As Captain of Andover Girls Volleyball, Evelyn Mesler ’17 looks to guide Andover back to its successful ways after losing to Choate, Dana Hall, and Phillips Exeter Academy earlier this season.
While her primary goal is to avenge Andover’s losses, Mesler also aims to maintain a welcoming and upbeat atmosphere for the team this season. A four-year Senior from Andover, Mass., Mesler has been on the team since her Junior year.
Mesler began playing volleyball in third grade, crediting her early beginnings to her siblings’ love of the sport.
“I grew up watching volleyball, and being part of a family where we were constantly hitting the ball around. I started playing volleyball very young,” said Mesler.
Mesler captains her team with vast experience and a deep knowledge of the sport.
“Evelyn has almost four seasons of Varsity Volleyball in the bag; she plays with heart [and] determination” wrote Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith in an email to The Phillipian. “Her knowledge of the game, and her read of where plays might go, is invaluable for team chemistry on and off the court.”
Andover’s record currently stands at 6-5, and the team’s greatest struggle has come in attempting to integrate its new players. Mesler hopes to not only guide new players through their transition to the team, but also learn from their different playing styles.
Mesler said, “We graduated five Seniors last year, and we have eight girls new to the team, [including] four girls new to the school. So that means there is a lot of getting used to each other. It’s important we learn to trust each other, even though a lot of us haven’t played together too long.”
“I think that with the new kids on the team comes a lot of variation in athletic backgrounds, athletic experience and coaching styles which is great. For example, there is a girl on the team from Texas, which is extremely different from me playing in the Northeast. You learn different kinds of serves, and different approaches to the game. Getting exposure to these different techniques is super beneficial to the success of our team,” continued Mesler.
Mesler’s teammates praise her for her leadership skills on the court, as well as for the supportive environment she creates for the team. Additionally, her high level of play is well admired amongst her teammates.
“Not only is she dominant at the net and intense on the court, but she brings an incredible enthusiasm to every practice and game. It’s this kind of positive mindset that really inspires us to play our hardest,” said Brooke Fleming ’20, a first-year member of the team.
Chioma Ugwonali ’20 said, “Evelyn is one of the kindest, most enthusiastic people I know, and I am so glad she’s our captain because she’s the perfect balance of being a great leader and a role model, but also being super fun and sweet.”
Mesler displays dedication to her team both on and off the court.
“Evelyn meets with different members of the team, personally takes time out of her own schedule, and just wants what’s best for the team as a whole. That’s definitely one of the best things about her – her dedication to the team and the enthusiasm for the sport,” said Ugwonali.
Mesler emphasizes having fun and creating a team culture that fosters personal growth.
“In volleyball, a lot relies on individual skills. But there is no way to be successful without building up your team; building up your offense, your defense and every aspect of the point. Because of that, I feel like I’ve made my closest knit teams on Volleyball. You have to know each other, you have to know where everyone is on the court and you have to trust each other,” Mesler said.
Mesler looks to lead Andover to a successful finish.
Mesler said, “Being part of the volleyball team has given me a family while at Andover. As a day student, I don’t have a dorm family and so the Andover Varsity Volleyball teams have been my family. I want to pass on what I got from the volleyball team to the newer players. I’ve become close with a lot of the underclassmen and I want to help lift them up and help them love Andover and see as much greatness in Andover as I do.”