Andover Boys Lacrosse Powers Past KUA, Downs Moses Brown

Andover Boys Lacrosse used their mini-vacation wisely, returning from a week without games to curtail their potentially catastrophic threegame losing streak. The boys blasted their return across the Andover campus with two knock-out wins over K.U.A. and Moses Brown. In what was undeniably a no-brainer of a game, the boys pulled their act together after their latest loss to Loomis and admirably claimed the strong victory by the margin of 20–9, walking over K.U.A. PA’s only night game gave fans the thrill that they surely came to see and successfully lit a flame under the Big Blue’s defense, midfield, and attack players. For perhaps the first time this season, the boys truly played as a great team. With every member of the team seemingly possessing a newfound vigor, a certain will to win, a certain je-ne- sais-quoi, it was hard for the defense to know on whom to focus on the field. The ball was consistently and smoothly passed from stick to stick as though the players were reading one another’s minds. The offensive line showed true finesse and aggression, with standouts including Captain Jesse Bardo ’03, Tom Barron ’04, Spencer Bush-Brown ’03, John Doherty ’03, and PG Whitney Hayes. With the aforementioned five players mixing and matching as shooters and assisters, the number on the “HOME” side of Phelps’ scoreboard continued to rise steadily throughout the game. Additional goals, courtesy of Tom Hawkins ’06, who with each game reminds fans that age and skill do not necessarily go hand in hand, Dave Wilkinson ’05, and Ryan McChristian ’03 powered the boys. The score surely would have been much higher if the K.U.A. goalie had not played so well, and yet PA’s 20 goals were still an immense improvement over their measly seven in their game against Loomis. Had it not been for a great defensive lineup as well as a strong midfield, however, the offense would not receive the ball in the first place. With the midfield incessantly intercepting K.U.A.’s passes, successfully switching fields, and quickly changing from a defensive mindset to an offensive one, the ball never stayed in our defensive side very long. Players Doherty and Matt Ward ’06 added true depth to the game, bringing their speed, numerous ground ball pickups, and good sense of the field. On defense, Nate Malo ’03, PA’s spectacular goalie, blocked goal attempts right and left, high and low– when the defenders allowed any shots on net, that is. Cotton Harrold ’04 and Pat Shannon ’05 played a tight game on their K.U.A. opponents, and both relentlessly fought off any K.U.A. breakaways. As Coach John Dugan explained, the key to the victory was that the boys “started to extend our defense, and all the guys really played up a level.” The remarkable win over K.U.A. surely gave the boys the heart they needed to take another triumph over Moses Brown on Wednesday. Equally strong, the Moses Brown game seemed to be a mirror image of the K.U.A. one: aggressive offense supported by a smart defense, both linked by a quick midfield. In each game, PA cycled through its lineup, allowing relief players to get valuable playing time as well as starters. Also, Neville Williams ’05 relieved Malo in goal in the fourth quarter of each game. Moses Brown was the first to score, and though PA’s own first goal did not follow for another painstaking 10 minutes the boys did not lose faith. PA scored five goals in three minutes, and it was quickly obvious that the Big Blue would be the victorious ones once again. Both Bush-Brown and Drew Ward ’03 showed tremendous athleticism and played one of, if not the best games of this season. PA goals flew off the sticks of Hayes, Hobie Boeschenstein ’04, Bardo, Doherty, Hawkins, and Yusuke Uchiyama ’05. Coming back from several losses can be one of the more difficult things for a team to have to overcome, and yet in the end, the boys showed that they have what it takes. Dugan attributes PA’s latest wins to a constantly high level of play and especially to strong senior leadership. Painting a picture of the bus ride back from the Moses Brown game, he describes “Hawkins talking to Malo, Wardo [’06] talking to Bardo, and all the guys, no matter what class, acting as a team on and off the field.” With that in mind, great things can surely be expected from the team as their season winds down and their game against Exeter approaches.