Bang! Andover Shoots Eagles Out of the Sky

Andover Boys Volleyball had its first taste of success this week, taking its first set against Choate, then going on to beat the St. John’s Eagles in five sets during a scrimmage. Choate jumped up to a quick 6-1 lead in the first set but Andover battled back to draw even at 9-9. After drawing even, Choate burst ahead, gaining a 17-11 advantage. Andover, looking to capitalize on Choate’s mistakes, came back with a two point lead, 20-18. From there, Choate laid down the hammer, finishing the set strong 25-19. Andover’s setter, Thurston Smalley ’11, was able to take advantage of his tall hitters as Andover’s serve receive was much improved from earlier games. Vidush Mahansaria ’12 also shone in the first set, powering through the Choate blocks with crushing outside hits. Mahansaria said, “I felt good this game. After learning the ropes in the first couple games, I feel like me and the team is starting to feel more comfortable on the court.” The second set saw eight lead changes as Andover and Choate fought back and forth for the advantage. Andover gained a quick 4-2, only to go down 6-4. Andover rebounded going up 8-6 on Kade Call ’14’s serve. The two teams tied at 8-8, 9-9 and battled back and forth until they were tied 21-21. Andover was unable to capitalize on Choate’s broken play freeballs towards the end of the set, and ended up losing 25-23. Reliable blocking by Tommy Kramer ’11 and Hayato Lee ’12 highlighted the second set. Lee said, “In the second set I really thought that we had it. The team played well as a unit, but I guess we came up short in the end.” Though down 2-0 in the match, Andover went into the third set with confidence. Andover controlled the lead throughout the set. However, with Andover up 16-10, Choate stormed back gaining a 20-18 advantage. Andover tied up the game at 21-21, and showed veteran experience closing out the set 25-23. Coach Beckwith said, “Whether it was because of the lineup change and some substitutions, or because the team found a steady rhythm, but it felt good to win the first set of the season.” Unfortunately Andover lost the fourth and final set 25-18, losing the match 3-1. Andover, now 0-3 on the season prepares for rematches with opponents NMH, Wilbraham-Monson and Choate at home in the coming weeks. Coming off the loss on the weekend, Andover looked to improve its skills in a scrimmage against St. John’s. Although unofficial, Big Blue played with the same intensity as in a league match, squeeking out their first win of the season in 5 sets. Big Blue easily played its best volleyball of the season, stringing together impressive sets on its way to victory. Andover, still 0-3 in league play, will look to ride this recent success into a rematch with NMH on Saturday.