First-Ever NEPSAC Championship for Boys Water Polo

Andover Boys Water Polo was crowned Champions of the New England Prep School League for the first time in its storied history. The team beat Exeter 6-5 in the Championship game, an exact reversal of Andover’s 6-5 loss to Loomis in a 1994 Championship game.

“Going into the tournament, we knew we were the underdogs and really embracing that mindset allowed us to play two of the best games we have played all season,” said Co-Captain Andrew Yang ’14.

Co-Captain Travis Bouscaren ’14, who was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, said, “[This] was our best chance to win the Championships, so we all put pressure on [ourselves] to perform and it ended up working out.”

“It felt great to finally put our names in the history books,” said Michael Camarda ’14.

After beginning the season with two losses, Andover went on to win ten of its next 12 games. One of Andover’s losses was a 10-3 fall to Exeter ten days before the NEPSAC Water Polo Championship.

“The squad’s two worst games came at the perfect time — drubbings by Deerfield, then Exeter, within two weeks of the final game. This forced the team to regroup and refocus on the championship run,” said Head Coach David Fox in an email to _The Phillipian_.

Bouscaren and Yang led a six-game winning streak that pushed Andover into the Final Four Tournament. The wins also led to Andover’s first winning record since the September of 2011.

“The difference this year was that the team had a great balance between [Bouscaren], someone recruited at the Division I level, and a critical mass of fundamentally sound players who could play strong defense against any opponent, protect the ball, and make things happen,” wrote Fox.

In Andover’s Championship game, Rome Arnold ’14 saved 80 percent of shots to be named the Tournament’s Outstanding Goalkeeper. Nick Faulkner ’16, who was Andover’s second leading scorer, was named to the All-Tournament team along with Yang. Bouscaren was also All-Tournament, along with being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Defense from Peter Fanikos ’14 and Scott Simpson ’14 limited Exeter’s scoring, and offensive movement from Joe Faller ’14 created scoring plays for Andover.

Other Seniors on the team were David Cao ’14, David Cho ’14 and Charlie Talcott ’14.

Bouscaren’s leadership and offensive prowess will be missed next year.

“[Bouscaren]’s leadership, both in and out of the pool, has been really impressive,” said Fox. “To see him grow up to be the best player in school history who also places the interests of the team ahead of his own has been wonderful.”

“[Bouscaren] loves what he’s doing, and he makes it hard for everyone else not to have fun. There were no painfully long practices because our team was led by a kid who was where he wanted to be as long as he was in the water,” said Marc Sevastopoulo ’15.

“Being Co-Captain with Yang of the Water Polo Team was a true honor. It was great for me to be constantly focused on being a role-model for all the younger players. I know this responsibility helped me become a better play and I hope it helped others as well,” said Bouscaren.

Yang, who made the All-Tournament Team in only his second year of Varsity Water Polo, will be missed for his ability to perform in high-pressure situations.

“[Yang] had a fantastic sense of urgency and excitement in the most pressure-inducing situations. If we were up one or down one in the last minute of the game, he was creating the energy that we needed to make the passes, switches, drives and shots that we had to make,” said Sevastopoulo.

The Seniors, themselves, will miss being a part of Andover Boys Water Polo.

“I will miss the camaraderie of the team the most. Most of the team consisted of returners and to go from missing the playoffs one year to winning the entire thing the next created a strong bond between all of us. I look forward to watching the water polo program continue to flourish in the coming years,” said Yang.

Bouscaren added, “I will miss [Fox]’s calm composure throughout all the intense and close games. We could all always count on him to get us through the exciting and nerve-racking games. On the other hand, Coach Kozloff was always there, so excited on the sideline, that whenever we needed a little pick me up, we could always look to her to get us excited.”

Sevastopoulo and Faulkner will captain Andover Boys Water Polo next fall.