Looking for a comeback after a 0-2 loss against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), Andover Boys Soccer’s 10-0 win against Cushing represented a statement of intensity and skill. Andover’s heavily rotated lineup maintained pressure on Cushing throughout the game, dynamically combining to repeatedly create scoring opportunities.
With a record of 8-2-1, NMH presented Andover with one of its greatest challenges yet. Despite finding many chances to score throughout, the game was ultimately decided in the two boxes, as Andover was unable to convert its chances.
“[The] atmosphere was definitely very intense, which is good. In the past few games, I’d say it’s been pretty lacking, it’s been going pretty slow. But we definitely brought it to NMH. The effort was there, I just thought we got unlucky in the end… We had a lot more chances at NMH, but one thing that really kind of defined the game was that they were able to finish their chances. In the past few games, we haven’t been as clinical I think as we’d like to be,” said Madge.
According to Paul Gichana ’25, Andover made a positive start to its game against NMH, combining passes to keep possession of the ball. The turning point of the game came in NMH’s first goal in the twelfth minute, where there was a significant drop in its energy.
“I think at the beginning of the game, we started off really well. We were pressing and we were moving the ball around them a lot. But I think as the game continued, and they scored their first goal, it really affected us, so it really brought us back. However, we still kept playing and working hard,” said Gichana.
Andover’s build-up was best exemplified by Zane Matraji’s ’24 near miss in the first half. After progressing the ball into NMH’s half and maintaining possession, Alex Torrens ’24 spotted Matraji, whose shot bounced off the crossbar.
“I would definitely say some moments in our game was in the first half, we built out of the back really well and progressed into their half and then we kept the ball really well and Alex Torrens found Zane who took a shot and hit the crossbar, so we were very close to scoring and we built out the back really well, just a lot of strong passes and a great team effort for what almost could have been a nice goal,” said Madge.
Paglicua emphasizes that NMH’s goals came in large part due to Andover’s loss of focus at times.
“Some plays that stood out for negative reasons were their goals. [We] were just kind of a little bit too relaxed in those moments, and that’s kind of how we allowed ourselves to be scored on,” said Paglicua.
Prior to Andover’s victory against Cushing, Pagliuca highlighted the importance of protecting the 18-yard box as well as being more vocal on the defense. He added that fluidity on the offense was one aspect on which Andover worked on offense.
“I think going forward, defensively, we need to contain and defend our 18 [yard box] a little bit better than we have been… It’s been difficult for us all season [to defend] set pieces and I think being a little more communicative in those areas of the pitch, having more unity in those areas, clearing the ball and anticipating a bit more together. Offensively, I think we can be a little more fluid in our movement off the ball,” said Pagliuca.
With an overwhelming victory of 10-0 against Cushing, Andover will head into its game against Deerfield this weekend on a positive note. The game served as a boost to Andover’s confidence as many players were able to find time on the pitch.
“Overall I think the game went really well this afternoon. As a whole, the team played really strongly. We moved the ball really well, we possessed really well and we created chances. My biggest takeaway from today’s game was we were able to play a lot of our players in today’s game, we were able to cycle through a lot of substitutions… It was a great win and I think definitely got us back on the winning mindset and back on track as we head into the difficult game against Deerfield this weekend,” said Pagliuca.
Andover Boys Soccer looks forward to facing Deerfield this Saturday at home.
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