Andover Boys Volleyball defeated Northfield Mount Hermon 3-0 on Saturday and Phillips Exeter Academy 3-1 on Wednesday, extending the team’s win streak to four.
NMH displayed impressive athleticism, but Andover dominated the team through skill and communication, according to Inti Stephenson ’25. Stephenson credited the team’s hitters for their offensive plays and strategic placement of balls.
“A lot of their weaknesses came with technical stuff like passing and strategic things, like when they’re out of system on a play and they don’t know where to pass a free ball and communication. And I say like that’s something on our Varsity team that we’re really good at. We have a lot of athletic hitters. But overall, our team strengths during the game were our communication and our ability to just always place the ball where we needed to place it,” said Stephenson
William Suh ’24 credited middle Arthur Wu ’25 and setter Eddie Lou ’24 for the win against NMH.
“I think everyone was playing really well overall. The hitters were converting at a really high rate. Defense was pretty solid. I want to give a shout out to Arthur for making a lot of kills and Eddie obviously, he always does a great job of giving us the balls. I think that’s why we won,” said Suh.
Stephenson highlighted Suh’s placement on one of his kills.
“Will, he’s our opposite spiker, and he was set by Eddie on one of the plays, and he just had this beautiful zero block hit… It was just this amazing cross court shot that just had pure speed and power,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson noted an area for improvement was consistent serving. Leading up to the Exeter game, the team used drills to help serve better under pressure.
“The one trouble though that we did have was serves … Whenever we were in a deficit and we needed to make the serve, we would constantly miss them after an important point. And that would kind of give life to this team that really was not on our level,” said Stephenson.
ND Nwaneri ’24 recalled how well the team played as a unit against Exeter. He highlighted the team’s chemistry when defending.
“Our Exeter game was great. Coach was telling us about how last year was the first time we beat Exeter in like 5-10 years and this year, we beat them twice in one season. So he was just emphasizing how awesome that was… Our defense really stood out that game. It was incredible from our back row, especially in the first set. It felt like I was watching one giant organism play. Like everyone was just so attuned to the game and to each other,” said Nwaneri.
The 2022 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Championship (NEPSAC) was the first time Andover had beaten Exeter in recent years. The team was looking forward to a rematch against Exeter again after winning 3-1 earlier in the season, according to Stephenson.
“Every time we play Exeter [and] we win, we just feel great because previous years, Exeter has just been so dominant in the Boys Varsity league for Phillips… But today, our first set, we came out swinging. We were insane. Everyone was pumped, the energy was there… We lost [a set] because [of] silly mistakes… there [was] miscommunication on the free ball or there was no movement on the defense for attack… [But] we brought the energy back towards the earth to win everything back,” said Stephenson.
Andover’s final game of the season against Choate Rosemary Hall will finalize its seeding in this year’s NEPSAC tournament. According to Stephenson, the team feels prepared for its last stretch before the championship.
“We’re really confident that we’re going to beat them and we’ll secure our spot for first seed. But right now it looks like we’re first seed in the league, but then again our coach told us that… it’s good to have a little bit of nervousness… So [it’s] always good to be cautious about who you’re playing and no matter what the ranking is,” said Stephenson.
Andover Boys Volleyball will host Choate Rosemary Hall on Saturday.