Waterpolo Third in Final Four Taken by Exeter, Beats Choate

Earning third place in the New England Championships, the Andover Boys Varsity Water Polo team launched a furious comeback, soundly defeating Choate 11-7 after taking a hard hit from Exeter, losing 0-13. This Saturday, the team traveled to Hotchkiss to compete in the Final Four Tournament with its first game against Exeter, the winner of the last eight championships. The game took off fast and hard, as Andover captured possession first. However, Andover was soon left floundering, goalless, and exhausted, with Exeter pulling away with a seven-point advantage at the half. Quickly adapting to a threat posed by the Exeter two-meter player, Andover stopped many of Exeter’s scoring opportunities with zone defense but the team was unable to press the offensive, ending the game in a 0-13 loss. Despite its defeat, Andover unleashed a ferocious retaliation against Choate, revealing the team’s fervent focus and strength. However, with both Andover and Choate armed with fiery drive for revenge, the first quarter started undecided with the ball skipping back and forth across the pool as the players battled for the upper hand. Finally, Ryan Ferguson ’07 snapped the ball into the net during a man down situation. However, Choate struck back with a goal from the two-meter. Captain Jamie Neuwirth ’06 vigorously led the retaliatory charge, throwing a nice lob over the goalie’s head. During the second quarter, Captain Neuwirth stormed past his defender, scooping up the ball in a fluid motion and neatly pitching the ball past the goalie. Choate retaliated almost immediately, whipping out another goal after a quick pass to the side. After Scott McColl ’07 scored during a four-meter foul shot, Choate followed up with its own goal off of a four-meter foul shot. Refusing to be outdone, McColl responded with another goal, taking advantage of a man-down situation. Through the combined effort of the whole team, Andover managed to shut down many of Choate’s scoring opportunities, with a strong defense keeping Choate from taking advantage of man-down situations. Jeff Zhou ’06 displayed tremendous defensive proficiency, obstructing the offensive opportunities of the Choate center. Exploding out in a torrent of white water, Andover instigated a bloody rampage during the third quarter, doubling Choate’s score. The furious Choate players soon got their revenge with a fast skip shot from the perimeter. With tensions rising, both sides fought more brutally, drawing a number of ejections. After successfully defending a number of man-down situations, Howie Kalter ’07 snuck the ball in from the perimeter. With the ball floating just out of reach and Choate defenders closing in, McColl unexpectedly lunged out, snapping a skip shot into the net. Next, Kalter snuck another shot right past the goalie, skipping the ball in from the perimeter. Rookie goalie William Faulkner ’09 refused to let the ball sneak past him with thirteen impressive saves, throwing himself from side to side to create a human shield in front of the net as well as snatching up any loose balls. Without warning, Choate fired off an impressive retaliation during fourth quarter despite Andover’s solid defense. Starting strong and fast, snatching up the ball and gaining possession, Choate scored three consecutive unanswered goals with a sudden burst of fast breaks and hard shots. Undeterred by Choate’s string of goals, Andrew Faulkner ’07 responded with a hard skip shot to end the game on Andover’s terms, an astounding victory with the score 11-7. Kalter’s impressive defensive and offensive performance was recognized and awarded when he was named to the all-tournament team.