Boys Soccer Looks For Win Over Exeter Following Last Year’s Loss

Co-Captain Zane Matraji ’24 fires the ball towards the net.

After a 3-1 loss to Phillips Exeter Academy last year, Andover Boys Soccer is looking for a win at Andover/Exeter with a more experienced squad. Head Coach Edwin Escobar stressed the importance of emotional preparation prior to and during the game to ensure smart playmaking.

“Our emotions got the best of us. I think a year later we’re better because of having that experience but we’re also better because we’ve had this whole time, this whole season, to develop and understand the importance of keeping our emotions in check during the game,” said Coach Escobar.

This year, with the team better equipped, Coach Escobar hopes that the high stakes of the game will not affect the team’s focus and composure. In previous seasons, the level of playing dropped significantly when players were underprepared for the emotional aspect of A/E, according to Coach Escobar. 

“Going up against Exeter it’s a different game. It’s a different game in the sense that it means a great deal to the players, to our community, to the players that at one point played for us. It means a lot to the program and because of that, it becomes a super emotional game where you just want to do your very best for yourself, for your family, for your community, for your school, and that can be really difficult to manage those emotions. I think that it’s something that we’re certainly keeping an eye on and making sure our players are emotionally prepared for that game,” said Coach Escobar.

Jonathan Bu ’26 emphasized the importance of heading into the game with mental clarity. 

Bu said, “I think it’s [the] speed of play. You always want to be quicker and more sharp. Not even just technically but just metally in the headspace. You want to be in the game, and you also want to see things quicker and more precisely.

The team is heading into A/E excited and ready for a competitive match. Coach Escobar noted the significance of the rivalry game. 

“When you think about Andover and Exeter, that’s always a super important game for us. Not just what it means for us postseason, but what it means in terms of the rivalry we have as schools, as institutions and the pride that we have for the jersey that we wear certainly is significant that day that we get to represent our school. We’re really excited. We’re looking forward to it,” said Coach Escobar.

Andover will face Exeter this Saturday at home.