Sports

Boys Break .500 For First Time Since 2011

In the third quarter of Andover Boys Water Polo’s game against Choate on Saturday, Co-Captain Andrew Yang ’14 whipped three back-to-back shots past Choate’s goalie to cement Andover’s third consecutive win.

Andover’s strong defense propelled the team to a 16-9 victory. The win pushed the team’s record over .500 for the first time in almost two years and marked the first time in three years that Andover has defeated Choate.

“I think it’s so cool to be above .500 since we weren’t able to make it to the playoffs last year, and this being my and the majority of the team’s last year, it’s great to have that opportunity,” said David Cao ’14.

“I think it has been a great start to the season, having our only two losses to the defending champions and runners-up [of the New England Championships],” said Yang.

Yang’s aggressive play and well-placed top corner shots were critical to widening the gap between Andover and Choate.

“It was a good close game for the first two quarters,” said Co-Captain Travis Bouscaren ’14. “In the third quarter we took it away with Andrew Yang. That gave us a promising lead. We held it out from there.”

Andover never gave Choate an opportunity to come back, maintaining the especially tight defense it has shown throughwout the season.

“Our counter defense was very good, as well as our two meter defense. We shut down the two meter man on defense,” continued Bouscaren.

“We came out sluggish, [but] after the half we stepped it up,” said Yang. “Our defense has been our strong point throughout the past few games.”

By denying Choate’s scoring opportunities, Andover had room to try new strategies on offense.

“Our ability to keep switching in and out our two-meter offense player helped our team succeed,” said Bouscaren.

Veteran swimmer Aaron Teo ’15 replaced the players typically at the two-meter position, Peter Fanikos ’14, Nick Faulkner ’16 and Bouscaren.

“During the Choate game Aaron excelled at two meters, [and] this is great because he is a very fast player,” Bouscaren added. “This will give the team more options on the perimeter. He did not score, but he got the defender excluded, which is always helpful.”

“This was a different strategy because you usually use your biggest, strongest kid [at the two-meter position]. It worked out very well. He drew a lot of exclusions that allowed us to have many scoring opportunities,” said Yang.

With Teo in his new position, Andover surprised Choate and created opportunities on offense. Teo excelled at drawing fouls, which allowed Andover to work on its man up offense in a game situation.

Despite the victory, the team remains focused on future areas of improvement. “We can work on our awareness. There were a few mistakes that were avoidable. If we avoided these mistakes, we could have cracked the game open in the first or second quarter,” said Yang.

“Our shot selection was pretty bad throughout the game,” said Bouscaren. “Their goalie was very good at saving low corner shots. We kept shooting there [and] he made many great saves. All of our top corner shots went in; we could have had more of a blowout.”

Andover looks to improve its mental toughness and maintain its momentum against Loomis at home this Saturday.