Small Setback, Major Comeback: Boys Tennis Dominates Exeter Rivals

Chase Burke ’25 and Ben Shin ’26 were doubles partners against Exeter.

Andover Boys Tennis No. 1 Seed and Co-Captain Ethan Wong ’23 prepares to return the ball.

Following a tight 3-4 loss to Groton last Friday, Andover Boys Tennis was able to display a powerful performance against rivals Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) on Wednesday. A sweep in doubles alongside comebacks from Ben Shin ’26 and Chase Burke ’25 in singles led the team to a 6-1 win.

One important factor in Wednesday’s win was the energy of the team, according to Burke. The team was able to use the momentum from a strong start to generate positive results. 

“Energy started low, maybe because of the gloomy weather, but as the team stepped up to win all three doubles matches, the energy level as a whole rose. We had momentum going into the singles matches and it showed in the results,” said Burke. 

Even the little things, such as words of encouragement, can swing the tide of a game. Kevin Niu ’25 described how the unity of the team allowed the players to feed off each other’s energy.

“Energy not only helps you individually but also as a team. When we cheer and support each other, it helps everyone with their next point. Supportive statements such as ‘right here’ and ‘love that’ are simple but effective ways to energize everyone. It is hard to explain, but when someone next to you brings energy, it travels to you and helps you play better. When I see my Captain or teammate yelling and cheering, it helps me focus for the next point and the rest of the match” said Niu.

Despite the individual nature of the sport, the team has bonded due to the amount of time teammates spend with each other. Shin highlighted how the team is always together, on and off the court. 

“What makes this team so special is our ability to connect with each other. All of us are able to hang out and just chill. This relationship has been built over long car rides, team meals, and staying at a hotel together. Also, we all support each other immensely. Even when we are losing, we try to bring each other back up, yelling and cheering for each other. We just have a great dynamic as a team,” said Shin. 

A strong team culture has led to a strong season, with Wednesday’s matches bringing the team’s record to 5-4. The ability to win matches through the lower seeds has been a game-changer, according to Niu.

“Our biggest strength is the depth of our lineup. While many teams might only have a strong starting three, we have a complete lineup that can change overnight. The potential for everyone on the team is sky-high, we just need to perform to that level,” said Niu.

Recently, the team has found new ways to improve. Shin highlighted the benefits of working with some expert advice from the Director of Manchester Athletic Club — a tennis club based in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. 

“We just started working with tennis pro Francisco Montoya. He is helping us tune up our game and train us for the rest of the season. He is a great coach and was in charge of a huge tennis club in New England. It is great to be working with him,” said Shin. 

Moving forward, the team hopes to continue shining in doubles play. As displayed in Wednesday’s match, a strong start in doubles can play a major role in the final outcome.

“We can definitely improve in doubles. The doubles point is huge for gaining an advantage, and we need to do a better job of focusing from the start. Other than that, everyone needs to play their game and be confident in their ability,” said Burke.

Andover Boys Tennis hosts Choate on Saturday and Hoosac School on Wednesday.

Editor’s Note: Kevin Niu ’25 is a Digital Editor for The Phillipian.