Philps ’12 Adds Five Service-Points in Close Comeback Against Lawrence

Andover Boys Volleyball pulled out a narrow 3-2 victory in a scrimmage against Lawrence High School last Tuesday but fell to Wilbraham-Monson Academy 0-3 on Wednesday for the second time this season.

The team’s win against Lawrence High School last Tuesday was encouraging. “It was really exciting because every set was so close. It was probably the most suspenseful volleyball that I have played in a long time,” said Kade Call ’14.

After losing the first set, Andover scratched and clawed its way back into the match with key contributions from setter Haonan Li ’13, Co-Captain and middle blocker Jimmy Philps ’12 and outside hitter Vidush Mahansaria ’12.

Andover eventually won the set 25-15, evening the set victories at one all. The teams then split the next two sets, and the match came down to the fifth game.

Andover and Lawrence traded points in the early part of the match. Then Co-Captain Marcus Smith ’12 and Ji Tae Park ’14 took to the service line and rocketed two service points each to give Andover a comfortable 9-6 lead.

Lawrence rallied with a kill, but Andover quelled its opponent’s comeback and took the set 15-12 and the game 3-2.

Zach Sturman ’12 said, “Philps made some pivotal hits from the middle and his contributions from the service line really carried us through our winning sets. David Crane [‘13] had some key kills from the weak side today, while Call substantiated his reputation as a dependable, accurate [and] versatile server.”

The team’s serve-receive was the most important aspect of the victory. Unlike in previous games, Andover made several key adjustments throughout the match to counter Lawrence’s servers.

On Wednesday, Andover faced a strong Wilbraham-Monson team.

Starting libero Park said, “A lot of guys [were] really upset [after the game] because we could have had it… We really wanted to beat them this time, to show that we were the better team.”

The game carried a high importance, as it was the last of the season and, ultimately, decided the seeding for this Saturday’s “Founding Four” tournament. The teams participating in the tournament will be NMH, the first seed, Choate, the second seed, Wilbraham-Monson, the third seed, and Andover, now the fourth seed. With a win, Andover would have clinched the third seed. The loss brought Andover’s final regular season record to 1-5.

In the first set, Andover’s ball-handling was weak, as the team fell to an early 3-10 deficit.

Despite the rough start, Andover fought hard and battled Wilbraham-Monson for every point. As a result, the score was eventually tied at 24. However, in the end, Andover picked up its level of play too late in the game to salvage itself, and Andover lost the set 24-26.

“We made a spirited comeback in the first set… [but] after that, we lost our rhythm, our composure and the match,” said Coach Clyfe Beckwith.

Andover went on to lose the second and third sets 13-25 and 23-25, respectively.

The biggest issue that Andover faced during the game was the lack of energy. As a result, the team’s communication was very poor, an issue which led to many lost points.

“The team seemed flat out there today,” said Park.

Despite the Wilbraham-Monson match, Andover is encouraged heading into the tournament this weekend. Andover will travel to Choate early Saturday morning to play its final matches of the year.