Jumping up on the line, Austin Tuan ’17 tipped a ball past one of Phillips Exeter Academy’s largest players to score his third kill of the match. Despite Tuan’s offensive prowess, Andover fell to Exeter 3-0 away on Saturday before defeating Wilbraham and Monson Academy (Wilbraham) by default.
Saturday’s matchup marked the third time in a row that Exeter has toppled Andover since last season.
Thanks to its skilled team comprised of three seniors and four juniors, Exeter performed excellently. Exeter’s massive blockers and talented spikers outperformed the relatively unseasoned Andover team.
“Our team is still learning. They’ve only been together for a few weeks now,” said Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith.
Realizing its lack of experience compared to Exeter, Andover was still optimistic going into the game. The excitement and pressure that comes with every Andover/Exeter game built up as fans took their seats and the setters, spikers and blockers took their places on the court.
The first set for the teams started out evenly with Andover and Exeter trading side-outs. Despite Co-Captain Thayer Anderson ’15 digging 27 of 34, Exeter found its offensive momentum and had four consecutive servers score five, five, four and three points in a row. This immaculate serving won Exeter the first set 25-12.
Andover came back hitting hard in the second set with a different rotation. This changeup caught Exeter off guard, giving Andover the opportunity to pull ahead 12-5 and then to 15-10. The nine of nine serving performance from Jerry Yang ’17 also bolstered Andover’s lead.
Andover could not latch onto this upward momentum and faltered, winning a mere three points to Exeter’s ten to trail Exeter 18-20. Executing under pressure, Andover once again pulled ahead 21-20.
Exhaustion set in and Exeter’s huge players wrested control of the game to bring the score to 21-24. In a last ditch effort, Andover pulled closer with 23-24, but lost the set 23-25 to give Exeter the 2-0 advantage going into the third set.
Andover did not allow for itself to get discouraged in the third set. Tuan motivated himself and the team by continuing his consistent play, hitting 15 of 17.
Even with many of Andover’s players stepping up, Exeter took control of the third set. After two rotations, Exeter led 9-4. Brendan Deorocki ’15 had one stuff and blocked five of eight to try to keep Andover in the contest. Despite his efforts, Exeter led 17-12 after six rotations.
This lead was enough for Exeter to coast to a 25-15 win, closing out the game 3-0. Exeter dealt Andover its second loss of the season, putting the team at 2-2.
Newcomer Evan Park ’18 praised the leadership of his Captains. He said, “Anderson and [Co-Captain Oliver Chernyk ’15] didn’t call anybody out for doing anything bad during the game and had great insight in each huddle. They focused on the positive, and because they’re great volleyball players, they had good advice.”
The Co-Captains look to continue their positive example as they foster team chemistry and technical skills in practice, preparing to avenge the loss two weeks from now when the two teams meet again.
Andover will travel to Choate this Saturday to face off against Northfield Mount Hermon and Choate in hopes of capturing its next win.