Exeter Leaves Andover Gasping for Goals

Struggling to integrate seven new players onto the team, Andover Water Polo broke its two-game winning streak on Wednesday in a 14-2 loss to a gifted Phillips Exeter Academy team.

Andover had hoped to continue to dominate after a thrilling 2-0 start to the season. Both previous games ended with spectacular finishes: a downpour of goals in the final quarter against Hopkins School which ended the game in a 19-9 victory and a winning goal from Michael Camarda ‘14 with 1:06 left in a 4-3 victory over Loomis Chaffee School.

Despite coming off these victories, Andover was at a disadvantage against archival Exeter. Andover’s core 11 athletes had a total of only 10 preseason practices, and its other seven players had made the squad the night before the opener. In addition, last year’s 11 graduated players had accounted for 95% of the team’s total points in 2010 season.

The Exeter team, on the other hand, came to the rivalry matchup prepared. The righty-lefty combo Reavill brothers led Exeter’s team, the left-handed brother leading the offense, and the right-handed brother dominating on defense. Both have unparalleled athletic ability, and are a “lethal combination for water polo,” said Didi Peng ‘12.

Andover’s perimeter threat Eric Benca ’12 took on one of the Reavill brothers on offense, while Peng and Henry Kennelly ‘13 looked to score on the defensive lefty Reavill who played mainly two-meter defense. Unfortunately, the Exeter defense shut Andover down, while Exeter’s quick counterattacks allowed their offense to excell.

Andover had started the game strong, as tough defense limited Exeter’s first half scoring. However, Andover’s offense struggled to create opportunities for shots, and Exeter’s five goals put Andover at a 5-0 disadvantage at half.

As the game continued, Exeter piled the goals on, and Andover’s lack of shots left it behind.

Derrick Choi ‘12 contributed one goal for Andover, and Chris Nanda ’12 scored the other after a stunning breakaway rush. Defensively, Captain and goalkeeper Andrew Wilson ‘12, stayed strong in net with an abundance of key saves.

Andover will look to redeem itself this Saturday after the loss to Exeter , when it faces Deerfield Academy and Brunswick School.

In the remaining practices before the Saturday doubleheader, the primarily new Andover squad will focus on building team chemistry and adapting to playing with each other. After this loss , it will be important for the team to remain confident and work hard to rebound.