Andover Volleyball Wins Tournament

Senior setter, Andrew Khang ’10, jumped and dumped the ball over the net on the second touch, fooling Wilbraham-Monson’s block and just reaching the back line to give Andover its first boys volleyball championship since 2007. Captain Stevie Xenakis ’10 said, “It was extra special for us to win this year because there is such a strong senior core on the team. Winning was a great way for all of us to finish our athletic careers here.” Andover, seeded number 2 in the tournament of four, faced third-seeded Choate in the semifinal. Andover jumped out to a lead of 14-3 to start the match due to 10 consecutive, strong serves by middle hitter DJ Dlesk ’10. Andover held its lead throughout, never letting the margin close to more than four points, and they took the set 21-18. Choate fired back in the second set, building an early lead of 7-4, but Andover was able to fight back to tie the score at 13. Strong serves boosted Andover again, as Peter Yang ’10 helped pull the team ahead with consistent serving, and Khang kept Andover in the lead to close out the second set 25-19. Choate fought hard in the third set, taking the lead back from Andover after tying the score at 6. The lead bounced between the two teams until Choate tied the score at 21 and broke away to force a fourth set. Choate and Andover battled back-and-forth in the fourth set with the lead bouncing between the two teams six times throughout the set. Andover finally pulled ahead at 16 with outstanding blocking by middle hitters Dlesk and Paul Bloemsma ’10 and strong hits by outside hitter Peter Bang ’11. Andover held its ground, winning the fourth set 25-18 to move on to face Wilbraham-Monson, seeded number one, in the final. Outside hitter Peter Bang ’11 said, “Coach Beckwith worked really hard with the team on developing hard, accurate serves in preparation for the tournament. Not serving to Choate’s best receiver helped us win a lot of service points.” Andover took an early lead in the first set, but could not fend off Wilbraham-Monson’s serves and went down 6-10. Andover clawed its way back into the set tying the score at 14 and again at 17. With Xenakis at the service line, Andover was able to pull ahead 21-17, and Andover was able to control the game from there, taking the set 25-22. Andover cruised through the second set, winning comfortably 25-11. Wilbraham-Monson battled back in the third set, tying the game at 2, 5, and again at 9, but Xenakis stepped up to the service line and fired off 6 consecutive serves, giving Andover a 15-10 lead that Wilbraham-Monson could not overcome. Xenakis said, “I think that the biggest thing for us on Saturday was being able to keep our composure regardless of how well or poorly things were going. This was something we struggled with late in the season, especially in our two losses against Central Catholic and Choate.” He continued, “I think we found our swagger that we had earlier in the season in the loss to Wilbraham the Wednesday before the tournament, and when we met them in the finals we were ready.”