After Co-Captain Neil Simpson ’19 grasped the ball and hurled it past Deerfield’s goalie into the net to bring the score to 16-15 during overtime, Andover sent in 6’ 9” Max Hunger ’20 to hold the ball over his head to secure the victory in the remaining seconds of the game. The team went on to win 14-10 against Phillips Exeter Academy, securing a final regular season record of 13-2 and lengthening the team’s winning streak to 11 games.
In its first matchup against Deerfield, the team had previously lost 9-12. The team, however, was determined to pull out a win and improve on their mistakes, according to Sean Meng ’22.
A major difference in the team’s strategy was to focus on its defensive tactics, according to Henrique Chamon ’21 and Hunger. The team sought to neither foul outside of five meters nor give Deerfield an opportunity to score, as well as to neutralize Deerfield’s Senior player Chris Lee, who was able to score from all places in the pool.
Meng said, “I feel that this time around, because of plays focused on covering the point and flat positions where [Lee] plays, that we worked on in practice, we were better prepared to play the game.”
Sam Donchi ’20 and Arnold Su ’20 each were responsible for vital offensive and defensive plays on Sunday. According to Yang, Donchi stole the ball from the goalie and was able to score which helped increase the team’s lead by one. Although Deerfield equalized the score, the team retained its momentum which overall allowed it to win the game.
Su, who plays goalie, made many key saves against Deerfield, according to Chamon, and was successful in blocking shots from Deerfield’s Lee.
In Andover’s game against Exeter on Wednesday, the team dominated for the second time this season, having previously defeated Exeter 12-7.
According to Co-Captain Eric Osband ’19, the team was successful in its defense but struggled on its offense.
Osband said, “We were really good at defense [against Exeter] like crashing and keeping our heads up, helping each other out, not letting them score that often. We were not good on offense and scoring… We kept on passing to be able to shoot and score. They identified that and kept on shot-blocking [Simpson]. He wasn’t scoring, so we tried to have some more movement, passing around and switching up people.”
The game was special to the team as it was the last home game for the Seniors, according to Meng.
“It was the last home game for the Seniors and so I think there was the mindset of ‘let’s make this a good one’ between the entire team… The game was electric, and a lot of fun,” said Meng.
Despite both victories, Meng also noted that the team still has areas to improve for their upcoming tournament.
Meng said, “We’ve done really well as a team this season and honestly, the main thing now is to focus on the fundamentals of the game and to remain calm, composed, and positive for the games to come.”
The team will now begin its postseason. According to Osband, the team currently has the most wins in the league, and is positioned to be first seed going into the tournament.