Racking up a total of 14 service points, Tiffany Bauman ’16 aced Andover Girls Volleyball to a decisive 3-1 victory over Taft in its season opener on Saturday.
Andover won the first two sets of the match 25-15 and 25-13, respectively. Taft scraped its way back to grab the third set 25-22, but Andover finished off the match with a nail-biting fourth set 25-23.
Andover’s starters led the way in the opening sets, playing cohesively and executing points decisively. By the third set, however, Andover lost its momentum, and Taft was able to capitalize.
“Our guard was let down,” said Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith, “Taft made some beautiful plays, which gave them a rhythm we could not turn around.”
The fourth set consisted of back-and-forth play, with each team refusing to be on the losing end. Andover jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead, which Taft would eventually diminish. Taft scored 12 points and held Andover to five during its comeback, putting Taft ahead 17-15.
Andover racked up three straight points, regaining the lead 18-17. Despite intense back-and-forth play, Andover was able to scrape ahead in the fourth set to win the match.
“On several side-outs, Taft found a way to drop balls into our defense, and [we] countered immediately with strong attacks,” said Beckwith.
In its second match of the day, Andover claimed a 3-0 victory over Hotchkiss, a team weakened by the illness and injury of two of its vital starters. Andover altered its plan of attack and was able to take the match in three straight sets.
Hotchkiss and Andover challenged each other defensively, with each team taking advantage of the miscues of its counterpart. Several rallies consisted of 8-10 volleys, which usually ended with a perfectly placed shot or an unforced error.
Coach Beckwith was elated by the level of intensity and depth in Andover’s victory.
“All Andover players earned playing minutes and distinguished themselves somehow,” said Beckwith.
In particular, Co-Captain Annette Bell ’16 and newcomer Sewon Park ’17 led the team, earning 20 and 14 service points, respectively.
Andover faced off against Central Catholic on Tuesday in a very close match, battling to improve to a 4-0 record.
All three sets were decided by a mere two points. Andover won the match in three straight sets, winning 27-25, 25-23 and 27-25. Central jumped out to early leads in each set, but strong serving performances by Bell, Bauman, Janneke Evans ’18, Erica Shin ’16, Sydney Baumgardt ’16 and Evelyn Mesler ’17 propelled Andover to a comeback victory.
Darcy Burnham ’18 said, “As our energy sunk, the games got closer, but in the third game, [we] picked up the pace and eventually won.”
Andover hopes to keep this momentum for its home opener against Loomis Chaffee on Saturday.