Boys Volleyball Rallies Against Crosstown Rivals

Stanley Yu ’23 spikes the ball with the team covering behind him.

Sam Rodgers ’23 and Henry Zhao ’23 jump up for the block.

Despite being down 21-13 in the second set to Andover High School, Andover Boys Volleyball scored 12 points in a row to secure the set, tying the overall score to 1-1. In the final points of the game, Henry Zhao ’23 scored four aces in a row, leading Andover to a 3-1 win on Wednesday. 

Andover came with the victory on Wednesday after a tough 3-2 loss to Methuen High School on Monday. To rebound from the loss, Zhao noted that the team had to work on recovering quicker from their little mistakes on the court. 

“We need better communication. When we lose multiple points in a row, it’s tough to be optimistic but we have to. We have to work on that. Other key takeaways include defensive services. If we’re able to get it to Eddie [Lou ’24], our setter, we’ll be able to play more consistently. We have a lot more to practice,” said Zhao.

While the team may need more time to match each other’s style on the court, there are few communication issues off the court, according to Arthur Wu ’25. Wu, a new member of the team, mentioned the positive reinforcement he receives when around the team. 

“I think it was very easy to integrate into the volleyball team because everyone was always there for me during the lost points and faulty receives in practice. This has made us extremely close and our team bonding events like icing, stretching, and trips have definitely also helped,” said Wu.

ND Nwaneri ’24 described the celebrations he often organizes to lift up his team members. Whether it be imitating a favorite player or marveling at a teammate’s skill, the players on the sidelines are doing their best to keep the energy high, according to Nwaneri. 

“My favorite thing to do on the bench is to coordinate celebrations. We have one where whenever someone gets a big hit, someone goes on the ground and we administer CPR to them. When someone aces, we hit the Ronaldo Siu,” said Nwaneri.

According to Zhao, maintaining energy has been a point of emphasis for the team this season. Zhao reflected on how momentum can often swing both ways in a game, such as in the game against Methuen High School.

“Energy is one of the most important things with us. When we are excited and motivated to play, we always play pretty well. In the beginning, even in the second and third sets, I felt like I didn’t bring enough energy to the team. Sometimes we were not communicating. We would get scored on point after point for a couple rounds. Once we get a crucial turnaround point and the momentum starts coming it lets everyone play better,” said Zhao. 

According to Nwaneri, one standout player this year has been Zhao, who has flourished as a middle blocker. Additionally, Zhao has played a large role as a server. 

“Whenever Henry would go up to hit, because Henry is just so tall, he jumps up so high and then he just slams it down in their face. And they can’t do anything. The bench goes crazy and the fans go crazy. Henry’s four straight aces were amazing… No one got a good pass off of any of them. And that final one, jump serve, top spin, so fast, so hard,” said Nwaneri.

Coming off a New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) title in the 2021-2022 season, the team is focused on having another successful season ahead. Wu appreciates the grit and determination that will be needed to have a run at being repeat NEPSAC champions. 

“We have one final goal. To win NEPSAC and bring home another trophy. Our hard work and positive attitude during practice will play a huge part in that,” said Wu.

Andover Boys Volleyball will open their official season on Saturday against Choate.