Andover Ultimate led Newton North High School 10-7 late in the game on Wednesday, but after allowing Newton North to come back to even up the score 10-10, the pressure was on Andover. Co-Captain Jordan Swett ’15, however, led an Andover response, connecting with Calvin Griffin ’15, who scored the tiebreaking goal to secure an 11-10 victory.
Though weather conditions presented a challenge to Andover’s offense, the team still managed to maintain an 8-5 lead going into the second half of the game. The defense pressed hard against Newton North, forcing several turnovers.
With a revamped strategy, Newton North changed to a zone defense that initially caught Andover off guard. Losing its momentum, Andover allowed three goals in a row before rethinking its defensive strategy.
Co-Captain Jack McGovern ’15 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We [were] relentless. No matter what Newton North threw at us, we fought back with hard defense and solid offense. Throughout the game, Newton North was especially pushing for the upline throw to the dump cut, and while it worked for a couple points, we caught up and shut that option down.”
Andover’s defense continued to hold a strong press against Newton North’s offense. Ethan McIntosh ’15, Darian Bhathena ’16 and Ian Jackson ’16 all turned in strong defensive performances.
Swett wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Our strengths were keeping very hard marks on the handlers and playing strong defense, ultimately leading to a lot of turnovers.”
The Andover players darted down the right side of the field, beating Newton North’s defense with consecutive throws, even though they were just yards away from the end zone. Griffin held on to the disc and threw it to Rocco Amorosso ’15, but to Andover’s dismay, it was intercepted by Newton North.
Andover then forced a quick turnover. Newton North wasn’t quick enough to mark up on Andover players, leaving Griffin wide open. As soon as Swett connected with his teammate from 15 yards away, he immediately whipped the disk to Griffin for the winning goal.
Coach Scott Hoenig wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “One of the greatest things about how we played [Wednesday] was that we didn’t play any differently when we were ahead or behind or tied – we just continued to play focused, intense Ultimate.”
Swett said, “I was really impressed with how well we worked together and communicated. Our timeouts always resulted in improved quality of play during the next point, and when something wasn’t working, we were able to adapt – sometimes flawlessly – to counter the threats we faced.”
Though pressure was high on both sides of the field, Andover’s composed mental game helped it come out on top.
Jack McGovern ’15 said, “We had great spirit today, and there was a lot of positive energy on the field. Even when we lost several consecutive points towards the middle end of the game, we kept our heads up and followed our ‘the score is 0-0, game to one’ mentality.”
Andover hopes to build on its momentum when it faces off against Northfield Mount Hermon and Deerfield away on Saturday.