In the first two games of his Andover career, Marek Deveau ’23 scored a total of 11 points, netting seven points against Loomis Chaffee to propel Andover Boys Water Polo to a 14-9 victory. On Saturday, the team lost both to Hopkins, with a score of 9-14, and to Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday, bringing its record to 1-2.
Saturday’s doubleheader was the team’s first time playing together in two years. According to Co-Captain James Isenhower ’22, the team focused on rebuilding skills and learning from this initial experience.
Isenhower said, “We didn’t worry about speculating too much on scores or anything like that. We just had a blank slate going in because, again, it’s been two years… Every team has reset. They’ve all had their varsity squads graduate [last] year since most [players] are Seniors or Juniors.”
Despite many players being new to the sport, the team naturally bonded through the many team dinners and tough conditioning drills during the weeks of preseason. The team heavily anticipated the season openers, according to Co-Captain Sean Meng ’22.
“We were bumping ‘Love Story’ and Taylor Swift [on the bus], so it was a really happy mood… In the pool as [the game] started, it definitely got more serious, but what was good was that our bonding throughout the past few weeks; it came into the pool as well. We were communicating throughout,” said Meng.
The lack of playing time and competition in the last two years led to setbacks for the team in its first game against Hopkins according to Sam Lee ’24.
Lee said, “Every time we got scored on, we started swimming slower, started not passing as well, and getting lazy on defense. I think morale just went down after the first game.”
According to Isenhower, however, the team managed to settle into a rhythm for its game against Loomis, and players made more offensive and defensive contributions.
“We focused a little less on speed, more on setting up because speed was good to start. But in the long term we had to focus more on setting up on offense and getting everyone ready to pass the ball around and creating opportunities to shoot,” said Isenhower.
In preparation for future games, Isenhower believes that the team should aim for better physicality and endurance. Additionally, the team has high hopes for the season ahead, according to Meng.
Isenhower said, “I think conditioning is going to play a big thing. We focus a lot on conditioning here mostly because the majority of our team are swimmers already. We have good speed in the water, and that’s something we have worked on a lot.”
“We really want to beat Exeter… We’re hoping to make the Final Four Tournament. It might be a little tough this year, a lot of stiff competition, but that’s one of the goals as well,” added Meng.
Andover will face Deerfield and Westminster next Saturday.