Boys WoPo Faces Suffield in Play-In Match for Liquid Four Tournament

Max Hunger ’20 earned an ‘All-NEPSAC’ (1st team) water polo honor this season.

After coming in third place at the Nepsac championship tournament, known as the “Liquid Four,” last year for the second year running, Andover Boys Water Polo looks to earn a championship title this weekend. Entering this year’s tournament with a season record of 8-5, Andover will face Suffield Academy for a play-in match.

Andover anticipates a competitive match against Suffield after a narrow 13-14 loss earlier in the season and will be looking for revenge, according to Gregor Deveau ’21.

“We know that Suffield’s a great team, they’re probably practicing at the same caliber as we are, so it’s not going to be an easy game. We know exactly what we have to do to take them down, we just have to lock down on other players and score more goals,” said Deveau, who, as a new Upper, will be competing in the Liquid Four tournament for the first time.

If Andover defeats Suffield, the team will go on to face Brunswick School, the first seed of the tournament, in the semifinals. According to Max Hunger ’20, the five-team tournament will be very intense, but the team feels prepared to combat some of the best teams in New England.

Hunger said, “It’s a pretty intense environment. It’s pretty much a test of the fittest—survival of the fittest—in some way, shape, or form, because you are playing a lot of games in a row in a relatively short amount of time, sometimes going back to back depending on the schedule. So there’s a lot of games, a short amount of time, people getting tired, it’s going to be an intense battle.”

Hunger continued, “A lot of teams here have one really good star player, and historically, we have had difficulty dealing and neutralizing that one star player. But if our team can actually step up, do the right things, neutralize that star player, it’s going to be a very very good and fun time.”

Andover’s overarching goal is to earn a position on the podium, therefore validating the team’s hard work.

“Just to get on the podium would be super nice, just to win our first game and then really show them ‘this is what we are made of.’ We have a great team and just to be able to showcase that, because we have had so many close games that just haven’t worked out in our favor. This time is really our time to shine, so it’s going to be great,” said Deveau.

The team will travel to the tournament with fourteen players, a reduction from the usual team of twenty-five, in whose abilities the coaches feel most confident, according to Deveau. At practice this week, the team of fourteen has been focused and efficient and is looking to stay energized throughout the weekend.

“Everyone is pretty excited at practice, and we’re going to have three hours in the car together, so I think the dynamic is going to be pretty exciting. We are all going to be pretty pumped to get out of the car and just really showcase our talent when we get there…. Even the coaches are super pumped, and I think [we’re] just going to have [to] let all of our energy go in the pool,” said Deveau.

The team will travel to Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., this Saturday.