Exeter, Andover live up to the lore once more

The longest-running high school rivalry in America serves up drama and heroics in 142nd year.

Brian Muldoon
November 9, 2019
Girls volleyball game at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Exeter finished off a perfect girls volleyball season with a straight-sets win over Andover on Saturday. 

Crisp November temperatures, noisy crowds and fierce competition — all the ingredients for a successful Exeter/Andover clash were on hand Saturday as the two schools met on the playing field for the 142nd year.

The visitors left Exeter with three wins and a draw, while Big Red completed a perfect volleyball season and seized a pair of New England cross-country crowns in Massachusetts. 

The day's most dramatic contest was the last, a 14-13 Andover victory in football at Phelps Stadium that was only decided when a long Exeter point-after attempt sailed wide with 16 seconds left. The loss extended Exeter's frustration to seven years and Andover's lead in the historic series to 74-54-10.

The day began with a back-and-forth girls soccer match that featured impressive first-half saves from both goalkeepers. Andover broke the deadlock early into the second half. Exeter had its best chance with under five minutes to go on a free kick by Alli Hanlon '21 from 25 yards out that sailed over the crossbar, and Andover escaped with a 1-0 victory. Big Red closes at 8-8-2.

Across South Campus, the Exeter girls volleyball team finished the regular season at 17-0 with a straight-sets win over its rival. Big Red seniors Angelle Diamond ’20 (14 kills), Annah Shaheen ’20 (11 kills) and Mia Glinn ’20 (seven kills) powered the offense in the sweep. Exeter awaits its draw for the first round of the NEPSAC Class A playoffs this Wednesday. Big Red will be the top seeds and be hunting for their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.

The boys varsity soccer team answered an Andover goal late in the first half when Jacob Gehron ’20 one-timed a left-footed strike from 22 yards out past the diving Andover goalie. Big Red would continue to hold possession and have the better scoring chances throughout the rest of the game but were unable to bury a winner as they two sides settled for a draw for the third time in four years. Exeter is 11-5-2. 

Andover’s varsity field hockey team got out to a fast start, scoring three times before halftime. After the break, the Big Red offense was able to generate some momentum with a flurry of corners in the opening minutes of the second half, but Exeter settled for a 3-0 defeat to close at 7-9.

A raucous crowd watched the varsity football game end the day. Trailing 14-7 with under two minutes to go, Big Red moved the ball down to the Andover 2 yard line when Justin Jameson ’20 found wide receiver Zeb Tilton ’20 on a halfback pass. Two plays later, Jameson plunged into the end zone with just 16 seconds left on the clock to cut the deficit to one. Big Red was flagged with a personal foul in the ensuing celebration, however, moving the point-after attempt back 15 yards. The try went wide, and Andover recovered the onside kicked before kneeling on the ball for a 14-13 win.

Cross-country, water polo shine

It was a better ending on the cross-country course for Big Red on Saturday, as both the Exeter girls and boys varsity teams claimed first-place finishes and New England championships in Northfield, Massachusetts. William Coogan ’20 placed second overall in the boys race with a time of 15:44, while Sophie Cohen ’22 and Gia Pisano ’21 claimed sixth and seventh place overall as they both crossed at 20:26 to pace the Exeter girls.

The girls' performance was dominant: Kaitlyn Flowers '22, Leila Herman '21 and Maddie Machado '20 finished eighth, 10th and 13th, respectively, to hand Big Red a 70-point win over runner-up Winsor. The Exeter boys' depth was the difference in their race, with six PEA runners finishing between 11th and 19th place separated by just 25 seconds. That left Big Red with 57 team points — 31 ahead of runner-up Andover.

The title for the girls is their second straight and third in the past four years, while the boys collected their first championship since the 2016 and their sixth in the past decade. The success is not only at the varsity level, as the boys JV squad, paced by winner Philip Horrigan ‘21, raced to its fifth straight first-place finish at Interschols. Kerstin Hyer ’21 was the first finisher in the girls JV race with a time of 21:58 to help Big Red place second overall.

The boys varsity water polo team was also away from campus as it opened up play in the Liquid 4 Championship Tournament at Greenwich, Connecticut. Third-seeded Exeter upset second-seeded Loomis Chaffee, 9-7, to advance to the championship match against Brunswick at 11 a.m. Sunday. Brunswick and Exeter split two meetings in the regular season.

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