Waterpolo In Final Four; Team Heads to Interschols

After falling behind in two very close games, the Boys Varsity Water Polo team smashed their way to victory through two ties in double overtime game against Williston after a loss to Hotchkiss. This Saturday, the confident Water Polo team traveled out to Williston to participate in single elimination competition against Hotchkiss and Williston. With the first match against Hotchkiss, the winner would be guaranteed a spot in the Final Four Tournament. The loser would have to duke it out with Williston. After a fierce bout for points, Andover finished the first quarter against Hotchkiss goalless and down by one despite many scoring opportunities because of poor shot selection and the opposition’s strong goalie. Hotchkiss soon set the pace of the game, taking advantage of small defensive errors with another goal during the second quarter, leaving Andover to play a game of catch-up. Retaliating enthusiastically to Hotchkiss’s lead, Jeff Zhou ’06 drove in after a steal, scoring on a fast break. Captain Jamie Neuwirth ’06 followed up with a perimeter shot during a man down situation. However, Hotchkiss fought back fiercely, scoring three more goals, before Howie Kalter ’07 took advantage of a man down situation to finish the game in a 3-5 loss. Exhausted after the match and frustrated with their unexpected loss, Andover had to compete against Williston after a short twenty-minute break. Initially fired up, Andover scored two goals in succession with Kalter and Captain Neuwirth both shooting from the perimeter, ending the first quarter in the lead with Williston unable to score. However, exhaustion finally caught up with the team during the second quarter and Williston ran amuck with four unanswered goals. With the loss against Hotchkiss dragging down the team’s morale and disintegrating confidence, Andover wearily struggled against an array of fast breaks and hard shots. Although spirits were low, Andover finally launched a comeback with Kalter and Scott McColl ’07 pulling the score up during the third quarter. The game ended with Andrew Faulkner ’07 making a corner shot during a man down. Andover almost managed to catch up, but lost 5-6. The Andover Water Polo team traveled to Deerfield this Wednesday for a rematch with Williston. Fired up after the close loss, Andover was completely focused with Coach David Fox drilling one goal into their minds: limiting the offensive capabilities of one of the top three players in the league, J.C. Wright ’06. Andover strategy quickly worked. During the second quarter, Ryan Ferguson ’07 scored a goal. After making an impressive steal, Zhou scored on a breakaway. Captain Neuwirth and Faulkner each added another point to the score, ending the third quarter at 7-4. However, after a loss of focus and a few slight defensive errors Wright managed to sneak in four breakaways, tying the score at 8-8 and forcing overtime. After Wright scored again in the first period of overtime, Faulkner retaliated, swimming close to the goal to snap a shot in 41 seconds later, leading to a second overtime. McColl blasted a goal in from the outside during the second period of overtime, leaving Andover with the 10-9 victory. Fully healed from a three-week long injury, McColl led the team’s offensive onslaught throughout the game, scoring five goals total, mainly from the two-meter. He fired off two perfect donuts, landing the ball right above the goalie’s head. Rookie goalies Andrew Glasrud ’06 and William Faulkner ’09 each made several impressive saves and steals. The most impressive and intense game this season, the Boys Varsity Water Polo team was ecstatic with pride at their accomplishment. Qualifying for the Final Four Tournament, Andover will travel to Hotchkiss this coming Saturday to compete.