After a successful postseason, finishing as a 2014 NEPSAC Tournament semifinalist, Andover Girls Volleyball is eager to take the court for another victorious season fueled by its seemingly perennial top-notch chemistry.
Last year, Andover yielded an 11-5 record, but returning Co-Captains Annette Bell ’16 and Erica Shin ’16 seek to improve that record. Positive energy and harmony on the court are focal points for this season.
Shin said, “If we get along as people off the court, we’ll click as players on the court. In volleyball, it’s so crucial that we really know and trust each other, because everything is about communication. Talking to each other and learning how to play together – knowing who’s going to pick up a ball that drops between people, knowing where the gaps in the block will be, knowing how to pick each other up when we make mistakes is what keeps the momentum going and the ball in the air. Getting along comes first and then, hopefully, winning.”
This unity among the team will be crucial in helping Andover claim a victory over Exeter this year.
“We had trouble bouncing back after making mistakes last year. We would lose one point, then another, then suddenly the other team would score six or seven points in a row. If we pick each other up and stay positive, I think we can fix that,” said Shin.
After graduating three Seniors, returning players such as Bell, Janneke Evans ’18, Evelyn Mesler ’17, Franziska Trautmann ’16 and Shin will fill gaps in the lineup while new players Sewon Park ’17, Sidney Holder ’17 and Serena Liu ’19 will add depth to the team.
Bell returns as Andover’s go-to setter, while Mesler will fill the role left by Isabel Taylor ’15 as starting middle blocker.
Evans will pair with Trautmann as Andover’s outside hitters. This dangerous duo will add height and power to the team’s offense.
The team squared off against Andover High in a scrimmage this Wednesday and succumbed to a 3-1 loss. Although unfavorable, this outcome was useful in developing the team for the start of the regular season. Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith experimented with different line-ups to prepare for the season.
Additionally, several bench players got valuable game experience.
“The team had just been finalized so we hadn’t had a lot of practice time with each other. Our biggest problem was our lack of communication, but I’m confident that they will improve soon,” said Darcy Burnham ’18.
Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith is entering his 18th season coaching Andover with an optimistic attitude and feasible goals that are consistent with those of the Captains.
Beckwith said, “Our strength that I see right now is that we have a good core group. We don’t have a glaring weakness anywhere, so our opponents aren’t going to roll over us. We will make mistakes, learn how to let the other team make mistakes and carry our own game through.”
“My desire for the team is always the same. [It’s] for the team is to have fun, compete and do the best that we can. Every year there are new players. Every year we have players playing in new positions, so it’s going to take a while to gel. We have to learn how to read each other on the court. My hope is that we peak at the end of the season for the championships,” he concluded.
Next Wednesday, the team will travel to Buckingham Browne & Nichols for its season opener.