According to Alan Fang ’21 and Ding, the team did not perform as well as it could have last Saturday because of its lack of mental preparation.
“We didn’t have enough confidence in ourselves and each other. It’s hard to play a team where you go in knowing you’re underdogs, and we were a little bit scared. NMH is very good at soccer, and they’ve beaten some really good teams this season. They moved the ball around really well, it was hard to keep up with their movement, and we got tired,” said Fang.
Ding added, “I think moving forward we really need to work on how we approach the game before it starts, so we’re ready to go once it does start. The loss against NMH was definitely more mental than physical, because we’re capable of competing and winning against a team like NMH, but it was just that we had things we needed to pick up, and we didn’t do that on Saturday.”
Despite the team’s frustration following its loss, goalkeeper Phineas Walsh ’21 stood out throughout the game, according to Alex Meyer ’20.
Meyer said, “I think [Walsh] definitely stood out. It’s tough to be a goalie and lose by a large margin, it makes it feel like it’s your fault, but I think that he did his best and a lot of the goals scored were mistakes in the midfield or mistakes in the defense… He had one save in the first half where an NMH guy was shooting from inside the box and [Walsh] just smacked it away.”
The team went on to compete against Cushing Academy this Wednesday, coming out on top with a score of 3-1, bringing the overall team record to 5-5-0. Tade Omoniwa ’21, Will Godbout ’20, and Ding all scored.
Gio Pagliuca ’23 said, “[Ding’s goal] was a nice finish and it was a really good feeling to see Ding, who usually plays center back, get on the score sheet today.”
Although Andover won, the team lost momentum and played increasingly individually as the game progressed, according to Co-Captain David Wang ’20.
“We were able to get several offensive opportunities in the first half, but… we always start out well, but after a while, we lose momentum and we stop playing the way we should. Usually, we’re supposed to pass and move the ball very quickly but sometimes we just resort to dribbling… and that cost us a lot of turnovers today,” said Wang.
As the season progresses, the team hopes to work on multiple aspects of practice to prepare better for games, according to Pagliuca and Meyer.
Meyer said, “It’s not often that we leave practice feeling really gassed and tired and sore, like we’ve had a good day of work… I think that we could do a better job of being more intense during practice and taking things seriously.”
Pagliuca said, “We should work on getting our quick passes going, still work on our chemistry as a team, and the main thing overall, just keep our intensity high during practice, especially looking forward in the week to our game against Deerfield.”
Andover will travel to Deerfield this Sunday.