Andover Boys Water Polo season came to an end on Wednesday as the team fell to Suffield, 13-8. Andover’s hopes of defending the team’s title as NEPSAC Champion ended with the tournament play-in loss.
Andover had previously beaten Suffield, 12-9, in an early season matchup. The loss capped Andover’s season record at 7-7.
In its early season match against Suffield, Andover emerged victorious despite struggling to defend Suffield’s motion offense. In practices leading up to Wednesday, Andover focused on plays that would bolster its defense. Andover also practiced playing in transition, ball control, passing, and the ability to absorb pressure and make dynamic plays.
Suffield surged offensively at the start of the match and raced to a quick lead. Although Andover’s defense had improved, multiple defensive breakdowns allowed for easy Suffield goals.
“We came out strong in our press defense to counteract Suffield’s motion offense. For the most part we were able to keep the game tight and force Suffield to make bad shots. However, Suffield got the best of us on some counter attacks in a one on goalie situation,¨ said Dylan Norris ’16.
Suffield also capitalized on Andover’s offensive miscues.
Co-Captain Marc Sevastopoulo ’15 said, “We made some mistakes that gave Suffield opportunities that they didn’t have to work for. But to their credit, they figured out how to defend against our offense and run strong counterattacks.”
Down five goals, Andover rallied to cut Suffield’s lead from five goals to one. The rally was led by Jake Taylor ’16 and Co-Captain Nick Faulkner ’16.
Faulkner continued his dominance, tallied seven goals and executed continuous lock-down defense.
Ultimately, Suffield’s lead was too much to overcome.
“We made the mistakes that we practiced all week to not make and that was our bane,” said Norris.
“It was a disappointing way to end the season, but I thought this game didn’t reflect how well we did. During the game it just seemed like we were prone to turning the ball over, and allowing them to have easy transition goals. Overall, I thought we had a great season and I am excited to get back in the pool [next season],” said Faulkner.
Added Sevastopoulo, “It’s tough for my Senior season to be cut short, but we did so much with how little experience we had at the start of the season. I’m proud to have been a part of it, and I can’t wait to see the team do great things next year.”