Boys Water Polo Fall Sports Sports

Defense Critical In Nailbiter Win

As the five-meter penalty shot honed in on the lower left corner, Andover Boys Water Polo goalie Eliot Sagay ’15 rose to the task and denied the ball access to the net, which ultimately decided Andover’s 7-6 win over Choate last Sunday.

Andover had spent the week working on press defense and managed near-flawless execution when the game arrived. “On our press defense we were really strong, and the only opportunities they had to score were when a six-on-six occurred and they drove past us and we forgot to cover back. Otherwise, our defense was remarkably consistent,” said Co-Captain Marc Sevastopoulo ’15.

Jonathan Xue ’17 added, “Choate was an extremely fast team, but we were able to neutralize [their players’] speed on the drives for the most part. Our defense was great, and [Sagay] was stellar in goal, and, had he let in that penalty, the game would’ve been tied in the final minutes, making it more difficult to pull out the victory.”

Four-year team member Alex Li ’15 tallied his first score of the season, launching a bullet that slid past the goalie’s arms. Fellow Senior Aaron Teo ’15 was also a critical component in the team’s set offense.

Sevastopoulo said, “[Teo] found a lot of opportunities to get into the open water, draw in a defender and either help to score or cause a foul.”

The team still struggled, however, to penetrate Choate’s six-on-five defense, a formation against which Andover had never practiced. In addition, the team occasionally struggled to work the ball around, falling victim to a series of turnovers.

After scoring 15 of Andover’s 29 goals during last week’s two-game campaign, Co-Captain Nick Faulkner ’16 was once again a force on both ends, scoring multiple goals and smothering Choate’s speedy players.

Ben Janoschek ’16 said, “[Faulkner] scored a bunch of goals and was an intimidating presence on the defensive end. He completely locked down whomever he was guarding. On the offensive end, there was one play where he had ball directly in front of the net, with three guys on him, and he scored right as the shot-clock sounded.”

The players were content with their performance and win, but recognized areas of improvement for the rest of the season.

“We went into our game against Choate with the goal to play our own game and stick to our strategies. I felt that our performance was mostly good, except for the occasional lapse in our defense which led to some blunders. Those mistakes are definitely not major ones and will be corrected pretty quickly. I feel quite confident going into our next and first home game against Loomis [Chaffee] this weekend,” said Teo.

“The newcomers to the team are starting to get the hang of how to play water polo, and I am excited to see them improve and am sure that they will be essential to our success this year,” he continued.

Andover plays its first home game against Loomis Chaffee on Saturday.