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Exeter, Andover fight to a draw

The 140th anniversary of the nation's oldest prep school rivalry finishes all square, with Big Red and Big Blue splitting four games and tying in a fifth.

Brian Muldoon
November 11, 2017
Behaylu Barry '19 dribbling down the field during a home game against Andover

Behaylu Barry '19 pushes into Andover territory. 

Close, competitive games have been a constant in the storied Exeter-Andover athletics rivalry since the first clash between the two schools in 1878, and that tradition held firm Saturday in Exeter. The day was filled with tight contests, with each side claiming two victories, suffering two defeats and settling for a draw.

Big Red took home wins in girls volleyball and boys soccer, while Big Blue earned triumphs in field hockey and football, and the two sides played to a 1-1 draw in a fun and exciting girls soccer match.

Girls soccer opened the bright, brisk day with a back-and-forth affair at Phelps Stadium. Abby Smith ’20 pushed Exeter in front in the first 10 minutes with a left-footed shot inside the left post. The score held at 1-0 in Big Red’s favor until Andover was able to break through with a goal with 15 minutes remaining in the match. Both sides had opportunities in the waning moments, but clutch defense kept the 1-1 result intact.

As the soccer teams played to a draw, the Exeter girls volleyball team avenged a 3-2 setback to Andover in October with a 3-0 sweep inside Love Gym. Big Red got off to a blistering start, building a 17-8 lead in the opening set, but had to stave off an Andover push to claim the first set 25-23, before sealing the win with matching 25-15 set results. Exeter has won five straight girls volleyball showdowns on E/A weekend.

Trailing 3-1 late in the second half, Exeter field hockey’s Johna Vandergraaf ’18 cut the deficit in half when she found the back of the net with just three minutes left on the clock. Big Red continued to pressure the Andover defense and earned a corner with under a minute to go, but Andover was able to clear the ball to hang on for the victory.

Boys soccer played the first 65 minutes in a scoreless draw before Ethan Malila ’18 punched in a bouncing ball to give Exeter a 1-0 lead. Malila found himself in the right spot as a scrum developed at the six-yard mark of the Andover box, and he buried his shot into the left side to ignite the raucous Red Bandits in the crowd. Exeter keeper Jamie Lowell ’20 made a pair of great saves down the stretch to preserve the shutout and the win.

The day wrapped up with the 137th football meeting between the rivals, a wildly entertaining game that saw a Big Red comeback fall just short. Trailing 17-0 in the third quarter, Exeter rallied behind rushing touchdowns by Samson Dube ’18 and Jake Calnan ’18 to pull the hosts to within three. Charlie Dallape ’18 would give Exeter one final gasp when he intercepted a pass with just over two minutes on the clock, but Big Red would be stuffed on a 4th-and-1 on the ensuing drive and fall 17-14 – Andover's fifth consecutive win in the oldest prep-school rivalry in the country.

Off campus, the Exeter boys water polo team claimed second place at the NEPSAC championships – thumping Andover along the way. Big Red beat Big Blue 11-3 in the semifinals before falling to host Brunswick 14-6 in the championship match.

At the NEPSAC cross-country championships in Wallingford, Conn., Exeter girls cross country claimed third place and the boys finished fourth. Both Big Red junior varsity teams took first place in the JV races, promising more success to come for the Exeter runners.