JV FEATURE: BOYS SOCCER, Success Promises Program Depth

With all of the attention focused on varsity sports this past week, something unheard of happened in the Andover-Exeter competitions. For the first time in its entire 13-game season, the Andover Boys JV1 soccer team trailed in a game. However, Exeter’s 1-0 lead proved to be short-lived. Unfazed by the deficit, Andover tallied seven straight unanswered goals, including a spree of three goals in less than four minutes. Andover’s scoring outburst allowed the team to crush archrival Exeter 7-1 and continue to steamroll every opponent that stepped on the field in its perfect 13-0-0 season. The sheer skill of this squad can be summed up in one staggering statistic: in its 13 games, Andover scored a total of 60 goals. In those same 13 games, they allowed just four goals. “Our offense had so many attacking options,” said Co-Captain Dave Knapp ’10. “If one guy was shut down, there were five or six others that could pick up the slack and create scoring opportunities.” Andover didn’t just win its games – it overpowered opponents. One Loomis coach, after Andover dismantled his team, 8-0, said that the Andover squad was the finest and most organized JV team he had ever seen in his 15 years of coaching at the level. Opponents found it nearly impossible to expose a weakness on the Andover team. Andover scored within the first five minutes of the first half in three separate games this season. The starting goalie, Spencer Macquarrie ’10, allowed just three goals all season and even scored two of his own. Whether demonstrated by its explosive offense or its almost impenetrable defense, the Andover JV1 team played flawlessly. “Our defense was incredible. We had good speed on the outside, the inside consistently controlled the ball both in the air and on the ground, and there was great communication between everyone. We matched up well to even the best offenses,” said Kyle Leahy ’10. The key to the team’s success all year, above all, was its cohesiveness on and off the field. The eight returning players from last year’s JV1 team and talented new players integrated beautifully to create fluid team play. Two of Andover’s skilled newcomers were Brian and Andrew Woonton ’11, twins who started at defense and midfield, respectively. “Andrew and Brian always pushed each other to make themselves better players,” said Knapp. “I swear that they have this weird connection where they always know where the other one is on the field.” Midfielders Knapp and Olamide Babatunde ’09, JV1 veterans, demonstrated incredible leadership throughout the season. They were the captains of a group of five Juniors, seven Lowers and six experienced Uppers. With so many players graduating from the varsity team this year, the success of JV squad shows great promise for the soccer program. “It was an amazing season and I believe this says something for our future. As we all get older and stronger, especially the freshmen on the team, I think we will perform just as well on the varsity level as we did this year on JV1,” said Babatunde.