Captain Sam Donchi ’20 said, “We knew we needed to win the games on the weekend to maintain a .500 average and have a shot at the playoffs, so everyone was very motivated. I think that the main takeaway was that we can all play well when it matters, and translating that into harder games is important.”
The team traveled to Deerfield to compete in its second double-header of the season. According to Hank Yang ’22, the team competed well and used the matches to work on new skills.
Yang said, “I think our games went really well, given we won by quite a large margin and we saw a great improvement from our previous games. Everyone did their jobs and knew what positions they were supposed to play, so we were able to execute the drills we practiced. Going into these games, we knew that Deerfield and Brunswick would not be as strong of opponents compared to the previous week, so it was a good chance to try new things and execute new patterns.”
These two victories came after a sudden-death quintuple overtime time loss to Phillips Exeter Academy the previous Wednesday. Because the team has spent more time together at this point in the season, it has been focusing on its cohesiveness and offense, according to McKee.
“I feel like we all got into the pool knowing this was a game, given the level, that we could showcase what we could actually do and not be double-teamed everytime we had the ball, but actually performing. I think that motivated a lot of people to do their best and it really brought out the best side of the team,” said McKee.
He continued, “I think we communicated a lot more in the game itself, and now that we are three or four games in, we are a lot more comfortable together and are able to perform as one unit much better than previous games. As our coaches told us, we can shoot a lot more than what we were previously doing, and we definitely shot a lot more in these games, which played to our advantage since we have a lot of strong shooters on the team.”
According to McKee and Yang, the team looks to continue its success and improve upon its offense in order to prevent stronger teams from capitalizing off of a fast break opportunity.
“We have also been working on a specific drill where we go on a fast break, then picking the ball and shooting, so we want to continue doing that. These more detailed case studies, where we have tried to emulate scenarios in the game, have been helpful besides the basic fundamentals that we were focused on before because now the team has gotten used to those skills,” Yang said.
McKee added, “We hope to keep this train of winning going and of course get better every week, get more conditioned to be able to run up the score against other teams.”
According to Donchi, the team is focusing on working together better as a team and integrating younger players on the team to prepare for the end of the season and next year.
Andover Boys Water Polo will compete on Saturday at Williston.
Editor’s Note: Sean Meng is a Business Associate for The Phillipian.