After 80 scoreless minutes filled with back-and-forth physical play, Nick Swenson ’15 received the ball on the touchline and swung a lofty cross into the box. After John Sandor ’17 brought the ball down at the top of the 18-yard box, Co-Captain Taylor Chin ’14 stepped up and blasted a one-time shot past Choate’s goalkeeper, putting Andover up 1-0.
With 45 seconds left, Choate’s holding center midfielder beat Andover’s midfield with a single pass to Choate’s winger, who fed the ball to the 6-yard line. A strategically placed Choate forward then tapped it in, tying the game 1-1.
Moments later, the whistle blew, ending the game in a tie.
“It was really heartbreaking, but there were a lot of positives to take out of this game because Choate is one of the better teams in our league, and we played well the majority of the game,” said Swenson.
Defensively, Choate was compact in the middle, making it difficult for strikers Dylan Mott ’15 and Nick DiStefano ’14 to be dangerous on offense. Choate played with two true center midfielders and one holding midfielder, so Andover’s center midfielders Sam Block ’14 and Chin were outnumbered all game, requiring Mott to drop back more than usual.
Because Choate was very technical in the middle, possession was fairly even between the two teams.
“We played 89 great minutes but let up in the last minute,” said Kene Adigwe ’14, a center back. “This game was a learning experience for us and taught us a lot about ourselves as a team and showed us how important it is to see each game through the end.”
In contrast, Andover’s match against Winchendon was not as challenging, and the team maintained possession for the entirety of the game, completely dominating on offense.
Andover outscored Winchendon 7-0, with many different players contributing goals.
“We were the more experienced team. It was a total team effort and we improved as a team during this game,” said Adigwe.
Andover’s goals came from Connor Cameron ’15, Chin, Nick DiStefano ’14 (2), Alex Dziadosz ’16 and Brandon Girard ’16 . The remaining goal was an own goal.
Andover was able to get everyone into the game against Winchendon, which is important because the team is in its densest stretch of the season, with four games in six days. This game also displayed Andover’s depth—even without its starters on the field, the team still dominated possession of the ball.
Andover’s record now stands at 6-0-2, a good position to be in at this point in the season.
Leadership from the team’s captains, Chin in the midfield and Graeme Henderson ’14 at center back, has been a key factor in Andover’s success so far.
“Our captains do a great job of keeping the team organized and on the same page, which has really helped us to play as a team and win consecutive games,” said Dziadosz.
Andover looks to continue its winning streak against Exeter on Friday and then against Tilton at home on Saturday. Andover’s game against Exeter is an away exhibition match, so the outcome will not contribute to either team’s record.