With another save from goalie Ben Garozzo ’23 and active communication across the field, Andover Boys Lacrosse clinched a 12-7 win in a competitive match against Holderness. With their 11-2 triumph over St. Paul’s on Saturday, the team has extended their winning streak to five. The team’s record now stands at 6-4.
According to Jack Pearlson ’23, the team struggled in the beginning of the season due to a lack of team chemistry. However, its sixth game against NMH marked a turning point as the players all came to understand their commitment to one another as teammates. He believes that the two recent games were the two best of the season yet.
“I think they’ve been our two best team wins of the season…Overall, we weren’t playing super well in the first couple of games of the season, and we really had a turning point after the third or fourth game where we started. We told ourselves ‘all right, we’re going to buckle down and this is going to be here.’ I think the last two games really reflected our commitment to each other to be really good teammates. Everyone sort of did their part and it all came together in the end perfectly,” said Pearlson.
Charlie Ferguson ’23 claims that St. Paul’s was a less challenging opponent compared to Holderness; the latter required the team to focus in every moment of the game to clinch the win.
“I think Holderness was a more competitive game and a better game since it was really close. There was a lot of energy on the sideline. St. Paul’s… was a weaker team, so I think it didn’t test us as much, but I’d definitely hold it as a highlight of the week,” said Ferguson.
Nevertheless, the team had some major improvements which eventually allowed them to clinch the win against Holderness. Pearlson claims that the team was able to regain momentum rather than allowing their opponents to take the lead after getting scored two goals in just two minutes.
Pearlson said, “I think it was in the third quarter, we were up by seven to four. [Then] they put in two [goals] in like two minutes. And that’s just a point in the game where maybe in the past we would have sort of let them take the lead or the game would have gotten out of hand. But today we really sort of dug down and were able to get the momentum back in our favor…that was a key moment where [we were like], all right, this is our game and we’re going to take this one.”
In addition to the shift in their mental game, Pearlson claims that the tremendous versatility of the skill in the team allowed for the favorable result.
“I would say any of our attack had a tremendous game. That’s why the result went the way it did. All of our attack men played extremely well today and they [did all they] could to help the team out. I also think that our midfielders defense were very locked down in the middle of the field and in…riding and clearing [the ball] and making sure we actually have an opportunity to score on the other end. So I think everyone played super well today and that’s why the game went the way it did,” said Pearlson.
Ferguson shares Pearlson’s sentiment, claiming that each and every player on the team has contributed to the favorable outcomes of the games. He specifically highlighted Garozzo, the goalkeeper, and John Bainbridge ’24.
“I’d say Ben Garozzo recently has been playing lights out and saving almost 60 percent of shots shot at him, so I think he’s really stepped up recently. John Bainbridge, a long stake midfielder, has also done really well and been a crucial member of the team on defense and getting ground balls and pushing it in transition,” said Ferguson.
According to Pearlson, the team’s recent performances on the field have reflected the “little things” that the team has been working on consistently in practice.
“We’ve been working on the little things in practice, we’re not talking about big things here. I mean, like catching and throwing ground balls and communicating on [those] balls. I think that’s really been indicative of the way things have gone in the past two games…we’ve really been picking up the talk on the ground balls. Sometimes we’re more consistent and then once you build those little things which are sort of like the foundation of other things, [the other things] will come along the way,” said Pearlson.
The team has also been focusing on both offensive and defensive strategies, something that Ferguson hopes the team will be able to utilize in its upcoming game against Deerfield. He also wishes for the team to lock down every possible opportunity to score.
“We have been working on two defenses, one being a zone…then focusing on when we should shift in demand versus shifting into a zone and making those crucial adjustments. On offense, [the team has been practicing] off ball work, making sure we’re getting a lot of assisted goals and capitalizing on those opportunities off ball. Obviously, we’re going to be tested against Deerfield. We know our potential and we’re confident, but we really need to focus on focusing and locking in these next days of practice. We really need to capitalize on every small opportunity and be all near perfect on Saturday,” said Ferguson.
Andover will look to extend its win streak to six as it travels to Deerfield on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Charlie Ferguson ’23 is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.