After 82 minutes of back and forth physical play and missed scoring opportunities, a Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) player hit a free kick into Andover’s 18-yard box, where another NMH player headed the ball to to a teammate, who then headed it into the back of Andover’s net.
Down 1-0, Andover avenged the goal just three minutes later with a free kick taken at midfield by Nick DiStefano ’14, who sent the ball to the back post where it sailed over the goalkeepers’ hands. Kene Adigwe ’14 crashed the net and finished the ball with a header, tying the game 1-1.
In the remaining minutes of the game, Andover’s offense put pressure on the NMH defense and created two lethal scoring chances, but the team could not capitalize and settled with a 1-1 tie.
“NMH was definitely a game we could have won, and even though they were a good Class-A team, we were better. But we lost focus in a few crucial moments. We hope to face them again in the tournament and come out on top,” said Andy Manos ’16.
Dylan Mott ’14 played a spectacular game at striker and created many scoring opportunities, but taking advantage of scoring opportunities like these was a weak point for Andover.
“That’s a team that we need to be able to beat when we get to the post-season,” said Co-Captain Taylor Chin ’14. “Right now we’ve got a lot of wins under our belt, but we have yet to beat a team at the same caliber as NMH. We’ve tied the toughest teams we’ve played: NMH, Loomis and Choate.”
Eventually gaining a 2-1 win, Andover had to fight its way back into the game against Cushing as well, finding itself down 1-0 in the first 20 minutes. The game’s first goal came when a Cushing striker ripped a shot from 25 yards out, catching Andover’s defense off guard.
Ten minutes later, Mott blew by two defenders down the sideline and crossed the ball into Cushing’s 18 yard box, where DiStefano finished the chance and tied the game 1-1. In the 40th minute, Chin chipped a ball down the field to Mott who blew by multiple defenders, including the goalkeeper, and scored on an empty net.
Andover finished the first half with a 2-1 lead, but Cushing put pressure on Andover’s defense and came close to tying the game several times. Andover failed to string consecutive passes together the entire game, failing to manage the competition like they have in past games this season.
“We weren’t happy with how we performed. We weren’t mentally prepared for this game because we failed to focus on making the right passes or connecting passes at all,” said Adigwe. “The field was very narrow and tough to deal with, but that doesn’t excuse our inability to connect passes. However, we got the result we wanted and plan on being ready for our upcoming game against Deerfield.”
Due to the increased physicality of the past couple games, a few key players have received yellow cards that could force them to sit games in the future. The league rule requires players with three yellow cards to sit out one game, and both Chin and DiStefano already have two yellow cards. Henderson already had his third before the NMH game, which kept him out of the matchup.