After concluding a rigorous preseason, Andover Girls Soccer looks to follow last year’s New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) Class A Championship victory with another strong season.
“We know we will have to work even harder as we have a target on our backs after such successful 2015 bids. However, we have put that season behind us and each day focus on what this team needs to do to be the best it can be, ” wrote Head Coach Lisa Joel in an email to The Phillipian. Led by Co-Captains Cassie Chin ’17 and Antonia Tammaro ’17 – who was named the league’s Most Valuable Player last fall – Andover will return with nearly all of last year’s starters, including its strong core of 12 Seniors.
“I think we’re going to build off of last year with our leadership. We have 12 seniors this year and everyone is a leader on and off the field,” said Chin, a four-year member of the team.
This year, the team welcomes six new players who aim to improve its depth. Elise MacDonald ’19, Madison Bourassa ’20, Blakeley Buckingham ’20, Isabella DiBenedetto ’20, Emily Hardy ’20, and Maddy Silveira ’20 will slot into the 23-person roster.
Tammaro said, “Every single one of the freshmen that made the team deserve it and all bring a high soccer I.Q. onto the field. They all know the game and are really serious about developing their skills and learning from the older players. All of them have a certain competitive edge that can’t be taught.”
In order to reach its full potential, the team will also strive to focus on only one game at a time.
“[Andover’s] goal is always to prepare for and focus only on our next game,” said Coach Joel. “If we work together, work hard every day, stay focused on our team goals, we will have a successful season and the record takes care of itself. Success for [Andover] is defined by our progress as players and a team and our commitment to each other. If that leads us to a winning record, that’s great too – but records often don’t define seasons.”
Chin said, “Our goal is just to be the team that nobody wants to play. To be that team, we are going to need to focus on one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves. Obviously we want to defend our championship title but, first and foremost, we need to play together and play strong. I think if we do that the rest will fall in line.”
Andover kicked off its season with a loss to Groton.
Editor’s Note: Cassie Chin is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.