Sports

Water Polo Destroys NMH, 24-4; Novices Shine in Slaughter

The Water Polo team pulled out yet another dominating victory last Saturday over NMH, extending its winning streak to 10 games. In a rematch of its first game of the season, which Andover won 16-1, the squad easily took down the struggling NMH team 24-4. Andover opened the game with an offensive frenzy, scoring nine goals in the first quarter. The goals came mostly from hole sets to Rush Martin ’07 and fast breaks from Andrew Faulkner ’07 and Captain Howie Kalter ’07. The starting six blew past the Hoggers, parrying the few NMH threats and monopolizing all of the momentum. In the second quarter of play, after having taken out most of the starters, Andover defended the shallow-end of the pool and nearly had a shutout. But with 44 seconds left, Eric van Oss ’07, attempting to intercept a pass, deflected the ball into his own goal. With a pool full of substitutes in the second half, the Andover offense continued to flourish. Philip Meyer ’08, Peter Smith ’07, rookie Parker Washburn ’09, and van Oss all scored. Consistently strong perimeter offense and a dominant hole set enabled PA to keep hitting the back of the goal. Back in the deep end for the third quarter, Goalie William Faulkner ’09 stopped shot after shot and led the defense to its first deep-end shutout of the season. Washburn continued to excel at the center-forward position, scoring two more goals, while Kevin Zhai ’08 scored three goals and drew two consecutive five-meter penalty shots. In the fourth quarter, Ahmet Taner ’07 scored two goals while rookie Asa Harrington ’09 added one as well. The Andover squad maintained intensity and focus despite provocation from a frustrated and disheartened NMH team. That display of character and composure highlights the match. Though the game was not particularly helpful to the experienced varsity players, underclassmen and novices gained valuable game experience. For a team with a roster dominated by seniors, using such opportunities to educate the rest of the team is an incredibly intelligent coaching decision. Coach Fox has consistently shown this foresight for the program’s future benefit. Tomorrow, the boys will face Deerfield in front of their parents. The game is a rematch from the season’s opening weekend, where the Big Blue steamrolled the young DA squad. The following Wednesday, Andover will match up with PEA in its regular-season-ending game. Though these final games are important, Andover has already clinched a spot in the NE Championship final-four tournament to be hosted by Exeter on November 11.