Standing in at 6’3” and 6’6”, respectively, Andover Boys Water Polo Co-Captains Marc Sevastopoulo ’15 and Nick Faulkner ’16 are unmistakably towering forces on the team’s quest to repeat its 2013 New England Class A Championship.
Last year’s season was arguably Andover’s best as the team brought home its first ever championship. This year, Sevastopoulo and Faulkner have made up for the loss of last year’s Co-Captains, Travis Bouscaren ’14, who was the team’s leading goalscorer, and Andrew Yang ’14, through their numerous assists and goals.
Sevastopoulo, a four-year Senior from New York, NY, is in his third season playing water polo at Andover at two-meter offense in the pool. A natural leader and athlete, Sevastopoulo quickly picked up water polo at Andover and has had an immeasurable impact on the team.
“[Sevastopoulo] has been a value to the team in and out of the pool. He is very organized and helps keep things running smoothly in an administrative sense. In the pool, he has been a strong utility player. He is very vocal in the water and has been an asset on both the offensive and defensive end,” Coach Howie Kalter ’07 wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Faulkner, a three-year Upper from Homer, AK, plays two-meter offense alongside Sevastopoulo and has been a powerhouse on the Varsity team since his Junior year.
Unlike Sevastopoulo and most of his teammates, Faulkner played water polo before joining the team. He learned the game from his older brothers, William Faulkner ’09 and Andrew Faulkner ’07, who both played for Andover, and has been instrumental in bringing promising newcomers into the sport.
“We do a phenomenal job of converting people who have never played water polo into water polo players, especially swimmers and rowers,” Faulkner said. “We do very well considering we don’t recruit a lot.”
Faulkner is the centerpiece of Andover’s offense. When he’s not scoring goals, he draws the attention of the opposing teams’ defense, making it easier for his teammates to score.
“[Faulkner] has done a lot of leading from the water. He is one of the more experienced players on the team and always takes the initiative to teach his teammates new things. [Faulkner] leads by example and gets great responses from his teammates. [He] has been a lights-out defender for our team, which, along with our goalie [Elliot Sagay ’15,] anchors our defense,” wrote Kalter.
Together, Sevastopoulo and Faulkner create a dynamic that works for both Kalter and their teammates and have given Andover a promising shot at defending its first ever title.
“I think we have big shoes to fill, and we have a lot of teams going for us, so it is up to us to keep that pressure off us and just play our games,” said Sevastopoulo.
“[Sevastopoulo] is a natural leader who always finds a way to inspire the people he’s around. We work well as Co-Captains because he is very good at organizing team events and I try to focus on leading by example in the pool,” said Faulkner.
A rocky 1-4 start to the season reflected the team’s struggle to find its footing, but under the leadership of Sevastopoulo and Faulkner, Andover Boys Water Polo seemed reborn after winning a doubleheader against Williston and Hotchkiss on September 27.
Faulkner netted 15 of Andover’s 29 goals in the two games, spurring Andover to a six-game win streak.
“I’m really impressed with the way we are doing,” said Sevastopoulo. “We graduated a ton of people and we still have an above .500 record. That being said, we have a lot of improvement to do with our conditioning as well as our scrimmaging, but I think it is really impressive after how many guys we lost last year.”
Kalter added, “The most important thing for me is that they hold their teammates accountable. They make sure that everyone in the water is working hard and focused. They are always striving to better their water polo ability so that they can better help their team.”