While working on bumps and sets during a practice, Andover Girls Volleyball suddenly breaks out dancing on the court. The team’s favorite song plays on the speakers, and Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith can only look on and laugh at the team’s ridiculous dance moves. At the center of the fun is Co-Captain Annette Bell ’16.
Bell said, “One of the things that I love most about the team is the fact that we have fun together. It’s the girls and coaches that make this team special. We work hard and have a good time doing it.”
This mixture of fun and hard work has led Andover to a 9-1 record, largely because of Bell’s leadership on the team. Bell’s leadership skills stem from her ability to recognize what the team needs at a given time.
Bell added, “As Co-Captain, I’ve learned what we need to do most of the time. Whether it’s energy on the court or figuring out the best way to get the point, [Co-Captain] Erica Shin ’16 and I step up to help the team.”
Bell possesses an intense passion for the game, which ignited in the fifth grade when she first picked up the sport. Her love for volleyball greatly influences and boosts her ability to lead the team.
“I love volleyball because anyone can play. It’s a great game and you can play really casually or competitively, and the game is always fun. Anything can happen in a matter of minutes, which always keeps players and fans on their toes,” said Bell.
Strongly influenced by her past Captains at Andover, Bell believes that team chemistry is vital to the team’s success. As a result, she always looks for new ways to promote team bonding.
“Reflecting on past Captains of volleyball, Erica and I have seen how important team chemistry is on such a small team. We are always working toward improving the chemistry on and off the court through team dinners off campus, team sleepovers in Adams [Hall] and more,” Bell added.
Teammate Janneke Evans ’18 said, “On and off the court [Bell] is funny and makes the game fun along with team outings. On the court she has a lot of enthusiasm and makes everyone want to succeed and play well.”
Sewon Park ’17 added, “She’s someone everyone can lean on, and she’s super encouraging. She has a lot of experience, gives great advice and takes care of all of us. Whenever we’re lazy or tired, she always picks us up and gets us going.”
While Bell greatly adds to team spirit, she is also one of the team’s most skilled players. She anchors Andover’s line as the team’s setter and plays a huge role in every play of every game.
“Annette is the backbone of the team; she’s an amazing setter. The setter has to touch the ball everytime it comes over the net, so her position requires that she’s very skilled. Without her, the team couldn’t function,” said Park. “She’s very smart in her plays, and she sees the holes very well. She has really good instincts and experience, and she knows what to do in odd situations. A lot of setters don’t have that quick reaction time.”
Fran Trautmann ’16 added, “The best thing Annette does is push the second ball over the net to a deep corner when we’re in a really tight set, and the other team doesn’t expect it so we usually get the point.”
To sum up Bell’s contributions to the team, Evelyn Mesler ’17 said, “Annette’s ability to lead the team is pivotal during games, and the way that she pushes herself to improve during practice sets the example for all other players on the team. Her skill as a volleyball player combined with her leadership and likability make her an amazing captain.”
Bell’s expertise both on and off the court has been crucial to Andover’s success so far this season, and with she and Co-Captain Erica Shin ’16 at the helm, the team looks to be a strong post-season contender.