Within the final five minutes of the game, Co-Captain Charlotte Welch ’18 shot the puck into the back of the net to secure a comfortable lead for Andover. This play ultimately contributed to the team’s 3-1 victory over top-seeded Loomis on Wednesday. This crucial victory came after two losses on Friday and Saturday of last week: Andover fell short 2-1 against Milton and 4-0 to Worcester. The team’s record now stands at 13-6.
“Today [against Loomis] we came out really strong and took it to them in the first part of the game, which is key. We did what haven’t been doing enough in the past games: shoot. We scored two pretty quick goals, which gave us a lot of momentum. We stayed strong through the whole game and did not let up,” wrote Anna Bargman ’21 in an email to The Phillipian.
Because Andover lost its games against Milton and Worcester, it remains unclear whether or not the team will enter post-season play. Co-Captain Charlotte Welch ’18 attributes these disappointing losses to overconfidence and a lack of proper execution.
“We gripped our sticks a little too tight. We couldn’t put it in the back of the net even though we had a bunch of chances, which was definitely a huge disappointment for the team because we all had worked really hard. At Worcester the next day, they came out really fast and jumped on every puck really aggressively and quickly, but we definitely should have matched their pace better, which is disappointing to see,” said Welch. Welch continued. “Across the board, we weren’t really forechecking as hard as we could; we weren’t moving around in the zone to keep up with their forwards. To go so far and lose these two games was pretty disappointing. They were definitely close games, but they are ones we want back.”
The win against Loomis was crucial for the team’s chance of being able to compete in playoffs. Because of the team’s recent difficult schedule, it has been a challenge to secure wins to advance, according to Welch.
Welch said, “Our last six to eight games are the hardest teams in the league, which is unfortunate because we are going strong even though we are playing weaker teams, so we are a little bit overconfident. Then, these games are more intense and up the level of playing very quickly, so it is difficult to adjust. Especially after the Milton game, our legs were pretty dead from last Saturday’s game. It was tough having three games in the one week.”
Andover beat Loomis in December earlier this season in a tournament. Since Loomis only had two previous losses, including the prior loss to Andover, the team felt confident and determined heading into the game, according to Olivia Nolan ’20.
“This is a really big game… We are currently one of the teams that is fighting for a playoff spot, so beating the number-one team would give us a really good chance of grabbing that last playoff spot,” said Nolan.
Following its victory, the team recognized some strengths which it hopes to maintain in its upcoming games, according to Molly MacQueen ’21.
“We were able to finish and put the puck in the net, which has been an issue for us lately. I think we are in a really good place heading into [Andover/ Exeter]… Still, [we] need to work on possessing the puck and on our defensive zone, but we are well prepared. This game will mean so much for us as we try to secure a playoff spot,” MacQueen.
Despite suffering two backto-back losses over the weekend, the team is in good spirits for its competition against rival Phillips Exeter Academy this weekend.
“Exeter is always the best game of the year. We love playing Exeter. This year, they are a lot better than the have been in the past. Last year we beat them 7-1 at AE, which was fun because it’s always fun to beat Exeter, but we wanted a more competitive game,” said Co-Captain Sarah Rigazio ’18, “This year they are a lot better than last year, so it will be a tight game, but we really want to beat them. In that game, it doesn’t matter the teams’ records at all going into it because it’s Exeter. The fans are there, and everyone is giving everything they have on both sides, so it will be a battle.”