Last Saturday, Andover Ultimate faced off against Deerfield Academy, Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) and Hotchkiss School at the New England Prep School Ultimate League (NEPSUL) Championship tournament and tied for third place after deciding to not play a consolation game with NMH. Andover secured a win against Deerfield Academy 11-1, but fell short to NMH by one point with a final score of 9-10 and lost to Hotchkiss 7-10.
Andover’s confidence allowed it to play aggressively against Deerfield Academy in the first game of the tournament. The team developed and maintained constant flow and movement of the disc amongst handlers and cutters in order to rack up points.
Andover faced a difficult transition from the first game against Deerfield to the second game against NMH. After losing to NMH earlier in the season, Andover was determined to come out on top. The team quickly built a 4-0 against NMH, but NMH refused to give up and soon revamped its strategy against Andover by putting up a strong zone defense that shut down Andover’s long throws into the end zone.
Most of the game involved back and forth points scored by both teams until NMH took the lead 9-8. Adjusting quickly, Andover Ultimate set up zone defense which made it difficult for NMH to find open players down the field.
Co-Captain Jack McGovern ’15 and Ethan McIntosh ’15 stayed in the backfield and set up as handlers. McGovern and McIntosh made swift passes to each other, pulling NMH players out of position. After making an incredible diving catch, Darian Bhathena ’16 threw the disk to James Wolfe ’16 to tie the score 9-9 and force overtime.
In the last seconds of overtime play, Andover had a pass intercepted, and NMH scored shortly afterward to defeat Andover. In an email to The Phillipian, Reuben Philip ’18 wrote, “We played pretty well as a team; however, we did have some communication errors.”
Co-Captain Jordan Swett ’15 also wrote, “The end of the game was incredibly intense as we had a comeback and went into overtime, but unfortunately, they just happened to win the point and the game was over.”
Even though the second game against NMH drained Andover’s energy, Andover was still determined to defeat Hotchkiss School in the semi-final of the tournament.
Hotchkiss’ captain beat Andover’s defense on upfield cuts and carried Hotchkiss’ offense throughout the game.
McGovern decided to switch from his normal defensive position to offense and was able to break Hotchkiss’ wide zone defense with the support of his teammates. His maneuver gave Hotchkiss trouble throughout the whole game. Despite his efforts, Hotchkiss snagged the lead and Andover fell short 7-10.
Swett added, “If we had fresher legs, I think we would have put up a much better fight. Overall, everyone played very well when they were at their best on Saturday.”
Andover hopes to wrap up its season by continuing its strong play.