Fifth Place Finish Caps Off Strong Year for Ultimate

In a rollercoaster weekend at the Tenth Annual New England Prep School Ultimate League Championships, Andover Ultimate went head to head with strong opponents Chase Collegiate and Hotchkiss.

Finishing in fifth place overall with a respectable 2-2 record and 39/40 spirit points, Andover ended the day with the coveted Spirit of the Game tournament award and the momentum for a sweeping 8-1 victory over Acton-Boxborough on Wednesday.

“I’m so proud of the team for winning the Spirit of the Game Award,” said Coach Hoenig. “It’s not about the result of the games. It’s about how the team played their games—with great sportsmanship and with great respect for our opponents.”

“What an honor [it is] to coach a team that places such a high priority on fair play while still playing with great intensity and competitiveness,” he continued.

Co-Captain Piper Curtis ’13 said, “[The award] is something that’s really important to Ultimate and really unique, and it shows well that we won it.”

Strong performances the week before and vast improvements in both technique and strategy weren’t enough to overcome Chase Collegiate and Hotchkiss

“[All of our technique] was good, but they were so good that it didn’t matter,” said Co-Captain Alec Tolentino ’14. “[Hotchkiss] was a really close game, and we played really well in the first half, but we just lost it in the second half, especially as the fatigue from playing Chase started to set it.”

“Chase was really good,” Tolentino added. “I’d never heard of them before, but they came out and ousted all their opponents.”

Despite disappointing final scores in the first two games of the day, 3-13 and 8-11 respectively, the team did not give up and let the games go easily.

“We came out more ready at NEPSULs than we have at other tournaments, even though we did lose [the first two games]. We woke up at 5:30 in the morning, left at 6:15, so it seemed natural that we would start off a bit groggy,” said Charlotte Doran ’13.

“But we did a really good job in the warm-up getting awake and into game mode, so we started our game against Chase Collegiate really up to the challenge” she continued. “We didn’t let it slip away from us as we have before. They were a really good team so they deserved the win, but we were ready to take them on.”

Additionally, Andover did not let the two losses affect its performance later on in the day. Instead, the team stepped up its game and went on to dominate the field in the following two games, finishing 13-5 against N.M.H. and 13-2 against Deerfield.

The momentum carried on into the team’s game on Wednesday against Acton-Boxborough. With only enough players from the opponent to play to eight on eight, Andover eliminated all competition and kept possession of the disc for a crushing victory.

“One of the big things Coach emphasized was not going into this game headstrong,” said Paul Turiano ’13. “He always says, ‘Respect every opponent,’ so we really did that.”

On top of its strong mental game, Andover successfully executed a range of offensive and defensive strategies that kept the disc in its control and prevented Acton-Boxborough from taking easy points.

“They threw a horizontal stack for their offense, and we knew who to deal with that so we threw a sag defense back which worked pretty effectively,” said Doran.

Turiano said, “We also ran a no-huck defense, which means we try not to let them throw deep, and that worked really well because they’re a team that can do that. Once our defense was on the same page, our offense really clicked as well.”

With some local players and friendly competition, Andover Ultimate looks forward to the Andover Cup on Friday at 7 p.m.