After Scoreless Tie Against K.U.A., PA Responds with Crucial 2-1 Win

Last Saturday, Andover was unable to break through the K.U.A. defense, tying 0-0 under the lights at Phelps Stadium. The first half began with both teams feeling each other out, looking for holes to create a scoring chance. However, both teams were unable to do much more than maintain possession in the midfield. Andover began to control the pace of the game as the first half continued. The team was able to get balls into the 18-yard box from the flanks for scoring opportunities. Alex Choi ’09 received the first quality scoring chance of the game off of an Adam Skaggs ’09 throw in. Skaggs’ massive throw in reached the far post, where Choi headed the ball just over the bar. Andover nearly took the lead about halfway through the half. Captain Matt Gorski ’09 slipped a through ball to Garnet Hathaway ’10, who beat the goalie, but a K.U.A. defender barely cleared it off the goal line to eliminate the threat and keep Andover scoreless. Both sides settled in for the remainder of the first half. Andover controlled the possession and pace of the game but was unable to find holes in the K.U.A. defense and play balls behind the defense. The game headed into halftime tied at 0-0. The second half was much of the same, with neither team finding quality scoring chances. Andover continued to dominate possession in the midfield and the sides but was unable to find seams in the defense for scoring opportunities. Said Coach Carr, “They were just very well organized and very solid. They allowed us to keep the ball but they got numbers back defensively.” Andover did manage to find opportunities off of corners, earning five during the game, and crosses. However, the K.U.A. goalkeeper controlled the area well and kept Andover from earning any quality chances. On the other side of the field, K.U.A. found some chances from crosses as well, but was unable to finish a ball and take the lead. K.U.A. got the best chance of the game with about 10 minutes remaining. An Andover foul gave K.U.A. a free kick from about 30 yards out near the center of the field. The K.U.A. player fired a strong shot bending towards the upper left corner. Andover goalkeeper Spencer Macquarrie ’10 dove for it and punched it over the crossbar to make a highlight reel save and preserve the shutout for Andover. Andover made a final bid for a win in stoppage time when Trevor Gulick-Stutz ’09 received a chance in front of the net, causing a loose ball in the 18-yard box. The game was controversially whistled over however, and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Wednesday, Andover inched closer to a spot in the New England Tournament, beating New Hampton on the road, 2-1. After falling behind 1-0 early on in the game, Andover battled back to score two first half goals. The first goal was created when Hathaway took a great shot. Recently returned from injury Ethan Hirshberg ’09 pounced on the rebound and buried a goal in his first game back with the team. Later on in the half, it was Hathaway who again created the Andover attack. After receiving a brilliant through ball from Captain Brian Russell ’09, Hathaway looked up and found Andrew Woonton ’11 at the top of the six who one-touched Hathaway’s pass into the back of the net, giving Andover a lead they would not lose for the rest of the afternoon. The second half was all Andover. Andover had possession basically the entire half, with several scoring chances that were just barely missed. Although Andover was happy with the win, the team was not satisfied with the fact that they could not put New Hampton away earlier in the game. Outside midfielder Brian Woonton ’11 was great for Andover. His ability to slow the ball down and find players’ feet was extremely important for Andover. The team possessed around New Hampton, using its skill to keep the ball the majority of the game. Throughout the day, Andover had to deal with two very talented players from New Hampton. New Hampton’s striker was extremely fast, and the Andover defense had trouble marking him in the opening stages of the match. However, the back four led by Ruaridh Hamilton ’09 shut down the speedy striker for the rest of the match after his opening goal. New Hampton’s best player was a difficult match-up for Andover. He didn’t play a specific position, as he was free to wander and get the ball wherever he wanted. Andover therefore was forced to have great communication to always keep track of him. Gorski and Mike DiFronzo ’11 tracked him for the majority of the game, with DiFronzo doing an especially great job shutting him down. Towards the waning moments of the game, Andover assigned Chase Potter ’09 to man mark this player. Potter did a phenomenal job closing out the game for Andover marking New Hampton’s dangerous player. With a win and a tie this week, Andover is now 11-1-3 on the season. Next week, Andover will host archrival Exeter at 1:00 on Smoyer field. Exeter is a very strong team and will be a very tough test for Andover. To add even more to the intensity of the game, both teams are fighting for postseason berths. Also, the Dunbar Cup, a league between Deerfield, NMH, Exeter, and Andover will be decided on Saturday. Both Andover and Exeter are 2-0 against Deerfield and NMH, so both teams sit atop the league. The winner of this game will take home the cup.