Approaching the ball with his eyes locked on the goalie, Co-Captain Peder Bakken ’16 took two quick steps and fired a penalty shot into the back of the net to give Andover Boys Soccer a 1-0 lead over Taft. The game ended in a 2-2 tie after Taft rallied back in the final minutes of the game.
Just ten minutes into the game, Andover pushed its lead to 2-0 after Bakken found Co-Captain Brandon Girard ’16 with a long-lofted pass. Girard finished the opportunity with a smooth shot into the top corner of the net.
Although Andover’s offense created countless scoring opportunities, the score was settled at 2-0 at the end of the first half.
In the second half, Taft exploited a loose ball in Andover’s defensive end to close in on a tight 2-1 score. Energized by its goal, Taft gained more offensive momentum and pressed Andover’s defense again. Andover allowed another Taft goal in the 70th minute, which locked the game in a 2-2 tie.
In the final minutes of the match, the possession was even. Both teams found open chances at the net, but neither team capitalized, giving Andover its first draw of the season at 2-2.
Co-Captain Alex Dziadosz ’16 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We need to focus on keeping our momentum. The Taft game was a tough tie, but it was a wake up call that we needed as a group. We need to take this tie and use it as fuel for the rest of our season.”
Bakken said, “So far this year the team has worked very hard at getting better each and everyday at practice. We have had moments when we move the ball quickly where everything has seemed to come together, but we have also struggled to play like that for an entire game. Going forward we need to find consistency and make sure we put together a complete 90-minute performance.”
Andover responded to the tie with a strong 7-0 win against Bridgton Academy on Wednesday.
The Bridgton team, comprised of all Post-Graduates, arrived to the game with just enough players for a roster but quickly lost two players to injuries. Playing with only nine men left on the field, Bridgton could not handle Andover’s relentless attack.
Andover jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first half and finished the game by adding three more in the second with no reply. Goals came from Roberto Rabines ’16, Alejandro Diaz ’16, Bakken, Owen Glover ’19, Andrei Dumitrescu ’18, Henry Meyerrose ’17 and Richard Shim ’16.
Andover’s defense worked together with the offense to transition the play especially well, sending balls forward to open areas of the field for unattested chances at the net.
Starting centerback, Morgan Cutts ’18, said, “This year the defense has come together strongly. Last season, we did not work as much as a unit, and we let up too much. The hard work we have put in has shown so far in all aspects of the game.”
This Saturday, Andover will take on Choate at home.