Third seed Chelsea Cho ’21 hit a quick, attacking boast into the front corner of the court to beat her Groton opponent 3-0, securing a 7-0 sweep for Andover Girls Squash on Saturday. Andover also played Deerfield on Wednesday, clinching a close 4-3 win and extending its undefeated record to 10 wins.
Entering their Saturday match knowing their Groton opponents would pose easier matchups than their Deerfield competitors, the team used the opportunity to practice new tactics, according to first seed Prianca Patel ’19.
Patel said, “Before going into the Groton match, we knew that they were missing their number one and one of their other players, so I knew I was playing someone who wasn’t that great. Instead of trying to play our hardest, we try and practice what we’ve been working on during the week. It’s good practice to get those new shots and strategies working during the matches.”
“I believe that against Groton we pulled ourselves together after losing a few points. We learned to pull ourselves forward, which I’m really proud of, and I think we can still keep doing that,” added second seed Lindsay Westerfield ’21.
According to Patel, Andover faced its games against both schools with notable sportsmanship.
“I think I was most proud of the fact that up and down the ladder, we all competed with a lot of integrity and humility. Obviously, we were better, but we didn’t rub that in their faces or be obnoxious about it. We competed nicely and kindly, and I was really proud of everyone on our team for that,” said Patel.
In future matchups, Andover looks to improve on its athletes’ mindsets entering its matchups, according to fourth seed Avery Westerfield ’18.
Westerfield said, “I think our mental game and staying focused on the court and not getting in our heads — especially when there’s a lot of pressure from parents or from friends or something like that — is something we could definitely work on.”
Patel added, “I would say the biggest area of improvement for the team is accuracy of our shots because there are a lot of times when we try to kill the ball, and it’s not accurate enough, so the rally keeps going. So I think one thing that we all need to work on is just accuracy of our kill shots.”
After suffering many losses against Deerfield in the past, Andover was able to prevail due to its new additions, according to Westerfield.
Westerfield said, “We [were] super excited for the matches because we’ve never beaten Deerfield. We’ve gotten a lot stronger this season, and we’re ranked second in the country right now nationally. Deerfield’s lost a couple of their top players, so it [was] definitely a big match.”
This weekend, the team will be participating in the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships in Philadelphia, Penn. The girls hope to practice hard but also get rest before the tournament.
Head Coach Jennifer Elliott wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We will play challenge matches to think about how we can compete efficiently and intelligently when we feel fatigued. We hope to be inspired by the exhibition match between Maria Toorpakai and John Roberts. Lastly, Coach [John] Palfrey and I will urge our players to watch video footage, get rest, and eat well!”