Reuben Philip ’18 pinged the ball over the opposing back line to Co-Captain Morgan Cutts ’18 who poked it into the bottom right corner of the net, bringing Andover Boys Soccer to a 4-0 victory against Bridgton Academy on Wednesday. After suffering its second loss of the season to Taft on Saturday, Andover made a statement against Bridgton, bumping its record to 3-2-1 on the season.
The team worked hard in practice this week in order to improve after its loss to Taft, according to Kion Young ’20.
Young said, “We played really well today, focusing on things we learned in practice and then applied them in the game. One thing we need to work on is connecting passes and keeping them on the ground, as opposed to launching them forward and hoping someone will get there.”
This effort paid off and, on Wednesday, the team played as a cohesive unit with each player getting in the game and contributing to the win, according to Henry Rogers ’19.
Rogers said, “We created a lot on offense and for the most part we shut them down on defense. Our midfield won the midfield battle and we did a really good job of passing it around. We experimented with different players in different positions.”
Andover also saw strong performances from left defender Nick Toldalagi ’18 and center defender Hayden Weatherall ’18 on the defensive end and from Striker Akesh Shah ’19, who scored his first goal of the season against Bridgton on the offensive end.
Young said, “Nick and Hayden played a great game on defense, stopping multiple runs and saving me from having to stop shots. Shoutout to Akesh for getting his first goal of the season and I think career.”
Philip also played a crucial role in the team’s success with his versatility; he was able to control the defensive end of the field while aiding the team offensively, according to Young.
Young said, “Reuben played as a side back, center defensive midfielder, and center back, and managed to play excellent balls wherever he played. He is a crucial player for switching the field, and can also play defense. Today, he was playing excellent in the midfield by turning when he received the ball, seeing his options, and sending it long to the side or playing it back, and in the defense by stopping multiple runs by the opponent and moving the ball from one side to the next.”
Led by goalkeeper Young, Andover played strong defense, not allowing many shots and offensive opportunities for Bridgton. A newcomer to the team this season, Young had a strong game in goal against both Taft and Bridgton, according to Cutts.
Cutts said, “Despite the loss, it was really good to see Kion step up in the game with Max being out with a concussion. He’s going to have to play a big role for at least the upcoming few games until Max gets back. As a younger player on the team, it was really good to see him play well in general throughout the game and make a couple of really good saves.”
The biggest key for the team moving forward is to stay on the same page and to be mentally and physically prepared for each game, according to Cutts.
Cutts said, “I think one of the biggest things was just upping the intensity coming straight out of the gates. We just need to make sure we’re coming from the starting whistle with a lot of energy and intensity — something that we didn’t necessarily have that game.”
Andover will face Choate at home this Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Nick Toldalagi is a Managing Editor and Reuben Philip is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.