With three goals to his name coming into his third season, Brandon Girard ’16 fully exploited the left flank as he doubled his Andover career goal tally with a hat-trick in the season-opening win for Andover Boys Soccer against St. Paul’s last Friday.
“[Girard’s] pace was the main factor of the game… If he is able to pick his moments like he did on Friday, our team will be hard to stop offensively,” wrote Co-Captain Dylan Mott ’15 in an email to The Phillipian.
Mott, who assisted one of Girard’s goals, scored on a Girard cross with a spectacular diving header from the penalty spot for Andover’s fourth goal.
Ben Reinesch ’15 finished off the game with the team’s fifth goal. Andover left the pitch with a 5-1 victory.
After a rocky 4-1 loss in a scrimmage to Noble and Greenough two days before playing St. Paul’s, Andover decided to make some defensive changes for the season opener, moving Peter Bakken ’16 to a defensive midfield position. Bakken was a crucial aspect of Andover’s defensive success against St. Paul’s attackers.
“Being really defensively sound was a big piece of our win,” remarked Coach Will Orben.
Although Andover received an impressive and rewarding result, the team is working to improve their ball passing from end line to end line in order to open up the play.
“We need to utilize all ten field players out there and get the ball moving around,” said center-midfield Alex Dziadosz ’16.
Andover is proud of its success but looks to boost its intensity in order to face more demanding competition during the course of its season.
“Defensively and organizationally, we have to keep getting better to compete with the best teams,” added Orben.
“The [St.Paul’s] game really wasn’t a test. We are still looking to improve for our match against both Brooks and Loomis [Chaffee]. Those games will really show how strong we are as a team,” added center-back Andy Manos ’16.
On Wednesday, Andover continued its winning streak against Brooks at home with a one-sided 4-1 scoreline. Once again, Girard wasted no time putting Andover ahead and buried two goals past the Brooks goalkeeper.
“I saw the space and went one-on-one with the defender,” said Girard about his first goal.
Dziadosz took advantage of a mistake by a Brooks attacker, sending a ball through the defense to Mott for a leisurely goal — his second of the season.
“During the whole game, especially the first half, we were able to counter attack them really well,” said Mott.
Andover’s offensive mindset helped the team dominate the game right from kickoff. By the end of the first half, the team had three goals under its belt.
“We got on top of them early. That really decided the game,” said Orben.
Late in the second half, Andover’s defense looked a little too comfortable as a Brooks midfielder dribbled at Andover’s center defense and thread a ball to an ongoing striker, who neatly tucked it away for Brooks’s only goal.
Despite losing the clean sheet, Andover responded quickly and deftly. Ten minutes from the final whistle, Girard flew the ball up the left flank and crossed it in. After a deflection from striker Henry Meyerrose ’17, Connor Cameron ’15 fired a one-timer into the back of the net.
The final goal brought Andover to its final score of 4-1.
This Saturday, Andover will travel to Loomis Chaffee to face another competitive opponent.