Boys Soccer Ties Loomis Chaffee, Shuts Out Holderness

Co-Captain Ellis Denby ’24 dribbled the ball through Loomis Chaffee’s 18-yard-box and shot the ball into the goal on his second attempt to tie the score 1-1 against Loomis, taking its second tie of the season. The team later defeated Holderness 3-0 in its game on Wednesday, bringing the team’s record to 2-0-2.

“The [one moment in the game against Loomis] that sticks out to me is, obviously, our goal in the second half. It had been 0-1 for a while and then in the second half we switched the ball from the left side of the field to the right side; eventually the ball got to Raf [Kasumov ’23]’s feet, kind of on the right wing. He made a pretty nice move around the defender and passed behind into the 18-yard-box to Ellis, who took a shot which then got deflected where he got another chance at it and he whacked it back in,” said Co-Captain Gio Pagilucia ’23. 

The team employed varying offensive tactics according to Alex Torrens ’24. Altering its strategy allowed the team to target the opponents’ weaknesses throughout both of their games.

“Today, our offense was very possession heavy. Holderness sat back in a deep block so we really tried circulating it from side to side, trying to find those deep balls down the middle and trying to find the lines. Against Loomis, they did play a bit higher, they pressed higher, so our goal was to look for a bit more spacing behind, specifically to look for a place for Ellis on the wing because they had a younger player there, so we tried to channel in through Ellis,” Torrens said. 

At practices, the team worked on playing under pressure in preparation for their game against Holderness. The team noted its opposition’s playing style in order to practice most effectively.

Denby said, “We worked on playing under pressure and dealing with very intense pressure situations because Holderness plays a very high press tactic. In practice we did small-sided playing with a lot of pressure so we learned.”

According to Oliver Buckhoff ’24, an impressive highlight that stuck out was Co-Captain Zane Matraji ’24’s hat-trick against Holderness. Matraji’s efforts played a significant role in the team’s win.

“I was very impressed by Zane’s third goal today. He did a beautiful turn of the box and slotted it away with a beautiful finish and was really impressive. Zane scored three times today, he played really well,” said Buckhoff. 

According to Pagliuca, a crucial element that sets Andover apart from others is its hardworking nature and team spirit. Pagliuca also highlighted the team’s ability to control the ball for long periods of time during a game.

Pagilucia said, “One strength of the team is that we have hard workers; Alex Coman [’24], Garrett Holman [’24], Zane Matraji are just really, really hard workers. That’s something that sets us apart from some of the other teams we play. There’s definitely a lot of fight in us, a lot of hard-working players that are constantly pressing high and doing whatever they can to make the team win. I think other than that, on the more technical side of things, we are especially strong at our ball movement, how we possess, and how [we] are able to create chances to score.”

Andover Boys Soccer will host Taft this Saturday.