In a high-intensity match, Madeleine Mayhew ’15 handled the pressure with ease, smacking a precisely-placed volley deep into the court to put Milton’s third seed doubles players back on their heels. Mayhew and her partner Charlotte Welch ’18 went on to claim the only 8-3 win for Andover Girls Tennis in the finals of the New England Prep School Association Conference (NEPSAC) Team Championships on Sunday, where Andover placed second overall with a 5-1 loss to Milton.
“Overall, we played really well at the NEPSACs,” said Lauren Lee ’18. “It was inspiring to see everyone leave everything out on the court. Our team fought hard against other schools, and of course we’ll rise to the challenge again next year.”
Leading up to the finals, Andover nabbed impressive 5-1 defeats over Choate and Groton in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Reagan Posorske ’17 said, “We did extremely well executing points and playing smart. A lot of the teams we faced did not have the consistency that our team has, so they were not able to stay in the points for very long without getting impatient.”
At first seed doubles, Posorske and Co-Captain Camille Price ’15 came much closer to a win than they did two weeks ago when they fell 8-1 to Milton. Unable to hold their 6-3 lead, their grueling 8-6 loss was followed by a 8-3 loss at second seed doubles by Co-Captain Isabella Haegg ’16 and Sewon Park ’17.
Advancing to singles with one point under its belt, Andover suffered the consequences of the unique format of the NEPSAC Championships, where the first team to win five matches takes home the trophy. In the matches that applied to the score, second seed Price fell 7-5, 6-2, third seed Haegg lost 6-1, 6-1 and fifth seed Danovitch suffered sets of 6-3, 6-0.
Despite the three losses, first seed Posorske and fourth seed Park both eked out tight 7-6 victories in their first sets and were ahead by a large margin in their second sets, but they were unable to finish their matches because Milton took five points first.
Haegg said, “Although the score doesn’t reflect that, we came much closer to edging out Milton than when we last played them. I’m very proud of [Price] for holding her opponent to such a close score and for that amazing doubles win. It gave us a great confidence boost going into singles.”
Against Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday, Andover solidified its nearly-flawless record of 11-1 with its ninth 9-0 sweep of the season in its last match of the year.
The previous time the two teams competed, Exeter was missing its second seed singles player. Her return on Wednesday shifted Exeter’s lineup and challenged Andover’s second through sixth seed singles players to face tougher opponents.
Haegg said, “Everyone really adapted well to the higher difficulty level.”
In singles, first seed Posorske dropped only a single game with winning sets of 6-0, 6-1, second seed Price finished her match 6-2, 6-1, third seed Haegg dominated her match with sets of 6-0, 6-0 and fourth seed Park triumphed 6-0, 6-2.
“Being able to close out my match 6-0, 6-0 shows how much I have improved throughout the season,” said Haegg.
Crippled by the absence of fifth seed Danovitch, sixth seed Lee stepped up to fifth seed, and doubles player Mayhew filled the sixth seed singles spot. Lee won in an intense three setter with scores of 6-3, 6-7, (7-4), and Mayhew managed a hard-fought 7-6, 6-3 win.
Andover dominated all of its doubles matches, dropping only two games out of its three sets. First seeds Posorske and Price and second seeds Haegg and Park beat their respective opponents 8-1, and third seeds Welch and Mayhew won with a flawless score of 8-0.
Park said, “[Haegg] and I won more assertively than we did when we played [our Exeter opponents] at [the de VillaFranca Tournament]. Having beaten them before, we were very confident, whereas they were discouraged by that.”
A strong end to an incredible season, the sweep against Exeter stands as a testimony to Andover’s growth throughout the year.
Haegg said, “This was a great way to end our season on such a high note with yet another sweep, and I am really excited about what next year will bring.”
Editor’s Note: Isabella Haegg ’16 is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.