PA Soccer Downs New Hampton

It doesn’t get much better than this. After pounding New Hampton 3-0 on a cold, dreary afternoon, the Andover Boys Soccer team has fixed a crash course with their crimson cousins like none in recent memory. On Andover-Exeter Saturday, the winner will claim bragging rights in the storied Blue-Red rivalry, the Dunbar Cup Championship, and the right to go to the New England Championship tournament. The loser goes home. The game has all the makings of a historic battle, the war to end all wars, the most perfect matchup since a few fellows from Beantown duked it out with some Yankees from the Bronx. The hype could be suffocating, but the boys are certainly used to a little excitement. Thanks to an impressive, thrilling ride, Andover holds an 8-2-2 record in prep school play, standing on the cusp of achieving their goals of making the New England Tournament and playing deep into November. Though the team has made a few of their matches a little too exciting during the year, their performance against New Hampton was nothing short of dominating. Led once again by Callum Thomas ’04 up front and Justin Wu ’06 and Pumi Maqubela ’06 in the center of the pitch, Andover controlled play from start to finish, never giving their guests a chance. Nate Scott ’05 and TJ Thompson ’06 also continued to shine, creating countless dangerous opportunities from the wings. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the stellar play of New Hampton’s strong PG keeper, Cal and company would have easily turned those chances into a crooked number on the scoreboard. However, with many brilliant saves, the NH goalie kept his team in the game – for a while. Ultimately, it was only a matter of time before the Blue broke through, and they did so with authority. In the middle of the first half, Thomas started the scoring in style from the right side, firing a shot that buzzed the wet grass and burst the side netting with a powerful splash. Thomas was at it again in the 43rd minute, deftly slotting a loose ball under the outstretched arm of the helpless NH keeper, making it 2-0 Andover. Thompson added a left-footed finish in the opening moments of the second half, crushing New Hampton’s spirits as Co-captain Carey Hynes ’04, Steve Russell ’04, Brent Vale ’04 and Knef King ’04 took care of the rest. When the final whistle sounded, the scoreboard read 3-0 Blue, earning Andover its sixth shutout and eighth win of the season. And as a dark fog set in over their heads, the boys walked off the field with red in their eyes and one thing on their mind: Exeter. “Saturday,” said Russell. “It all comes down to Saturday.” Less than 24 hours from now, a crisp whistle will pierce the cold morning air of Exeter, New Hampshire before hundreds of shivering spectators, turning the page on yet another chapter in the storied Andover-Exeter rivalry. “It’s going to be insane,” said Nate Scott ’05, “would you have it any other way?” Not a chance. “With everything to play for,” said Coach Steve Carr “where would you rather be? It doesn’t get any better than that.”