7-6 Loss to Choate Ends Season

Despite goals from co-captain Matt Mahoney ’11 and Conor Deveney ’11, and a valiant effort in goal from co-captain Dan Larson ’11, the boys water polo team suffered a heartbreaking 7-6 loss in a quarterfinal elimination game against Choate on Wednesday. This game ended a successful season, as all members of the team contributed and fought hard to earn a place in this quarterfinal. After a scoreless first quarter in which Larson had some great saves, Choate’s dangerous offense emerged, as the wild boars jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first two minutes of the second quarter. After a timeout, Andover drew an exclusion foul to create a 6-on-5 play in which Mahoney fired the ball into the back of the net from the wing. Andover went into the half trailing 2-1. As both teams fatigued in the third quarter, goals became easier to score, and both teams took advantage of this, as Choate netted 3 goals, while Alex Nanda ’11 scored one, and Mahoney added another. Great defensive plays from Ben Morris ’11, Charlie Oliva ’11, and Alex Smachlo ’11 prevented any further scoring from Choate. Andover entered the fourth quarter down 5-3. The team came out firing, as a great shot off a drive from Austen Novis ’11 and a lob shot from Deveney tied the game. After another Choate goal, Deveney tied the game up again with a backhand. A Choate goal with 45 seconds left put Andover down one. After an Andover timeout, the team set up on offense, but a good save from Choate’s goalie blocked Deveney’s shot. The goalie also blocked a shot from Novis with 3 seconds left, ending the game in a 7-6 loss. A 6-4 loss at Suffield last Saturday put the boys in this position to play the quarterfinal at Choate. In this game, the boys traveled to play in the narrow Suffield pool, which limited the team’s ability to spread out and play a normal offense. Said Derrick Choi ’12, “We did not adjust well, as we failed to move the ball as we should’ve in the four lane pool.” With a stagnant offense that struggled to adjust to the small dimensions, Andover’s defense stepped up to limit Suffield’s scoring. Goals from Nanda and Mahoney kept the team within one for most of the first half. An outburst of goals from Suffield in the third quarter sealed Andover’s fate, as three consecutive goals pushed Suffield’s lead to 6-3. This deficit proved too much to overcome, as Alex Smachlo’s fourth quarter goal was Andover’s last goal. In spite of these losses, Andover still views this season as a success, and the team looks to improve its record next year.