After starting the season sluggishly with a 3-3-3 record, Andover Girls Soccer has discovered a newfound offensive attitude that has propelled it to 9-3-3 record. Most recently, Andover’s offense toppled a previously undefeated Nobles team 4-2, a testament to its potency.
In its past six games, Andover has outscored its opponents 23-4. The team boasts an entire host of players who can score, with ten Andover players netting goals this season. This depth has made it a nightmare for opposing teams to shut down Andover’s offense. Additionally, the defense has contributed to Andover offensive efforts.
Head Coach Elisa Joel wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “It is not unusual that our backs like Jeanine Moreau ’16, Natalia Suarez ’17 and Kaitlin Hoang ’17 generate our scoring opportunities. They are dying to be part of the offense. That inspires us. We have had ten different scorers this season including backs, midfielders and of course, strikers. That’s huge.”
On the other hand, Andover also possesses a few players who have accounted for multiple goals this season. Midfielder Sarah Humes ’16 has catalyzed and led Andover’s offense, netting eight goals in the last seven games.
Coach Joel said, “Sarah is magic. She is so determined, so strong and her timing is perfect. She knows how to put herself in the right position to score and when the opportunities arises, Sarah is notably calm. She doesn’t buckle under what can be the stress of seeing a wide open net or a keeper coming out at her. She simply places the ball in the back of the net. It is hard to stop her.”
Andover’s defensive line has also excelled recently. In the center, Moreau and Tookie Wilson ’18 serve as the foundation for Andover’s defense.
Goalkeeper Antonia Tammaro ’17 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “They compliment each other’s playing styles. They are both are strong, fast, technical and possess high soccer IQs. Also, our outside backs do a phenomenal job of forcing the play outside and not down the middle.”
Tammaro has been another crucial aspect of Andover’s defense throughout this season, anchoring the team’s backline as its stalwart keeper. She has led Andover to two clean sheets in its past six wins.
Coach Joel said, “In my opinion, Antonia Tammaro is the best keeper in prep school right now. The bigger the game, the bigger she plays. Her athleticism, her fearlessness, her read of the game, her competitiveness – it doesn’t get any better than Tammaro. She hates losing, and I hope that attitude carries us right through the New England tournament.”
Beyond simply the defense and offense, Andover’s success can also be attributed to the depth of its bench. Many of Andover’s new and younger players have seen valuable playing time.
“We could start 3-4 different line-ups, and we’d be incredibly strong. On game day, we can run with the line-up that is working on that day. Our bench is deep and very, very talented,” continued Coach Joel.
Prior to its win streak, Andover was limited by multiple injuries. Players such as Captain Caroline Shipley ’16, Deyana Marsh ’17 and Kaitlin Hoang ’17 missed games. Additionally, the offense failed to convert countless opportunities. For example, out of 27 shots on net against St. Paul’s, only one found its way past the goalkeeper.
Coach Joel said, “We had a few frustrating games where we were struggling to generate dangerous scoring opportunities.”
Nonetheless, Andover has bounced back from its mediocrity in thrilling fashion. The team will need this intensity more than ever as it enters the final stretch of the season, which will feature the stiffest competition of the season: Lawrence Academy, Worcester Academy, and Exeter.
Tammaro said, “To beat Lawrence Academy and Worcester, we need to stay composed and disciplined. We can’t lunge at the ball on defense, because these are smart, technical players that we will be playing against.”
Andover will look to continue its winning streak against Lawrence Academy on Friday.