Andover Boys Soccer Frustrated Against NMH, Shoots Down Cushing Penguins In Shutout Win

After suffering multiple disappointments in the past two weeks, the Andover Boys Varsity Soccer Team needed a win to keep its hopes alive for a birth to the postseason tournament. On Wednesday, the team turned around its performance and coasted to that crucial 3-0 victory over Cushing. The Boys tied with Northfield-Mt. Hermon 1-1 on Saturday. Coach Bill Scott announced before Wednesday’s game that he wanted to make changes in the starting roster. Not only did his decision provide the opportunity for different players to demonstrate their abilities, but his strategy proved to be a winning one. The Big Blue took charge of the contest early on. Fifteen minutes into the game, Alex Clifford ’07 took a hard shot on Cushing’s net off of an assist from PG John Tarson ’05. Once PA took the lead, the Andover boys never looked back. Cushing neither had the ability to put up a strong defensive front against the Big Blue, nor an offense strong enough to prove to be much of a threat, as PA easily shut down the Penguins. In the second half, Tarson proceeded to put two more goals on the scoreboard: one off of a header and the other after a scramble in the goal box. “The players who played new positions stepped up to the challenge,” said TJ Thompson ’06. “This was definitely a big win for us. We haven’t had the most successful past four games, and this victory was a big confidence booster. The game was also a critical point in our season because if we had lost, it could have killed all chances for us to make it to the tournament.” On Saturday, Andover competed against NMH. The Big Blue dominated the whole game, and came close to scoring a goal many times. However, the Boys struggled to put the ball in the net. “We did play pretty well but we just couldn’t score. I think we hit at least four posts,” commented Thompson. “It was very frustrating for all of us.” Despite Andover’s enthusiasm and energy, the contest remained scoreless at halftime. An NMH forward took advantage of an opening in Andover’s defense and scored a goal in the second half. Seven minutes left in the game, Andover got a penalty kick and Mike Spiak ’06 scored the tying goal. The Big Blue, however, left the game feeling discouraged and extremely frustrated. “Soccer is a brutal game. We had constant possession of the ball, but unfortunately we were unable to score off of our many chances. Essentially, it was just a very disappointing game. We deserved a victory but the odds were against us and we could not follow through,” said AJ Charles ’07. Although Andover has struggled in the past few games to play its best, Wednesday’s success will hopefully be a turning point in the Boys Soccer season. The team still has the chance to make it to the tournament, and after defeating Cushing, the Big Blue now has confidence that it can perform at a high level.