As a Taft striker attempted to score on a bicycle kick, starting goalie Kion Young ’20 rose up and blocked the ball over the net to save the goal. Still, Andover’s defensive efforts weren’t enough to avoid a 0-8 loss to Taft on Wednesday and a 0-2 loss to Bridgeton last Saturday. After a tough week, the team’s record stands at 2-4.
According to David Wang ’20, the team spent much time working on defensive structure and keeping possession of the ball to prepare for each game.
Wang said, “One of the major things we worked on was our defensive shape as well as our speed of play. We did a lot of two-touch and one-touch exercises in practice and I think that helped us a lot.”
Young added, “One of the biggest things that the team worked on after our loss against Taft was being able to possess the ball. Against Taft we would lose the ball in ten seconds or less, and they got every chance they had. We were losing in our own third, which created more chances for them.”
Alan Fang ’21 emphasized defense as something the team will look to improve on.
Fang said, “We have to focus on defending, [as] we are a very defensive-oriented team. We defended as a unit with our back line, blocking off their passing channels.”
Injuries have had a heavy impact on the team, but several of Andover’s players, including Co-Captains Max Levi ’19 and Henry Rogers ’19, are slowly returning from the sidelines.
Owen Glover ’19 said, “Henry Rogers, our [Co-Captain], has been out for a while. It’s great to see him getting a lot of minutes, playing at back today. Overall, it’s definitely great to see him healthy again, along with other players.”
Young continued, “One of the biggest things that affected our team was our captains, Henry Rogers and Max Levi, getting injured for the past several weeks. Henry came back at center back today, but you could tell he was a bit rusty and couldn’t control the ball as well as he did before. We also lost Connor Ding [’20], our main center back. Max is doing very well at the center back position, but it isn’t the same as before.”
Neel Desai ’19 and Young both stressed the importance of giving the team time to recuperate after the losses and to improve for the next game.
Desai said, “Henry and Max emphasized that it’s up to us, and so did [Head Coach Edwin Escobar], telling us that we need to put in the work if we want to win. That’s a decision that we have to make as a team, whether we’re willing to put in the extra effort. They also [all] gave good team talks before and after each game.”
Young added, “There were a lot of times when two players would go for the ball, but would collide. The captains were serious after our loss after the [Taft] game. We didn’t joke about it, the captains especially didn’t. They were very straightforward, saying how our loss against Taft was embarrassing, and how we need to be better. Thanks to that, we were very motivated to be better, but unfortunately we made a few mistakes this game.”
According to Wang and Desai, the team needs to work on generating opportunities on offense as well as being in the right mindset before the game.
Wang said, “The entire midfield played well, Rolando [Rabines ’19] especially, he worked a lot on the defensive end and because of that got opportunities on offense. We need to continue doing this work on create as many chances as possible, getting the ball from defense to offense, and scoring goals.”
Desai continued, “Going into next game, it’s that mindset that we need to have that will help us. We just need to make sure we’re totally checked in before the games and checked in in practice. We need to make sure that we’re always putting our best effort in to get better, and hopefully beat teams like this in the future.”
Andover Boys Soccer will travel to play Choate on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Max Levi is a Layout Editor for The Phillipian.