Ten minutes after the opening whistle of Andover Boys Soccer’s game against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) last Saturday, Alex Dziadosz ’16 sent a high-soaring cross to Peter Heckendorn ’17 in the six-yard box. Heckendorn sharply redirected the ball onto the goal frame, but the deft NMH goalkeeper saved it with a match-altering dive.
That moment was indicative of the entire game as Andover struggled to find the net time after time throughout the full 90 minutes and ultimately fell to NMH 4-0.
A small consolation prize, Andover reunited with former Assistant Coach Chris Wade ’08, who is now an assistant coach at NMH.
Andover started the first half with intensity, but the saved shot changed the flow of the game as NMH responded with the opening goal soon after.
“We looked really slow out on the field, and when we got the ball we weren’t possessing it,” said Dziadosz.
NMH’s fast and technical wingers put Andover down 3-0 by the end of the first half.
“Over the course of the entire game we had some defensive lapses. We weren’t our usual solid, organized back line, and NMH pounced on every mistake we made,” Ben Del Vecchio ’15 said.
Andover came out of halftime looking to shut down NMH’s attack down the wings and was successful, limiting NMH to only one goal in the second half. Andover’s chances on offense however, lacked energy and failed to materialize.
“We needed to make more chances. That was our biggest offensive let-down,” wrote Andy Manos ’16 in an email to The Phillipian.
The loss motivated Andover to work hard and bring intensity to practice. The team aims to develop crisper passing, harder tackles and more fluid play.
“[Head Coach Will Orben] said we have to work hard the next few weeks if we want to compete in the playoffs,” said newcomer John Rauen ’17.
“There’s a lot to take away. We’re really trying to work in practice to account for the mistakes we made on Saturday,” Del Vecchio added.
Later in the week, Andover faced Cushing Academy in the pouring rain. The Wednesday game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Reminiscent of the NMH game, Andover opened the game full of energy. This time however, Andover capitalized on its early chance as John Sandor ’17 headed the ball into the back of the net off a corner from Co-Captain Josh Murphy ’15. The goal was Sandor’s first of the season.
Andover controlled the momentum and flow of play throughout the first half, with many scoring opportunities.
Cushing tied the score at 1-1 late in the first half, but Andover pulled ahead again. Murphy took another corner kick, but this time he curved it into the goal himself to put Andover up 2-1.
Andover was able to hold off Cushing attack until the dying embers of the game. On one of the last plays, Cushing’s goalie pressed high, coming forward to take a free kick that was deflected into the back of the Andover goal, which closed the game at 2-2.
The team will look to rebound for its upcoming match this weekend at home against Deerfield.