On a breakaway, Morgan Rooney ’17 received a long pass from Co-Captain Sasha Newton ’16 and slammed the ball into the top right corner of the net to raise the score of Andover Girls Water Polo’s match against Williston Northampton to 4-1. The game ultimately ended in a 15-6 win. Andover finished the doubleheader day with a 16-8 loss against Greenwich.
This Wednesday, Andover faced Suffield and claimed a 16-9 victory to improve its record to 4-2.
Although Andover was without starters Sarah Al-Mayahi ’17, Anna Dear ’16, and Giulia Paletti ’16 due to sickness and college visits on Saturday, the remainder of the team stepped up defensively.
Andover effectively utilized a heavy press defense and hole set player Rooney limited Williston’s shooting and created scoring opportunities for Andover. In similar fashion to the team’s last match against Williston earlier this season, Andover created a massive lead that allowed for every player to participate in the game.
“Against Williston we continued to improve,” said Newton. “We excelled most when we moved ourselves and the ball, allowing for more offensive opportunities. We had improved awareness of our position in the pool and of our teammates. It’s really exciting to see we are all improving so much already and in such a short period of time.”
Positive encouragement and support from the pool deck also played a role in the team’s victory over Williston.
“Since we were down three starters last weekend, the whole team really had to step up and fill in those positions,” said Jess Gearan ’18, a two-year member of the team. “Everyone did an outstanding job, there was so much positive encouragement and determination on deck.”
Under strong offensive pressure, Andover’s defense faltered in its match against Greenwich. Andover, however, effectively utilized its shooting opportunities in an attempt to even the score, which ultimately ended with a margin of 16-8.
Andover kept fighting throughout the game, despite Greenwich’s lead. Similarly, in its match against Williston, Andover remained positive and supportive to keep fighting until the end.
“Greenwich Academy just joined our league and had a lot of experience on their team and got up pretty early, but we never gave up and kept in the fight, closing the gap by quite a bit,” said Rooney. “We were missing three starters so that was difficult. I’m really looking forward to see what this team can do. Everyone is so supportive and it’s really quite a good atmosphere.”
On Wednesday when Andover faced Suffield, the team focused on creating shooting opportunities, as well as increasing communication. Defensively, the team worked to decrease its foul while maintaining a heavy press.
“Offensively, we really needed to make sure we made space, communicated, and looked into the middle. Our pool is smaller than the ones we usually play in, so we have to be aware of where the ball is, where our defender is, and what’s going on in the middle and around us. Defensively, we needed to make sure we were pressing hard and not fouling outside of five meters,” said Rooney.
Looking ahead to its match against Deerfield, Andover plans to work on clean playing and communication to extend its winning streak next Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Sarah Al-Mayahi is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.