Injuries Riddle Ladder, Lead to First Loss

Andover Boys Squash fell for the first time this season on Wednesday, losing 8-0 to a top-ranked Deerfield team. The team was missing two of its top four players, Justin Curtis ’15 and Alex Kunwoo Kim ’14, both due to injury. With two players out, six of Andover’s eight players competed two spots up from their typical position on the ladder. The resulting matchups left the team vulnerable in the middle of the ladder. “We had two competitive matches at seven and eight but they were too strong for us up top. We [knew] we would have some trouble at the one and two especially, as well as at other positions. Missing the guys we missed definitely made a huge difference,” said Head Coach Tom Hodgson. In the one spot, Michael Huang ’15 lost in three games (6,4,1). “[My opponent] was just a strong player in general. I played at my normal skill level but there wasn’t much I could do. I had good drop shots, as did he. They are pretty deep in terms of strength. The top of Deerfield’s ladder—particularly the one and two—is very talented and their skill level doesn’t drop off at all,” said Huang. Jack Wain ’14 lost in three games (3,4,8) at the two position to a skilled opponent. Playing more defensively than usual, Wain played long points, keeping the ball moving until his opponent made errors. “As a whole team, we need to play smarter, but we just got back on Tuesday and we didn’t play much over break. We were pretty rusty; I think just playing more would be the best thing for us,” said Wain. The rest of the ladder lost as well, with Jake Rauh ’14 at the three (3,6,1), Rem Remmel ’14 at the four (4,3,3), Jack Quamme ’16 at the five (8,7,5) and Armaan Singh ’14 at the six (5,8,6). Cole Benedict ’14 at the seven and Josh Kim ’15 at the eight, however, refused to go down without a fight. After taking two of the first four games, Benedict and Kim both battled until falling in the fifth game 10-12. Down 9-10 in the fifth set, Benedict hit four consecutive back wall boasts to even the score at 10. Unfortunately, Benedict then gave up two consecutive points to lose with scores of 7-11, 11-8, 11-1, 7-11 and 10-12. With more practice this week, Andover hopes to defeat Groton on Friday. “Deerfield gave us a pretty good idea about how we should approach other matches, especially against Groton because guys lower on the Deerfield’s ladder struggled against Groton, so we can assume Groton has a deep ladder as well,” said Quamme.