Water Polo Blows Out Lackluster NMH, Captain Neuwirth Leads with Six Goals

This past Saturday, the Boys Varsity Water Polo team played its best game yet with a victory against Northfield Mount Hermon with the stunning score of 17-5 after a mediocre first quarter. With all thirteen field players getting ample playing time, Andover showed extreme versatility and depth as seven different players scored goals. Led by Captain Jamie Neuwirth ’06, Andover literally exploded with fast breaks and spectacular steals. The game started slowly with Andover distracted at the start. With only one referee instead of the usual two, the official’s controversial calls hindered Andover’s ability to focus and play effectively. The team’s confidence was also shaken after NMH scored first. Possession was juggled back and forth as the Andover players tried to adjust, modifying their defensive posture. Finally, Howie Kalter ’07 scored with a nice shot from the perimeter. NMH answered fiercely with a goal of its own. Both teams stayed neck to neck. After Captain Neuwirth scored, NMH responded with a goal of its own. Andrew Faulkner ’07 ended first quarter by tapping the ball in and tying the game at three-all. Then, the game completely turned around. “We just took off,” Faulkner recalls. By the second quarter, Andover regained its confidence and came together as a team, playing much stronger. Andover’s effective employment of the triangle offense helped the team in the shallow end and led to more movement in the deep end. This rotating offensive technique was incredibly successful as the Andover’s players switched positions to confuse and hamper NMH’s defense. During the second quarter, Kalter scored two more goals from the perimeter, taking advantage of a man-down situation. Scott McColl ’07 also notched up two quick goals from the two-meter. In addition, he delivered a nice pass to Captain Neuwirth, who scored with a backdoor shot. Captain Neuwirth also helped the onslaught with steals and breakaways. He added four more impressive goals by the end of the second quarter. NMH was unable to respond to all the pressure and only managed to slip in one goal, leaving Andover with a hefty lead, 11-4. Even though the NMH players were a lot bigger, Andover upheld a strong defense throughout the game. Most notably, Jeff Zhou ’06 defended effectively against NMH’s center, severely limiting NMH’s offensive abilities and scoring opportunities. In addition, goalie Billy Draper ’07 made several breathtaking saves in the deep end. Andover continued its rampage in the third quarter, scoring three more goals. Kalter whipped another hard shot in from the perimeter, while Faulkner deftly managed to lob a shot into the goal. Captain Neuwirth scored yet again, accumulating an astounding total of six goals. NMH answered with one goal and the third quarter ended with the score 14-5. In the fourth quarter, rookie goalie Andrew Glasrud ’06 directed a spectacular shut out. However, Andover possessed no such limitations. Philip Meyer ’08 pulled off an elegant move, lobbing the ball right over the goalie’s head. Ryan Ferguson ’07 scored after pulling off a fast breakaway and Jeff Cutts ’06 followed suit with another goal, topping off the awe-inspiring score at 17-5. Overall, the team played top-level water polo, as they cruised to victory. Coach David Fox was extremely pleased with the team’s performance saying, “I believe we played our best water polo so far [this Saturday].”