On February 21, Andover Boys Squash secured a 6-1 win over Phillips Exeter Academy in its final game of the regular season during Andover/Exeter Weekend. This victory helped the team finish its season with a winning record of 13-6.
Andover had already earned a 7-0 victory in its previous match against Exeter this season. As a result, the team was relatively calm heading into the match, but not overconfident, according to Will Yun ’20.
Yun said, “We prepare for each game as the same, and we performed really well. We weren’t too afraid of them after already playing them in the season. We already knew what to expect.”
One challenge for the team was that Captain David Tsai ’18 was out with an ankle injury, so each player had to move up a seed. Even though he could not participate in the matches, according to Tsai, he made sure to support his teammates to help keep the intensity for each match.
Tsai said, “I motivated the guys by simply just trying to be the best teammate possible. I couldn’t play that day because of my ankle, so I tried to help out in a bunch of other ways.”
Yun added, “Between each game, [Head] Coach [John] Roberts and other teammates would check in on each of us. Our captain David Tsai cheered us on from the side as well.”
According to Tsai, before the game, Coach Roberts spoke about the importance of teamwork in the team’s final match, which helped the its mentality.
Tsai said, “Coach Roberts gave a great speech the practice before Exeter about how we need to play for each other and that for the three Seniors that are graduating, this is our last time in an Andover uniform. This motivated our guys to a victory.”
According to fifth seed Jack Lee ’20, hard work and focus leading up to the game enabled Andover to be successful.
Lee said, “We practiced really hard with our coach, and he gave us a lot of drills that enabled us to play at our best. I prepared by warming up with my team as well as listening to music, which helps get rid of the nerves.”
In addition to Coach Roberts’ significant impact on the team this season, the unity that the team developed over the season was instrumental in its success, according to Steve Nam ’20.
Nam said, “I think the most important key in our match was that we were closer as teammates than compared to the beginning of the season. We supported each other a lot better because we knew each other better. I think this allowed us to have a much stronger team and consequently a better performance as a whole.”
Yun added, “We had a lot of [Juniors] this year, so playing an entire season together got us tighter. The mentality of winning was shared and ultimately helped us beat Exeter.”