Defensive Adjustments Set Up Comeback Victory

Led by co-captains Turner Shaw ’11 and Thomas Armstrong ’11, Andover Ultimate rebounded from an 8-4 deficit at half to beat Newton North Ultimate 12-8 on a soft cap victory. When asked about the dominance Andover showed on the field, Eric Yoon ’11 briefly said, “We did work.”

Andover started off slowly, allowing Newton North to gain their sizable 8-4 lead at half. Shaw and Armstrong decided to shift Andover’s defense from a Person Defense to a Three Man Cup Zone defense to force the opponent to throw between the handlers (throwers) and therefore protect against long throws downfield to the opponent’s cutters (catchers). Coach Scott Hoenig said that it is an ultimate adage to “never lose a game without trying zone [defense].”

With help from outstanding play by Alec Tolentio ’14 and Taylor Chin ’14, both of which play point in the three man cup, Andover’s new defense limited Newton North’s cutters to minimal contribution.

Andover’s offense also lit up with great play by veterans Wong and Lucas Christopherson ‘12. According to Yoon, “Lucas and Brandon were on fire today. Both played extremely well on offense as well as defense.” Christopherson and Wong are key cutters for Andover’s offense. With great defensive play and an outstanding offense Andover went on a run of eight unanswered points to capture the 12-8 victory. Dylan Gully ’12 said, “In the first half we played poorly on both offense and defense, falling behind 8-4. In the second half we ran show playing at a gold medal championship ultimate athletic level.”

Despite the great win, Andover needs to work on several improvements before its next game, as Wong said, “We need to make our stack cleaner and our man-to-man defense tighter.” Andover’s great second half performance showed the team’s potential and will serve as a great point to build off this week in practice.

Coach Hoenig summarized the game, saying, “We played with intensity throughout the game, whether we were behind or in the lead. Certainly we have room for improvement, but this was a great first game.”

Andover showed sportsmanship throughout the game, focusing on the hustling and enthusiasm instead of trash talk from the Newton North players. This enthusiasm allowed Andover to maintain its intensity throughout the game. David Russell ’12 said, “Before the game Newton North was talking smack, telling me they were guaranteed the win. Obviously the scoreboard proves that we ran show today.”

Andover looks forward to hosting Concord-Carlisle on Saturday.