Waterpolo Thrives Despite Absence of Kalter ’07; Seniors Lead Team to Strongest Play of Season

Coming off two impressive wins over Loomis and Suffield last week, the boys water polo team continued its league dominance with two more victories last Saturday against Williston and Hotchkiss and another last Wednesday versus St. John’s Prep. The Andover squad faced Williston in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday and knew that success was dependent on their senior lineup, including Andrew Faulkner ‘07, Ryan Ferguson ‘07, Rush Martin ’07 and Scott McColl ’07, with Captain Howie Kalter ’07 unable to play. The first quarter was controlled by Williston, and according to Coach David Fox, it was Andover’s worst quarter of play this season. The team rose to the occasion, however, and tied the game by halftime, with crucial scores from McColl, Faulkner, and Eric van Oss ’07. The squad also came up big in the third quarter, outscoring Williston 3-1 in the shallow end of the pool, with goals from Martin, Ferguson, and McColl. In the final quarter of the game, Andover built a convincing lead and pulled out an 8-5 victory. Phillip Meyer ’08 and rookie Brendan Deveney ’09 played vital roles in the win, as did Billy Draper ’07 and William Faulkner ’09, who played outstanding defense in goal and led an effective counter-attack. In the second game of the afternoon, Andover played Hotchkiss, last year’s New England runner-up. Again playing without the offensive powerhouse Kalter, the team recognized that they needed to step it up in order to get a win over Hotchkiss. Andover found itself trailing at the end of the first quarter, 1-2, but the team managed to shutout Hotchkiss in the second, while Ferguson converted on the offensive end with a score to tie the game at the halfway point. Ferguson came alive after the half with two more goals, giving Andover the 4-3 lead. For the next four minutes, the two teams exchanged counter attacks and near goals. Then, with only 48 seconds left on the clock, Andover shifted its offensive lineup and put McColl at the center-forward position. With only four seconds left on the shot clock, McColl drew an ejection on Hotchkiss. Andover then passed around the perimeter and gave the ball to Andrew Faulkner, who put the ball in the back of the net with only nine seconds left in the game. After surviving the final play of the Bearcats, Andover won, 5-4. On Wednesday, the Big Blue overcame St. John’s Prep 11-4, increasing their win streak to 5 in a row, with an impressive 7-1 season record. The team was able to successfully incorporate all players into the game plan and effectively execute counterattacks and defensive schemes.