Ultimate Defeats Newton North; Guerin Leads Offensive Drive

Before Wednesday’s season-opener on the road against Newton North, Andover Ultimate Coach Scott Hoenig told his team to focus on defense. The strategy paid off, as Andover capitalized on turnovers and won 15-11. In the first point of the game, Andover seemed to have Coach Hoenig’s advice in mind. Andover started the game on defense but played the opening minutes with particular intensity and forced a turnover on Newton North’s first possession. After taking the disc from Newton North, Captain Jonah Guerin ’07 threw a long-distance huck pass to Miles Silverman ’07, who was open at the other end of the field. Silverman caught the disc and scored to put Andover up 1-0. “That [first] point was caused by terrific defensive intensity, and it showed that we were ready,” said Ben Feng ’07. “We fulfilled Coach Hoenig’s goal [about good defense] and took advantage of the transition.” With continued strong defense, Andover scored several quick points and soon took a 7-3 lead. From this point forward, Andover remained in control and did not once relinquish the lead. But the team’s performance was not entirely dominant. For the rest of the game, possession was for the most part balanced. The speedy Newton North squad generally matched up equally with Andover’s defensive stance. While Andover focused on preventative measures, though, its offensive play was sloppy at times. Andover forced plenty of turnovers, but it also forfeited the disc on a fair share of its own possessions. After jumping out to a sizable lead early, Andover let Newton North back into the game. The shift in momentum was a combined result of sloppy Andover play—on both offense and defense—and an energetic Newton North performance. But Andover regained its footing just before halftime. Danny Silk ’07 made a series of cut moves in the back of the end zone and took a pass from Feng. This point gave Andover an 8-5 lead, which it took into the break. Andover started the second half strong, but the game’s back-and-forth nature continued. “It felt like an early season game,” said Silk. “Neither team was dominant. [For Andover,] it helped that many of us had played together last season.” Though no team took absolute control, Andover was the sure front-runner. Its defensive effort remained the cornerstone to this advantage. Andover’s biggest lead came in the later stages, when it went up 13-8 after a bit of especially determined defense. Following a ten-minute stand, Andover took the disc from Newton North. Captain Guerin sent a toss to Justin Waite ’07, who was halfway down the pitch. Captain Guerin then sprinted toward the back right corner of the end zone, where Waite hit him with a pass. The comfortable lead would not last, however. Newton North worked its way back and scored three unanswered points to make the score 13-11. Andover recovered, though, and captured the win soon thereafter. Andover scored the final point in dramatic fashion and with continued focus on the kind of strong defense that Hoenig had encouraged in his pre-game talk. At this point in the game, Newton North had established a successful offensive strategy. They ran a three-player weave offense that was hard to beat. On one occasion, though, Feng stymied this passing pattern often known as the “Dominator.” About 15 yards from the Newton North end zone, Feng slapped the disc out of the air. While Captain Guerin picked it up, Feng made a move for the end zone. Captain Guerin sent him the disc, which he caught to secure Andover the victory. Overall, Andover was pleased. “We looked good for the first game of the season,” said Waite.