Waterpolo Wins Second Close Game Against Loomis; Andover Holds Fourth Quarter Lead for 6-5 Victory

After last Saturday’s 8-7 victory over Loomis Chaffee, the Boys Varsity Water Polo team won another close game against Loomis, 6-5. The game started quickly with Andover going up 1-0 after less than 30 seconds. Sloppy play, however, quickly slowed both sides. Earning the first goal off a lazy pass across the goal face with a tap-in by Howie Kalter ’07, Andover unsuccessfully tried to recreate that lucky situation over and over again. The strong defense kept Loomis from gaining any ground until the second quarter. Andover struggled to establish a set offense, facing an aggressive pressure defense from Loomis. On the other end of the pool, the defense floundered. Loomis scored three unanswered goals. Most of those goals came from consistent capitalization on Andover errors in the defensive end, including poor coverage on counter attacks. The three goals left Andover down 1-3 at the half. Back into the pool in the third quarter, Andover showed a new life and an improved sense of confidence. After a minute, Kalter took advantage of a man down situation and put another one up for Andover only to have the goal answered with a Loomis one. Keeping their chins up, the Andover boys continued to play hard. Slowly and methodically, the team started to establish dominance on the defensive and offensive ends. The team would hold Loomis scoreless for the remainder of the quarter. At the same time, the improved offensive organization led to two goals. Scott McColl ’07 added one to the total, and quickly afterward, Ryan Ferguson ’07 closed the gap and tied the game at four-all. Entering the final quarter, the intensity was tangible. After being reassured that the win was in the team’s hands by Coach David Fox, Andover was geared to continue playing just like it had in the third quarter. Loomis, however, was prepared to improve its play. The start of the quarter showed both team’s playing their best, holding each other scoreless for nearly three minutes. The offensive silence was broken by McColl, putting Andover up by a goal. The stalemate play continued for a few minutes until scoring leader Kalter seemed to seal the deal with another great shot and a two-goal lead. Loomis continued to nip at its heels, notching up another goal of its own. With only a minute left, the game situation was nearly identical to the previous match-up. An apparent seven-meter goal by Captain Jamie Neuwirth ’06 broke the tension, but the referee called the play back. Andover called a timeout, in which the players were reminded of their success in an identical situation the prior weekend. The strong press from Andover’s defense paralyzed the Loomis offense. Although the game appears to have had the same results as the first game against Loomis, the most recent match reveals a quality that was previously untested: the ability to come from behind. Being down 3-1 at the half to a fast Loomis team could have shut down Andover, but it did not.