Bertucci’s Play of the Week

In place of Athlete of the Week, the sports staff is now presenting Play of the Week. The POTW will showcase an especially intense moment in a game or practice. The moment can be one from either a varsity or junior varsity sport. The Phillipian Sports staff felt that Athlete of the Week unfairly glorified a select few Andover athletes. It is the staff’s belief that AOTW inaccurately represented the positive nature of the Andover athletics experience. For the first installment of the Play of the Week, The Phillipian Sports staff chose the last thirty seconds of last Saturday’s Boys Water Polo contest against Loomis. The Andover Boys Water Polo team went into the match against the Loomis Chaffee Pelicans expecting to lose. Whether the Boys in Blue would admit it or not, the odds were not in their favor. After all, the PA boys lost 10-1 in their last match-up in 2002. The boys surpassed any expectations anyone had of them. Going into the fourth quarter Andover held a tight lead over Loomis. The PA team lost its lead and with a minute left in the contest, the Andover team trailed by a mere one point. As four year team member Paull Randt ’04 articulated, “Due to some poor communication and bad passes, we just couldn’t set the ball.” With thirty-two seconds remaining, Captain hole-man Aaron Stroble ’04 drew an ejection, meaning his defender acted in an overly aggressive manner and was kicked out of the game. With the advantage of having one more player than the Loomis team, the Andover Water Polo team called a time out to regroup. While the point of the time out was to calm down the team, it simply heightened its anxiety. As Randt said, “I think that we would have won if we hadn’t been so into the game. We got nervous and we were s o excited about the prospect of winning that we made mistakes.” After the time out, the team set up its 4-2 man-up, as seen below in the diagram. With Loomis playing a knockdown defense, meaning that each player aggressively charged offensive players in his respective zone, the Andover team chose to be patient and tire out the Pelicans. They used the maximum twenty seconds. Despite the fact that the Boys in Blue gave it their all, they were unable to translate this opportunity into a successful goal as Captain Stroble articulated, “Everyone worked. Everyone contributed. It’s just too bad that we couldn’t take advantage of that man-up situation.” The Blue will face the Pelicans tomorrow. Hopefully, with another week of practice under their belt, the Boys Water Polo team will be able to slaughter the Pelicans.