Andover’s Season Ends in Heart-Breaking Loss to Choate

Despite Andover’s best efforts, including five goals from Will Falk-Wallace ’10, Andover suffered a heartbreaking playoff loss at home on Wednesday against Choate. The intensity and importance of the game weighed down on the players’ shoulders throughout the game, as it determined the fourth seed in the New England tournament. Choate’s start shocked Andover, as Choate won the opening sprint, and scored quickly after setting up an offense. Andover rebounded with two goals from Falk-Wallace. It also stepped up the defense, stealing set passes, and blocking shots from the perimeter. Crashes by Conor McAuliffe ’10 and Andrew Fraser ’10 combined with great saves by Dan Larson ’11 generated many turnovers in Andover’s favor. Andover continued to play well in the second quarter, as the perimeter defenders, especially Conor Deveney ’11 and Matt Mahoney ’11 shut down the Choate offense. McAuliffe picked up the offense, as he fired three goals into the corner of the net and assisted Falk-Wallace who also added to Andover’s lead in this quarter. The last two minutes didn’t go as well for the team, as Choate penetrated Andover’s defense and added three goals of their own, cutting the Andover lead to 6-5 as the half ended. Andover played an almost flawless third quarter. Hon dubbed this as, “One of the best quarters we’ve played this year.” Choate had its hands full with Hon in the hole, and the perimeter players used this to their advantage, defying the perimeter pressure and scoring three goals. While Choate’s defense was preoccupied with Hon, Falk-Wallace stepped up and put two more goals in the back of the net. Austen Novis ’11 also skipped a shot into the corner of the goal late in the quarter. The fourth quarter fluctuated greatly as momentum swung between both teams. Choate struck first, but Hon forced the ball into the goal halfway through the quarter, giving Andover a 10-8 advantage. However, Choate turned the tables in the two minutes after the Andover goal, as one goal silenced the hometown crowd, and two more quick goals shocked the fans. This gave Choate a one goal lead. Andover regained the ball with ten seconds left, but great pressure from Choate caused McAuliffe’s blazing shot to narrowly miss the goal on the left side as time expired. Novis summed up the game, “We played our best game of the season. We did everything we needed to do, but we didn’t get the result.” Despite this tough loss to end the season, this was a very successful and impressive season for the team, and Coach Fox hopes to see more of the same effort and intensity next year. McAuliffe said, “This was a great season. We improved greatly as a team, and even with these hard losses at the end, we handled ourselves well, putting a good end to a successful season.”