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Boys Soccer Battles for Two Draws Amid Injuries

Controlling a long ball from Co-Captain Josh Murphy ’15, Co-Captain Dylan Mott ’15 beat his defender with a quick cut inside and drilled the ball far post.

The connection between the Co-Captains in the second half knotted the score at 1-1 and capped the scoring for Andover Boys Soccer’s game against Holderness on Wednesday.

Andover’s early disadvantage came from a series of poor defensive decisions. A Holderness attacker received a ball at the top of the 18-yard box and booted a well-placed shot to give Holderness the lead only five minutes into the game.

For the second game in a row, Andover’s offense struggled to find the net, putting the onus on the Andover’s defensive line.

“We needed to go to goal and create some chances instead of being satisfied with keeping possession,” said Peter Heckendorn ’17.

Andover’s offense finally found its groove in the second half and bounced back with constant pressure on the Holderness defense, but the team was not content with its lack of urgency and effort.

Mott said, “We just didn’t come out firing enough.”

Earlier in the week, Andover fought to a 0-0 draw against Loomis Chaffee, a perennially tough opponent. The hard-fought draw came at a price, however. Brandon Girard ’16, a key left-midfielder with five goals to his name this season, had to come off the field with an injury, forcing Andover to adjust its offensive strategy.

Trainers diagnosed Girard with a hip flexor strain, and the time of his return will depend on the severity of the strain. Typically, a mild strain takes two to three weeks to heal, while a severe strain takes upwards of six weeks.

Although Andover’s attackers did not find results, its defense played a flawless game.

Center-backs Peder Bakken ’16 and Post-Graduate Culver Duquette ’15 formed a compact defensive line and did not allow any balls to split them, while the outside backs opened up the rest of the field.

“The team defended in a really mature way,” said Head Coach Will Orben.

Throughout the gritty match, Andover displayed composure and fortitude against a physically intimidating Loomis team.

After being held scoreless, however, Andover’s offense was left searching for answers as to why it failed to score for 90 minutes.

“We were unable to find their weakness and didn’t develop an attack as efficiently as we should have,” said John Sandor ’17.

Defender Conner Cameron ’15 said, “It’s one of those things where you’re never happy going home without a win, but to play a team as good as Loomis this well is something we can be proud of and build off of as we really start to round into midseason form.”

Andover will look to open its next game against Taft at home on Saturday with more intensity.