Winning the first two sets with confidence, Andover Boys Volleyball dominated against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) on Wednesday, ending with a 3-0 sweep. Andover also swept Methuen High School 3-0 the previous Saturday.
Leading up to the game on Wednesday, the team worked on avoiding blocks, due to it being one of NMH’s biggest strengths. According to Inti Stephenson ’25, the team’s focus on blocks was what led to its dominant victory on Wednesday.
“NMH has one of the biggest blockers, and when you are dealing with a really tall double block it can be hard. All practice this entire week since Monday, we have been trying to practice how to get around double blocks, how to be more dominant, and also how to be more cautious if you are getting stuffed,” said Stephenson.
According to Arthur Wu ’25, the team also focused on taking advantage of any ball that comes off the block, which is called “recycling.” Wu views this as the key factor in sustaining momentum during a point.
“We worked on recycling the blocks and running plays off of them in order to develop our playing to an additional level. Recycling balls is very important because it keeps the point alive and challenges the other team at the same time,” said Wu.
Stephenson highlighted Henry Zhao ’23 as one of the standout players at Wednesday’s game. As a Senior, he also brings valuable leadership skills and a commanding presence to the team.
“I think Henry stood out today. He is the tallest player on the team and whenever he walks on the court he has a big presence. He is always there in the corner when we need a burst of energy and hits the ball really well. He is the most dominant on the court when it comes to attacks,” said Stephenson.
According to Wu, although the team swept the match, there was still room for improvement in its communication on the court. By increasing communication, the team can achieve better positioning and minimize its mistakes.
“I think the weakness was that we still didn’t get enough kills. We averaged out to double digit kills which wasn’t too bad. If we keep working on communication and positioning, I think that kills will be much more abundant in our next game,” said Wu.
Stephenson shared similar sentiments to Wu regarding the importance of teamwork. He feels that communication is crucial and should be emphasized both on and off the court. By working together effectively, he believes Andover will continue to thrive.
“Communication is something that we need to work on. One thing that occurs a lot in volleyball is when you have two players next to each other, and the ball is floating lightly and flying above you, but it is in between two players. Then you have to decide who is getting the ball or leaving it. We need these mistakes to stop happening in the future. We will continue to practice simple drills to get team chemistry back on track,” said Stephenson.
Andover Volleyball plays NMH again on Saturday and Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday.
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