Midfielder and Co-Captain Ananda Kao ’18 joined Andover Girls Varsity Lacrosse her Lower year after playing on the JV team her Junior year. Kao picked up lacrosse in the third grade and plans to continue her lacrosse career through college. With almost ten years of experience, Kao has contributed both experience and knowledge to Andover Girls Lacrosse.
Kao said, “I had been playing soccer for a while, and then me and my friend wanted to start another sport. My mom wanted me to play field hockey, but then she suggested lacrosse so I tried it in third grade and really liked it and kept playing.”
Kao played for the Andover Youth Services lacrosse team until the eighth grade, started playing for Revolution Lacrosse in the seventh grade, and began playing with the Middlesex Bears in the eighth grade until last summer.
After strengthening fundamental skills during her time on the JV team, Kao became a member of the varsity team.
Kao added, “Playing JV really helped me, it gave me a lot of experience, and then I made the team Lower Year and started every game on Varsity, which is kind of a big jump.”
Kao enjoys how lacrosse incorporates different elements in order to play it successfully. According to Kao, lacrosse not only tests how fast a person can run, but also one’s knowledge of the mechanics of a game.
“There is a good balance between the quickness and athleticism needed for it, and the knowledge of the game. Everyone needs to be very smart about every play, and I think the combination of thinking and just playing is very unique to lacrosse. It is also a very big team sport, so no one person can win the entire game. Learning how to play with your teammates and becoming closer to them is something that I really like,” said Kao.
According to Co-Captain Ashley Tucker ’18, Kao’s skill in addition to her ability to share her knowledge makes her a good captain.
Tucker said, “[Kao] is an incredibly hard worker and is very in shape, never getting tired in the midfield, which sets a great example for the rest of the team. Around the field she’s great about spreading her knowledge and giving people tips that make everyone better and does it in a way that never feels condescending or like she’s ordering everyone to do something.”
Kao said, “Everyone is really friendly, and as a Senior I am trying to bring that to the new people to try to emulate what the older people in my past years have done for me. [Also] welcoming people who may not have been on the team last year to the team and just making everyone feel equal and welcomed [is another goal of mine].”
According to Abby Ryan ’21, Kao has helped her adjust to the team not only as a leader but also as a friend.
Ryan said, “Throughout the entire school year — not just when lacrosse season began — Ananda welcomed me. She has made me feel comfortable playing with such a talented group of girls by always cheering and offering constructive feedback. Not only is she a tenacious and talented player, but she is so humble and always looking out for her teammates. She is the perfect captain and acts as a role model for every player.”
Kao has set team goals that encompass not only a winning aspect but also bonding as a team. Kao said, “I want to have a winning record, since we haven’t had that in a few years, but aside from that just learning how to play together and learning how to play against people’s strengths and weaknesses will really help us. I think keeping a positive attitude no matter what [is important] because we play a lot of hard teams, and just having everyone gel more together and be able to play more cohesively [is also important].”
Tucker said, “Kao is simply just a kind person in general, so I think we are all extremely fortunate to have her as a leader and teammate. I know I’ll miss her a lot next year, so I am happy to be able to cap off Senior on this team with her.”