Thompson ’06 Scores Tying Goal Against Brooks; Andover Boys Soccer Takes Two Wins at Jamboree

T.J. Thompson ’06 carried the Phillips Academy Andover Boys Soccer team to a 1-1 come-from-behind tie against Brooks on the road Wednesday in its first official game of the season. The team had taken a 2-2-0 preseason record into the opener. The previous Wednesday, Andover tied Nobles tied 2-2 in an exhibition. Andover was not playing full strength against Nobles, however, with the game serving as an extended tryout for several players. This weekend, Andover competed in the “St. Paul’s Jamboree,” an annual tournament involving several teams from the area. Andover finished the round robin with two strong wins and one tie. With each team playing several games in one day at the “Jamboree,” coaches adopted an abbreviated format. Games consisted of twenty-five minute halves, totaling fifty minutes each. Andover drew 1-1 with Middlebury College’s Junior Varsity squad in the team’s first match-up. Rory MacRae ’06 scored the team’s lone goal on an assist from Zach Dixon ’08. Against St. Paul’s, Thompson scored a late-game goal with help from Captain Mike Spiak ’06, lifting Andover to a 1-0 victory. The team then proceeded to role through its game with Kimball Union, winning 3-0. McCrae, Chris Wade ’08, and Matt Gorski ’09 all scored in the effort. With these successful preseason results in mind, Andover came into Wednesday excited for a showdown with the traditionally strong Brooks team. But despite high anticipation, the first half of the game was less than spectacular. Andover had begun its pre-game preparation in the one spot of shade it could find, readying itself for ninety minutes of play in the baking September sun. When the whistle blew, the team was set into motion, but it initially failed to find any rhythm. Perhaps the team was daunted by the powerful opposition, or maybe it was just going through an early season adjustment period. But whatever the reason, a conservative Andover team came out of the gates. “In the first half we played tentatively,” said Coach Bill Scott. “We were trying not to make mistakes.” Brooks seized on this opportunity, netting the ball high over the right ear of Andover goal keeper John Gardner ’08 in the seventeenth minute of play. Andover seemed to make an offensive push toward the end of the first half, with midfielder Alex Clifford ’07 moving the ball down the right side of the field. Merzudin Ibric ’06, a late substitution, known for his speed, had an attempt on goal. But it deflected off the goalpost, and Andover went into halftime trailing 1-0. After taking a break from the sun and having some much-needed water on board, Andover took the field in the second half re-energized. Though neither side played particularly smoothly, Andover seemed to be more in control than during the earlier stages. “We settled down and passed better [in the final forty-five minutes of play],” said Scott. Though Andover undoubtedly began playing better, success did not come immediately. But Thompson came through in a timely fashion. In the seventy-fifth minute, he guided the ball into the upper-right corner of the goal. The Andover bench erupted with joy and Thompson was greeted by congratulatory teammates on the field. Now back in the contest, Andover kept the pressure on, looking for a win. Despite fiery, physical play from that point forward, neither team managed to edge the other out. The game ended in a 1-1 tie.