Boys Soccer Takes Win in Intense Game Against KUA

Garrett Holman ’24 fights an opposing player for the ball.

With 23 minutes remaining in the game, Andover potted its first and only goal of the game. Kimball Union Academy was unable to respond, giving Andover its seventh shutout of the season. The team’s record now stands at 8-3-4. 

Michael Hlavaty ’23 described the defensive and offensive contributions of Nick Anastos ’23. Hlavaty also highlighted Oliver Buckhoff ’24 and Ellis Denby ’24, who maintained composure against a persistent KUA squad. 

“Our PG center back Nick Anastos stood out to me because he came off the bench in the second half from being injured. He had a great defensive performance. Didn’t let anything get through or behind him, and he had some really great throw-ins which resulted in a goal. Also, I think Oliver Buckhoff stood out as well and Ellis Denby. They both kept their composure against some scrappy KUA opponents and had some very skilled moves,” said Hlavaty. 

 Jonathan Bu ’26 noted how the team’s formation and diligence is what allowed it to find the back of the net in such a competitive match. Seizing its opportunities was crucial to the team’s success, according to Bu.

Bu said, “It was very crucial because it was the turning point in the game…We always had three guys in the back line and so with that, they only had one striker and we just played around them and were very patient. We would just take the opportunity when it came, but we wouldn’t rush or force anything. And I think we were waiting for the right moment, and it came to us when we scored the goal.” 

The team had to adjust to KUA’s unexpected playing style. KUA left the midfield open and pressured closer to the 18-yard box which caught Andover by surprise, according to Bu. 

Bu said, “They played a formation where they sat back a lot, they didn’t press us, they sat back. So, in our practices we changed it a little bit because what we’re used to doing is having high pressing teams pressed up on us. So, during half time, our coach talked to us, and we changed it up a bit by moving our players up a little bit, to our advantage.”

Hlavaty described KUA’s aggressive defense, which prevented Andover from obtaining many chances. In the second half of the game, KUA players began receiving multiple red and yellow cards.

“It was pretty calm in the first half, KUA was playing very defensively, so it was a bit frustrating for us because we couldn’t break their lines. Then in the second half, it started to get a little bit scrappy. The KUA players were very physical, resulting in a red card and a lot of yellow cards,” said Hlavaty.

Despite having difficulty finding the back of the net, Paul Gichana ’25 praised the team for its persistence. Andover was able to penetrate KUA’s defense more in the second half and control the game’s tempo. 

“I think overall during the first half we maintained possession of the ball. We created a lot but we couldn’t get any goals during the first half. But, in the second half we continued trying to create opportunities to score and at the end of the game we got a goal,” said Gichana. 

But emphasized the high energy of the game. Heading into A/E, the team is looking to focus on maintaining its offensive pressure. 

Bu said, “It was very high energy, we had quite a big crowd for a midday game. So lots of cheering, it was a very interesting game…[For future,] we have to focus more on high press because I think that’s really tough for everyone. That’s usually how soccer is played with a high press and less time for the back line to really get the ball out. And we’ve been practicing that all season, but I think we’ve got to continue practicing that for A/E.”

Andover will face Exeter on Saturday.