Under immense defensive pressure, Jonathan Xue ’17 broke through the Brunswick wall with a rocket into the top corner of the goal for his first score for Andover Boys Water Polo on Saturday.
Xue’s performance, in addition to the play of Dylan Norris ’16 and Jake Taylor ’16, both of whom are new members on the team, provided a bright spot in what ended up being two disappointing performances against Brunswick and Deerfield, two of the top teams in the league. Andover lost 17-4 and 10-3 against Brunswick and Deerfield, respectively.
“I think the main thing the team needs to work on as a whole is transition defense. Our defense is great when we have the time to set up, but when a bunch of us are transitioning, some get beat on the way down, and other teams really take advantage of that,” said Thomas Choi ’16.
The team also struggled to put the ball past Brunswick’s goalie as a result of inexperience on the offensive side.
“We didn’t use the entirety of the shot clock, putting up rushed shots, and we didn’t work the ball around enough,” said Xue.
The team got off to a fast start against Deerfield and played tight defense, allowing just one goal in the first quarter. After that, however, Andover’s defense struggled to maintain its level of play, not playing at the right positions, making the correct switches or following the right assignments. In turn, Deerfield took advantage of several open chances against Andover goalie Eliot Sagay ’15.
“We turned the ball over when we were a man up, and then we were sloppy and oblivious when Deerfield stole the ball. We weren’t aware of the defensive situation when we were on offense. We’ve already done a lot of it, but we’re going to keep working on staying aware on both sides of the game,” said Co-Captain Marc Sevastopoulo ’15.
Andover hopes to find rewards from hard practices.
“Despite the situation we were in, I thought we played well. I thought we improved a lot this weekend, even though the score didn’t reflect our improvement. Two members of the team, [Norris] and [Taylor], had never played water polo before this year, and they played in both games. For me, this was one of the positive aspects of the weekend, as it shows how rapidly our inexperienced players are improving,” wrote Co-Captain Nick Faulkner ’16 in an email to_ The Phillipian_.
Head Coach Howie Kalter ’07 felt that the high level of competition was a large reason for the losses. Even so, he also saw improvements not reflected in the box score.
“We played two good teams on Saturday. I thought that we made improvements, but we still have a lot of work to do. We were able to play good water polo for one or two minutes at a time, but we couldn’t sustain it,” said Kalter.
Andover hopes to maintain its defensive pressure and awareness in its games against Williston and Hotchkiss tomorrow.