Coach Roberts, the new players’ composure throughout their matches contributed to their victories.
“The newcomers, Sid, Arthur and Joe were all playing their first matches for Andover and played two disciplined matches against tricky opposition. Nerves can always play a factor, but they drew on their experience from previous tournaments to contain their opponents and stay in front,” Coach Roberts wrote.
After the match against Belmont Hill, Bernhard said, “Definitely, our two new underclassmen [showed up today]… Sid had a pretty tough one and it came in pretty tight. I was really impressed that they kept their cool, it didn’t seem like the nerves were getting to them or anything.”
Bernhard additionally commended Lee on his performance on Wednesday, even though he was defeated.
“Jack Lee had a really good match. He ended up losing but there was a lot of heart in there up until the very end, which was nice to see. It really energizes the crowd,” Bernhard said.
Bernhard says he feels that this year’s team is very strong, and he is excited for what it could accomplish.
“I think this team is the best one I’ve had a chance to be a part of during my time at Andover. We have some new kids, but it seems that even the returners put in a lot of work during the offseason so I’m very excited to see what we can achieve together,” he added.
Bernhard also says he believes that the match against Belmont Hill is a learning point for future matches against difficult opponents.
“I think what we learned today is that at an individual level when we go up players who are maybe technically more skilled, we can’t go toe to toe with them with shot making and things like that because they will beat you. So, it’s really about long rallies, medium pace, who can stay on court for longer, it’s not exciting squash. It’s not really that fun to watch, it’s more of a war of attrition to see who can take it for longer,” he said.
Andover will play Milton on Wednesday.
Editor’s Note: Alex Bernhard is an Eighth Page Editor for The Phillipian.