Andover All-Gender Ultimate Frisbee’s comeback ultimately fell just short in a close affair Wednesday afternoon. After Concord-Carlisle started aggressively, going on a strong scoring streak, Andover was able to pull some points back before half-time. However, the lead was too large for Andover to return from, resulting in a 7-11 loss and 0-2 record so far
Andover’s resiliency was in part sparked by a key timeout by Coach Hoenig. Everett Woo ’25 recalled the value of being able to take a break and reset the team’s mindset.
“In the first half, we were getting beat pretty badly, they went on a scoring streak. Our coach called a timeout. We all came together, huddled in a circle. We centered ourselves in that moment, taking deep breaths, then went back out there and won a couple of points,” said Everett.
While the start of this season has been rough, the team’s leaders have been focused on areas to improve. Co-Captain Linus Law ’24 saw several key takeaways, particularly on the defensive side.
“Concord-Carlisle threw a zone defense at us early on and it caught us off-guard a bit, but it was valuable experience and we ended up beating it more often than not. Zone defenses were a big problem for us last year, so I’m glad we were able to meet it and make the mistakes now instead of at NEPSULS. Also, on defense, we learned to stay on the force side and not commit too hard to their cuts back into the stack. They were doing that to shake us off, and that’s how they started their scoring streak. But Carlos noticed it and we got a lot better about it,” said Law.
While still maintaining 11 returners from last year’s roster, Ultimate lost a few valuable seniors from last season. However, new leaders have stepped forward and earned the admiration of players on the team, according to Law.
“The captains Michael and Charles have been great leaders, they’ve been giving advice to all of us and organizing our plays on the field. But Carlos has also been a leader this year, sharing the stuff he notices about what the other team is doing so we can be better prepared to counter them,” said Law.
Additionally, the team has put an emphasis on team building thus far this season through pre-game rituals. According to Fumi Kimura ’25, everyone is able to contribute to a more cohesive environment by bringing more energy.
“It’s eye-opening—I never knew Ultimate was like this. I love the vibe. Everyone is incredibly supportive and patient with my mistakes. At every game, our captain Charles does this chant that hypes everyone up. Our managers write songs during games that we perform to our opponents at the end. Coach Hoenig does this “Focus Circle,” where we take three deep breaths to focus on the present and let go of feelings outside Ultimate. Everyone’s so passionate,” said Kimura.
According to Woo, chemistry is one of the most important parts of the team’s success this year. This includes encouraging good sportsmanship throughout the team.
“We want to improve chemistry, have fun, and uphold the spirit of the game, which is a big thing in Ultimate. It’s just the idea of being a good sport, both on and off the field, so whether it be when it’s cheering on the other team when they make a good play, or cheering on our team when we make a really good play. Overall, our season goal is definitely to win NEPSULs, which is the New England Prep School Ultimate League,” said Woo.
The team has managed to maintain good spirits and high effort no matter the situation. In fact, Kimura cited the grittiness of the team as one of the attributes that sets this team apart from the rest.
“Our spirit and tenacity, for sure. Everyone gives their all during practice. I remember that game against Newton North, where we came back from a three-point lead. This game, too. I think we dealt well with their defense, which we struggled with at first,” said Kimura.
Andover hosts Beverly High School this Friday.