Penetrating Choate’s defensive line, Josh Park ’22 delivered a through ball to Ellis Denby ’24, where he scored his 4th goal of the season and the first of the game. Denby had another goal that game, securing the win, and giving Andover its second of the season. The momentum carried to the team’s next game, where it took another 2-0 win against Pingree. Andover’s record now sits at 3-3-2.
Denby noted that with its losses to Taft and Loomis Chaffee behind it, the team was excited to get out on the field and give its best effort.
Denby said, “The season has been kind of rough, and the losses against Taft and Loomis set us back. We knew that [Pingree] was a great team, but not at the level of Loomis or Taft. We went in excited to show what we could do, that we could put shots on target and score good goals. We had a hungry mentality to win, and to also play our game. Oftentimes this season we have played the other team’s game. Today was our chance to play our game and have fun. Sometimes people get frustrated, and the energy isn’t too positive, which causes us to make more mistakes. Today, the energy was radiant and we were happy to just get out there and play.”
According to Denby, Andover did just that; the team had a high level of energy and played as it desired. The drills rehearsed in practice, focused on and off-the-ball movement, were reflected in the game.
“We kept possession of the ball the whole game, in a 60-40 percent ratio. In soccer, that is a huge difference. We dominated the game, not only in our backline but also in our midfield. We kept the ball for basically the whole game, and in their half. Attacking-wise for them, they didn’t have many chances: one or two shots on goal, and our defense was solid there. Our midfield was solid in winning balls, and our attackers were solid in getting those balls towards and into the net,” said Denby.
Gio Pagliuca ’23, who scored both goals against Pingree, both believed the team came out ready to play on Wednesday and had the high energy during the first half that they desired. However, Denby and Paglucia also noted how things took a negative turn in the second half, as complacency took a toll on the team’s effort.
Pagliuca said, “Today, [Wednesday,] we started off strong. We came out fast and played at the level that we know we can play at. Towards the second half, after we had already scored twice, our level and speed of play dropped a bit. Pingree is a Nepsac Class-C opponent, whereas we played against Nepsac Class-A opponents recently (Loomis and Taft). The difference in the name of the ranking and division caused our level of play to drop since we didn’t take them as seriously at one point. I think we started strong but we didn’t maintain that high speed of play throughout the whole game.”
The team hopes to apply the tactical and technical work it put in during practices this week in their game this Friday against St. Paul’s, a Nepsac Class-A team, according to Pagliuca.
“We know [St. Paul’s] is a good opponent, and they are going to come out with a lot of energy. We need to understand and come out with an equal amount of or greater energy than them, and [we have talked all week about how] that starts in practice. We need to practice how we play. We have to make sure to bring our best, play with energy, and bring competitiveness starting at practice. That will translate to the game,” said Pagliuca.
The team will look to improve to four wins against St. Paul’s on Friday.