Waterpolo Nets a Win Against NMH Hoggers

Boys’ Waterpolo notched up another win at NMH this past Saturday with a final score of 8-4. In an extremely physical rematch of the team’s first win, the boys once again came out on top. After a tough loss on Wednesday, the team trained hard during the week’s remaining practices. They prepared for what they knew would be a very physical game. They went into the game with hard-nosed attitudes and confidence in their ability to win. The game lived up to its expectations right from the start. With a lenient referee, NMH was able to punch, kick and scratch underwater. Despite the unfair behavior, Andover ignored the distractions and played their game. They were clearly the better team but last minute mistakes prevented them from jumping ahead. With goals from Howie Kalter ’07 and Jamie Neuwirth ’06, the team entered the locker room with a 2-1 lead. Coaches Hoenig and Fox complimented the team on their composure. They noted that the referee was not going to be making all the right calls and that the NMH team was clearly playing dirty. They told the team to play above it. They remarked that complaining to the referee and retaliating against the other players was going to get the team nowhere. In the second half, illegal play was even more evident than before. Rivalries and trash-talking began in many situations and Andover players became entangled with fighting NMH players. Slowly, Andover was drawn into the cheap play of NMH. Players fought back and forth, exchanging blows and drowning each other. After a time out, the team regained focus and started to play their game. NMH however continued their rough tactics, but when they realized that Andover was no longer playing into the fracas, they began to yell at each other and their coaches. The Andover defense took advantage of the NMH squad’s breakdown of discipline. Continuing to put pressure on NMH’s perimeter players, the Big Blue kept many of the Hoggers’ dangerous shooters from getting any opportunities. With some exciting blocks, goalie Chris Zegel ’05 anchored the defense with ten saves. On offense, the team found their rhythm. Even against a solid PG goalie, they were able hit the back of the net. Third quarter goals by Jeff Zhao ’06 and Ryan Ferguson ’07 pushed Andover ahead into the final quarter with a 5-2 lead. The fourth quarter was especially ugly. NMH gave a last-ditch effort to leave their opponents as bruised as possible, and Andover, disgusted by the cheap play, just wanted to leave with their victory. Even with kicks to the throat of Jeff Cutts ’06 and elbows to the face of Zhao, leaving him with a bloody nose, NMH had no chance for a comeback win. This notion was asserted by the two goals of Captain Rob Anderson ’06. It was clear that Andover was there to win a game of waterpolo and not to wrestle each other in the pool. When the whistle blew, the scoreboard showed what mattered most. Andover won 8-4. In preparation for the Parent’s Weekend contest against Deerfield, the team has trained hard. With extremely difficult Monday and Tuesday practices, they focused on conditioning. On Wednesday, with an inter squad scrimmage, they applied their new speed and fitness to live game situations. The team is excited to play in front of a big crowd and hopefully reach .500 for the season. In reference to last week’s contest, Captain Anderson ’06 said, “I am very happy with this weekend’s results. The team did not play down to NMH’s level. We ignored their cheap shots and got a second win off their squad. We showed that we are the better team, again.”