Boys Tennis Surmounts Phillips Exeter Academy Following Loss Against Groton

Despite the absence of Andover’s number one seed and Co-Captain Ethan Wong ’23, Boys Tennis was able to clinch a 5-2 win against Phillips Exeter Academy. This result followed Andover’s first loss of the season last Friday, falling short 2-5 away against Groton. The team’s record now stands at 7-1.

According to Jeremy Liao ’24, the results of the matches against Groton were a product of unfortunate circumstances. He believes the absence of Co-Captain Kian Burt ’24 due to injury played a part in Andover’s loss.

“We knew Groton was going to be tough. We prepared hard during practice, but it wasn’t enough. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have Kian in because his back was [injured], but it was close. We have like two or three matches that went into a third set tiebreak. So honestly, if we had Kian, we probably could have won that,” said Liao.

Kevin Niu ’25 concurs; he claims that Groton was a much tougher opponent than Exeter. Although the match was decided by tight margins, he believes that Groton had a more balanced lineup, with players of higher levels of physical strength. 

“The Groton one was very close. We lost three tie breakers. [Exeter] felt much easier. [Groton’s] lineup was very balanced from one to six…They were obviously better, [as we can see] from the scoreline. Exeter’s players are built, but not as physically strong [compared to Groton]. Their technique was a little worse,” said Niu.

Co-Captain Alex Zhu ’23, though disappointed with the loss to Groton, praised the team for its performance and team spirit while away at Exeter.

Zhu said, “I think the team performed well, especially at Exeter, where people weren’t really cheering us on. We have to really find the spirit within us to cheer each other on, and I think we were all able to do that today.”

In addition to Burt’s absence on Friday, the team’s lineup was missing Wong, Andover’s first seed singles and doubles player, against Exeter. This resulted in a shifted line-up, with new partner combinations for the doubles matches. Zhu, along with Niu, highlight Eddie Wang ’24 for his perseverance in pushing through the number one singles match whilst experiencing full body cramps.

“I want to highlight Eddie because today he played the number one against Exeter. He played a really good match and his whole body started cramping and he still pushed through and finished the match, even though it was super painful,” said Zhu.

In addition to Wang’s performance, all three players highlighted Chase Burke ’25, who recently moved up from Varsity B to Varsity. Niu claims that Burke played impressively in both his singles and doubles match with Wang.

Niu said, “Today, Chase and Eddie played together for the first time. They seemed to be cruising. We’re still deciding if that could be a future doubles [pair]. Chase seemed pretty strong in both singles and doubles”

The team will next face Roxbury Latin, the only team that Andover failed to defeat last season. Liao has mixed feelings about the upcoming match, feeling nervous but yet comfortable being familiar with the team’s lineup.

“Our next game is against Roxbury Latin, which last year was the only team that we did not beat, which is tough but I think we’re pretty familiar with their lineup…all we can really do is pair and play it on Friday,” said Liao.

Andover looks to extend its record to 8-1 as it travels to Roxbury Latin on Friday.