From the two-meter line, Dylan Norris ’16 fired a backhand shot that nailed the upper-left bar of the goal and soared into the net. This goal contributed to Andover Boys Water Polo’s 12-1 victory over St. John’s Prep, the team’s sixth win in a row.
In addition to rookie Norris’s two goals, Andover gave an impressive offensive performance with two goals from Jonathan Xue ’17 and four from Jake Taylor ’16. Goalkeeper Elliot Sagay ’15 grounded the team’s defense, allowing only one goal out of at least 20 shots.
“The performance has to go to Sagay. Every game, he continues to make crazy saves. In water polo, the average save percentage is around 30 percent. Sagay only let in one goal after facing 20 shots. That’s unheard of,” said Taylor.
“Against St. John’s, we really did no wrong. Everyone had an all-around good game: we completed our passes, got it into the hole [two-meter line] and made good passes out of there. We eliminated turnovers, which had plagued us against Suffield, and easily recovered to neutralize their counterattack,” he continued.
The team reaped the benefits of working hard on preventing counterattacks in practice.
“One of the things we really did well was translating what we did in practice to games. After trying to limit the counter in practice, we allowed no counter goals in the game,” said Head Coach Howie Kalter ’07.
Norris added, “We had practiced all week against the counterattacks and really showed the strides we’ve made in terms of defensive ability in our game against St. John’s.”
In past games this season, Andover tended to rush its offensive possessions. The team made significant improvements in Friday’s matchup.
“Usually we struggle to completely use the shot clock. In our game, we held onto the ball, made good passes, then took good shots. We executed very well,” said Felix Liu ’15.
“Our passing really exposed their defense, allowing our players to penetrate and work the ball around,” Xue added.
Sagay said, “I’d say the counter defense has improved to a certain extent; however, St. John’s exposed some things we still need to work on. We’re not there yet. We can still work on counter defense, our press, and continue to get our hands up on so we can block more shots.”
Yet another positive from Friday’s game was the experience gained by some of the less experienced players on the team. The entire team played in the Varsity contest, increasing Andover’s depth and experience.
Andover faces off against Deerfield at home this Saturday.