Boys Soccer Faces Two Consecutive Ties Despite Strong Ball Possession

Zane Matraji ’24 is one of three co-captains for Andover Boys Soccer.

Andover Boys Soccer conceded two second-half goals to St. Paul’s, leading to a 2-2 tie. Another draw against High Mowing followed, bringing Andover’s record to 5-1-3. Following the two draws, the team is intent on preparing for their major upcoming game against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH). 

Approaching full time with a 2-0 lead at home against St. Paul’s, Andover Boys Soccer fell to the pressure that its opponent had sustained throughout the final 20 minutes, and conceded an equalizing goal. Jonathan Bu ’26 described the team’s progression throughout the game.

“I think we did well passing wise, in the first half we had a lot of good movement, good runs from the front line… we scored two goals, they really didn’t touch the ball. [In the] second half we had a lot of chances, we were still dominating but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, and I think that ultimately in the last 20 minutes they started crawling their way back, fighting, and they scored two goals,” said Bu.

Wednesday’s game played out in a similar fashion, where the team tied 1-1 against High Mowing due to a last-minute goal allowance. Ryan Lam ’24 noticed the team’s difficulty in keeping possession of the ball in High Mowing’s half, preventing the team from creating scoring opportunities. 

“One of our biggest problems is bringing the ball up. Usually we try to pass and keep passing around the midfield. We try to hit our attackers…One thing we did really well was not trying to be too elegant with all the passing: we just hit the target,” said Lam.

Following the consecutive draws, the team faced a lack of motivation and confidence. However, Lam recounted an uplifting speech made by Head Coach Edwin Escobar after Wednesday’s game that gave the team a new perspective on the rest of the season.  

“Today was a friendly game in preparation for arguably one of our biggest games this Saturday. At the beginning of the game, our coach said we haven’t played our best. We’ve had some really high moments in our season. There’s also been some low moments, but he said that we need to put that all in the past, and our season starts now. Seven games left, just consider that we have a seven game season, we really need to focus on the upcoming NMH game,” said Lam.

Co-Captain Zane Matraji ’24 focused on the sense of growth that he hopes to see this season. He views the upcoming game as an opportunity for the team to improve upon its stamina before higher-pressure games in the latter half of the season. 

“I’m looking forward to building off of Saturday’s game. We faltered in the second half, and that allowed the other team to get back into it. I’m looking forward to using this game as a chance to build on that, and hopefully our team can show some development, and we’ll come back a stronger side than we were on the weekend,” said Matraji.

For many players, games impose immense pressure that can hinder their performance. One way that Lam, alongside other team members, centers himself before-high pressure games is finding solace in the comradery of his team. 

“One thing that really helps me prepare myself is the comradery between our teammates. I personally think that BVS is like a family. Everyone supports each other, everyone hypes [up] each other. Even though we have our highs and lows, everyone [still] supports each other, and when that happens, that helps me mentally get into the game,” said Lam.

Andover Boys Soccer will play at NMH on Saturday and host Cushing on Wednesday. 

Editor’s Note: Ryan Lam is the Subscriptions Manager for The Phillipian.