Boys Soccer Prepares for Exeter

Coming off a dominating 3-0 win over New Hampton, Andover Boy’s Soccer is in prime form to clash with Exeter in Saturday’s tournament deciding game. Wednesday’s victory, a game that the Andover Boys made look pretty despite the mud and freezing showers, bettered Andover’s record to 9-2-2 as Callum Thomas ’04 netted two goals and TJ Thompson ’06 added another. However, even with a 9-2-2 record, Andover can not drop a game to Big Red and still make the championship tournament. Andover’s chance at making the tournament is strengthened by the fact that their only losses have come against Choate (ISL) and Brooks (NEPSTA), both teams which placed first in their respected leagues last season. This season, Exeter made the decision to switch to a four–four-two game plan, the same player organization as Andover. Setting up with four backs, four midfielders, and two strikers, both teams will be well matched during Saturday’s game. Defensively, Co-captains Carey Hynes ’04 and David Sheldon ’04 head-up an experienced Andover senior backfield composed Knef King ’04, Steve Russell ’04, and Brent Vale ’04. Goalie Brendan McManus ’05 completes an undeniably strong group of defenders. McManus has logged an incredible seven shutouts this season, giving up a respectable eleven goals total in Andover’s thirteen games. In Andover’s weaker games, it is usually not Big Blue’s defense that falters, but rather the ball just does not seem to fall right for Andover scorers. Strikers Michael Spiak ’06 and Kirk Lepke ’04 will need to constantly pressure Exeter’s goalie Thomas Jenkins ’04, one of Exeter’s three soccer PGs, and hope that the ball rolls in Andover’s favor. Exeter boasts talented players through the middle positions, particularly midfielder and Co-captain Eli Covington. “He’s a handful,” commented Coach Scott of Exeter’s stalwart middie. If midfielders Chris Walters ’04 and Thomas can lessen Covington’s presence, the final piece of the puzzle will be in place for an Andover win. With a tight match-up and so much riding on its outcome, the Andover-Exeter Boys Varsity Soccer game promises to be exciting if nothing else. Defender Pat Shannon ’05 put it best, commenting, “In sports, everyone’s always talking about bottom of the ninth, two outs, score tied, bases loaded, full count. This is that kind of situation: winner goes to the tournament, loser goes home.” Mix in the Andover-Exeter rivalry, and this may be one of the year’s most exciting games.