Boys Soccer Battles to Tie Exeter, Bounced from New England Tourney

In the final minutes of the Exeter game on Saturday, the Boys Varsity Soccer Team watched its season come to an early and unexpected finish. Because Andover lost three times over the course of the season, its chance to make the NEPSAC tournament rested on the outcome of the last game. However, the Big Blue could not overcome a challenging Exeter team and finished the contest tied 2-2. The Big Blue struggled to take control of the game in the first half. The ball went back and forth between Andover and Exeter players, but neither team was able to take advantage of the scoring opportunities. With three minutes left in the half, an Exeter forward sprinted down the field and scored the first goal of the game. The beginning of the second half proved to be no different for PA. Within a few minutes, the Big Red capitalized on a defensive mistake by the PA Goalie and managed to put another point on the scoreboard. In spite of Andover’s frustrating performance, Martin Donohoe ’05 and Nate Scott ’05 assisted TJ Thompson ’06 in a quick goal from a header. Thompson’s goal put Andover back in the contest. The Boys started playing with a newfound intensity and the Blue took control of the game. Alex Clifford ’07 crossed the ball to Mike Spiak ’06, who scored PA’s second goal off of another header. However, the Big Blue was not able to complete its comeback, and finished with a 2-2 tie against Exeter. “We came out to win – we needed the victory. We made some mistakes, but we bounced back at the end. It’s unlucky we were not able to follow through and finish with a win,” commented Martin Donohoe ’05. Due to the way that the NEPSAC committee schedules games in the postseason, and the fact that the Big Blue ended with an 8-3-3 record, Andover was unfortunately not able to make it to the tournament. “We have the hardest schedule in the league and that is not taken in to account when they plan for the tournament,” said Co-Captain Brendan McManus ’05. Other teams, such as Brooks, play in leagues that aren’t as difficult, and thus have a better record. Andover defeated Brooks 3-2 at the beginning of the season, but Brooks still went to the tournament. The overmatched team was defeated 3-0 in the first round. “It is a shame that we had so many injuries,” said Ben Hoerner ’05. “We could have done a lot better. With everyone healthy, our team was a tough competitor and we would’ve had a good chance to do well in the postseason. Not going to the tournament is definitely a disappointment, but overall it was a good season.”