Andover Boys Volleyball swept both Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) and Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) 3-0 on Saturday to win the New England Preparatory School Athletic School Council (NEPSAC) Championship for the second year in a row.
Entering the tournament as the No.1 seed, Andover played NMH in the Semifinals and Exeter in the Finals of the tournament, with just an hour between the two games. Eddie Lou ’24 commended the team for its efforts in the doubleheader despite the limited recovery time.
“We all played our best volleyball this weekend. This weekend we had to do two games back to back. And that was unique in a sense there. We were worried about conserving energy in the first one, the prep for the final match, but that didn’t really become an issue because we swept both teams pretty efficiently. I think everybody was just on point that day,” said Lou.
Co-Captain Sam Rodgers ’23 shared a similar sentiment to Lou, with the tournament also serving as the pinnacle of the team’s 10-1 season.
“We played together really well. It was probably our best two games, and Eddie Lou moved the ball around really well, he was awesome. And we responded to adversity really well, we got down a couple of times and just responded really well from that. I think we just stayed together and trusted each other,” said Rodgers.
In the regular season, the team had already defeated both NMH and Exeter twice, each time by two sets or more. Despite Andover facing both teams for the third time in the tournament, nerves still got a hold of players, according to Inti Stephenson ’25.
“We were losing it, but our coach was trying to tell us it’s okay if we lose the set because we’re ahead and we’re the stronger team. And so we were able to internalize that. And so when it was game time, and we were down, we kind of thought, ‘Okay, let’s just play how we normally play. If you lose a set, it’s fine because there’s more and we’re dominating,’” said Stephenson.
The past four NEPSAC Championship Finals have been battles between Andover and Exeter; however, last year was the first time Andover succeeded the Big Red. Stephenson mentioned the importance of the team’s serves in the dominant sweep over Exeter this year.
“So we have a lot of strong servers when they’re hot. So there’s two serves: jump float and topspin. And a lot of our strong servers, they’ll mess up a lot and then they’ll start getting their really strong ones in. But the problem is point imbalance. And what we’ve been trying to work on all season is trying to work up to our strong serves,” said Stephenson.
Lou appreciated the support and dedication that his teammates maintained over the course of the season. According to Lou, every teammate has sacrificed small parts of the game to benefit the greater team, and Saturday’s result served as a reward to their non sibi behavior.
“Throughout the whole season, it was mostly the starters who played and so every single member sort of had to sacrifice some play time or sometimes being subbed out when they weren’t playing well. I think everybody really owned up to that because we love this sport so much that we were just willing to do anything to contribute to the team. And so just that aspect of teamwork of putting your own desires aside for the greater good was just the biggest takeaway for me,” said Lou.
Can Andover Boys Volleyball make it a three-peat?
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