With 30 minutes remaining in the game, Nacho Hidalgo ’19 was fouled at the 35-yard line, resulting in a free kick. Rolando Rabines ’19 took the set piece and sent the ball by Milton’s goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Rabines’ goal made the difference in Andover Boys Soccer’s 3-2 win. Following its 2-1 loss to Belmont Hill in its home opener on Saturday, Andover improved its season record to 1-2.
Starting goalkeeper and Captain Max Levi ’19 was injured against Noble and Greenough last Wednesday and returned to play outside back and later center back on Monday, opening the net for Kion Young ’20 to make his first appearance as goalkeeper. The team’s defense and goalkeeping led Andover to its first win of the season, according to Isaac Hershenson ’20 and Phillip Matteini ’19.
Hershenson said, “We just had to play compact defense and not let Milton get the shots that they wanted to get off. Kion also played a great game in goal which was key to us not letting in shots.”
Matteini said, “We played a really solid game defensively. In the first half we had a tough matchup in terms of Milton having a couple of attackers that were really strong and had a couple of chances at the beginning of the game. We were fortunate enough to take the lead toward the end of the first half because we were pressing really strongly and ultimately forced one of their players to commit an error, leading to a score by Will [Godbout ’20].”
Offensively, Andover proved strong against Milton with goals from Godbout, Hunter DeCristo ’21, and Rabines. Teamwork was a key focus and a contributor to Andover’s success both offensively and defensively on Monday, especially with the addition of seven new players to the varsity roster, according to Sam Kumler ’21 and Ethan Hong ’22 .
Kumler wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Some keys for the game were playing as a unit and listening to each other, keeping the pressure on after we took an early lead.”
“We were preparing to connect with each other and play together before the game. A bunch of people left last year, so we’ve been getting to know each other. So playing together had a big role. The defense did pretty well stopping and then giving the ball to us to play up the field. Offensively, we didn’t create that many chances but when we did we played well together, making little combinations and moving the ball forward,” said Hong.
After losing to Belmont Hill on Saturday, the team improved on maintaining focus and possession throughout the game in order to play a strong offensive game against Milton, according to Young, Alan Fang ’21, and David Wang ’20.
Fang said, “The only difference between the game against Belmont Hill and Milton was our focus. Having been in the same 1-0 position at halftime, there was no way that we were walking out without the win at Milton. Conceding our first goal against Belmont Hill from a corner, everyone was on their toes and ready for every set piece at Milton.”
Young wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “One of the problems we faced in the Belmont Hill game was our lack of ability of holding possession of the ball. We were also very fatigued in the second half, especially near the end of the game. We worked to improve that against Milton, and we were able to hold the ball for a little longer which evidently helped us win the game.”
“Even though [Milton] had a little more possession than us, we made sure to take advantage of our opportunities in front of goal and that’s all it took for the three goals,” wrote Wang in an email to The Phillipian.
In preparation for its game away against Loomis Chaffee on Friday, Andover will have to focus on strong defense, according to Hershenson.
Hershenson said, “Loomis was the Nepsac champion last year [and] they have the Player of the League in Michael Suski, [so] we have to stay to our game and hopefully score a few more goals than them.”