Boys Volleyball Suffers 1st Loss; Cannot Close Out Tough Games

The PA Boys Volleyball team suffered its first loss this past Saturday at the hands of a very determined Choate squad, with scores of 30-19, 32-30, and 30-27. The 3-0 loss ended the Big Blue’s perfect season. Nonetheless, the season record remains at an impressive 7-1. Although Andover beat Choate 3-2 earlier this year in a very close match at home, Choate proved too much to handle on their home court. Coach Clyfe Beckwith said, “The Choate squad played phenomenally. We didn’t play bad, but [they were not] our best games. Mistakes were made, nets were hit, and we couldn’t get the win.” Co-Captain Alex Schwartz ’07 said, “I thought we lost the first game because we had bus legs. We came out slow after a two and a half hour bus ride. We started off winning the second and third game, but they were a better conditioned team then us and beat us when we were tired.” Andover started the first game tied with Choate 6-6, but that was when the momentum shifted to Choate. A combination of Choate’s winners and the mistakes and miscues by Andover gave the game to Choate. Beckwith said, “The first game was a real wake up call for us, we didn’t come out ready, and Choate was on their game.” The Blue woke up for the second game and nipped at Choate’s heels. Andover managed to stay within one or two points behind Choate until the score was 25-27 Choate. Down two, the Blue rallied to go up 29-27, but Choate never let up and pulled out with the win with a final score of 32-30. The third and final game turned out to be just as close as the second. PA changed up its strategy and slightly changed up its rotation. The changes seemed to work for the first part of the game because the Blue pulled ahead 14-8. Choate once again refused to give in and tied the game at 23-23. The game was back and forth until Choate pulled ahead and won 30-27. Although Andover did not bring its best game, the match was still a well played and hard fought. The two teams exchanged blistering serves, hard hits, and powerful back row attacks. Several of Choate’s would-be kills were returned by diving saves from PA, including several by James McGuiness ’08. Co-Captains Schwartz and Howie Kalter ’07 once again led the team’s offense with 14 and 11 kills respectively, while Peter Yao ’07 once again recoded the team high in saves totaling 29 for the day. Defensively, Ekow Essel ’07 led the team with four stuffs followed by Schwartz and Jeff Bakkensen ’06 who each had two. Essel blocked eight of nine shots while Schwartz blocked ten of 14. Bakkensen went seven for seven on stuffs. Schwartz commented, “We played a good game but they outplayed us. Our offense was good but our defense fell apart. So we’re going to work on defensive conditioning.” The team hopes these final days of practice will pay off at the season-ending tourney, one which PA has yet to place first in.