According to Adam Hassanein ’22, the team prepared for the high stakes and energy of the competition given the rivalry of Andover/Exeter weekend.
“Leading up to the game, we were just working on simulating the game-like atmosphere we’d be playing in. Obviously, Exeter is a very hostile environment and considering it was A/E, we had to be ready for the hecklers and the crazy environment,” said Hassanein.
The team focused on continuing to improve its defense and communication, according to Wang.
Wang said, “Something that went really well was communication, especially in the midfield and defense. We were able to move the ball around pretty well from the defense all the way up to the attack.”
Although Andover wasn’t able to leave Exeter with a win, the team competed hard and left it all on the field for its last game of the season, according to Wang and Co-Captain Connor Ding ’20.
“We knew that Exeter was going to be a pretty evenly matched team because we both had similar records and both won [against] certain teams [and] lost against certain teams. It was a pretty even game—both [teams] played pretty well and both teams were pretty nervous because of A/E and the overall atmosphere affected people’s play,” said Wang.
Ding said, “Obviously we wanted the win, it was our last game of the season so we wanted to end the right way. It was a really good game, unfortunately it ended in a tie but we all put forth a good effort. It was great that everyone got on the field and we all made contributions.”
The game ended when the referee blew the whistle during a potential Andover scoring opportunity, causing some frustration and disappointment for the team and fans watching, according to Hassenein.
Hassenein said, “Of course, the ending was very disappointing with the referee ending our season. Thirty seconds, not even, probably five seconds—the game is pretty much over. It’s a goal kick and the goalie whiffs the ball and passes it right into our forward, [Tade Omoniwa ’21]’ s feet. He’s on goal and right as he’s about to finish the ball, the ref blew the whistle. Obviously that was very disappointing but the game, overall, was very exciting.”
This season, Andover was able to create a family environment that Wang and Ding hope will continue into next year so that the team’s close dynamic can develop early on.
“It’s sad that I won’t be on the team next season but I think it’s going to be important for the Uppers on the team this year to step up and be leaders next year,” said Ding.
Wang said, “This year I am really proud of developing a connection that we formed on the team. I feel that this wasn’t as present on last year’s team, but this year we are more like a family… [We] have fun, and we all like to tease each other and make each other laugh and things like that. It is just a really close environment and that’s what I [hope will] continue for next year’s team.”