After ending the season with a loss in the quarterfinals of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) tournament and the loss of five Seniors, Andover Girls Volleyball is preparing for another season in a tough division. This year, the team is led by three Co-Captains, Claudia Leopold ’18, Janneke Evans ’18, and Serena Liu ’19.
While according to their teammates, each Co-Captain is a powerhouse player in her own right, they each contribute to the team’s dynamic in different ways.
Chioma Ugwonali ’20 said, “Serena, is very relatable to everyone on the team and makes it a point to get everyone in good spirits. Claudia, our red-headed captain, isn’t afraid to bust-a-move or two on the court. Claudia makes sure everyone understands what is going on during a drill or line-up. Janneke is loud and sweet. She will not hesitate to call someone out on a poor play, including herself, but she will also offer advice and encourage her teammates throughout practice.”
The team welcomes six new players, three of which are new to the school. The three Junior additions are Brooklyn Wirt ’21, Violet Enes ’21, and Sarah Chen ’21. Wirt plays the position of middle, while Enes has been an influential asset to the back row. Chen, although currently injured, will also add depth to the team, according to Leopold.
Leopold said, “Sarah is super psyched and is always around, and we’re really excited to have her once she is recovered.”
Andover has also added two new upperclassmen, Caroline Gihlstorf ’19 and Cassidy Musco ’19. Both athletes play the position of setter and will bring their assets to the court.
The final addition to the team is Post-Graduate Sophia Slovensky ’18, who is an outside hitter with a 32-inch vertical.
Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith said, “[Sophia] has an incredible vertical. She just brings spark, energy, happiness, and really good skills.”
Darcy Burnham ’18 is also returning to the team after a year studying abroad.
Due to the team’s wealth of talent, both the captains and Coach Beckwith are prepared for a successful season.
Coach Beckwith said, “As a team, I think that we can be shooting for the championship. I think that if they develop the chemistry, they will have a great shot at it. At this point in time, what I like is that they are communicating very well together.”
Liu said, “We hope for a lot of wins and our main goal is to have fun and get to the finals of the championships. That would be our major goal for this year, but we also just want to come to each practice and to each game giving our all which will hopefully lead to that end goal.”
Regarding their hopes for the team, the captains and coach agree that energy is of utmost importance. Leopold said, “We play a lot better when we’re psyched and I think we’re going to have to work on getting the whole team psyched.”
Coach Beckwith said, “My hope and utmost desire is that they click and that they enjoy it and that they play the best volleyball that we can put together.”
When asked about her goals for the season, Leopold said, “We want to make it as far as we can in the tournament. We all feel like this is a team that can do it so we are pretty pumped about that. We talked about team goals and a lot of the things involved just working together.”