Co-Captain Nick Faulkner ’16 weaved his way through the defense and rifled a shot past the goalie to seal one of Andover Boys Water Polo’s two victories this past week, which included an 11-7 win against Hotchkiss.
Faulkner also led the team in scoring, tallying 15 of the team’s 29 goals on that day in games against Hotchkiss and Williston.
Both Co-Captains, Faulkner and Marc Sevastopoulo ’15, felt pressure to succeed after a disappointing 1-4 start to the season, and they delivered in emphatic fashion.
Jake Taylor ’16 said, “Winning both games of a double-header felt incredible, especially against two competent teams [like] Hotchkiss and Williston. Our [Co-Captains] really stepped up and showed their leadership, with [Sevastopoulo] shutting down both teams on the defensive end and Faulkner netting a ton of goals on the day.”
These resounding victories followed two disappointing losses to Deerfield and Brunswick, in which the team struggled to compete defensively. Goalie Eliot Sagay ’15 said that the team has gained defensive credibility with strong performances against Hotchkiss and Williston.
“I would say we are always improving and that as we get better, our offense will look stronger as well,” he said.
Faulkner said, in an email to The Phillipian, “We played strong, smart defense, and on offense we moved the ball around well to get good shots.”
The team has made noticeable improvement from its performance earlier in the season, according to Head Coach Howie Kalter.
“The team began trying some of the new skills that we have been practicing, which was encouraging. We had some great success on our team defense but gave up some goals due to poor drive defense. Offensively, we were able to run our game plan, and, for the first time all season, we executed it effectively,” said Kalter.
These victories will give a crucial boost to the players’ morale as they go into a pivotal matchup with Choate this Sunday.
“Going into Saturday’s game, I was not content with our 1-4 record. I felt that I needed to do something to get the team going. I went out and played as hard as I could, and the result was two wins. My teammates played great. All of them deserve credit for the wins,” wrote Faulkner.
“On Saturday, we had way too many kick-outs from lazy drive defense. I, myself, got kicked out three times for playing my man too hard. This week, we’ve dedicated whole practices to drive defense, so hopefully it pays off,” said Chris Li ’15, who contributed six goals to the win over Williston.
Andover continued its improved play on Wednesday against St. John’s Prep. Jonathan Xue ’17 led the way on the offensive end, tallying seven of Andover’s 15 goals. Thomas Choi ’16 filled in nicely for Sagay and limited St. John’s to three goals in a remarkable 15-3 victory. This victory gives Andover a 4-4 record so far this season.
Andover will look to continue its three-game winning streak this Sunday when it travels to face a powerhouse Choate team.