Juliet Gildehaus ’20, a defender from Concord, Mass., is already proving to be a crucial part of Andover Girls Lacrosse this season with her skills, fitness, and strong presence on the field. After playing on JV her Junior year, Gildehaus has pushed herself through the offseason to continue to develop as a player. Already this spring, she has stepped up as a playstopper and a defensive threat, earning her The Phillipian’s Athlete of The Week.
“Juliet has already been a huge contributor on our team this year. We graduated all except one of our defenders from last year and she has bridged that gap very well for us. She came into preseason in such good shape, and it was obvious that she had made huge strides in both her knowledge and play of the game since last season. On the field, she is very aware of the rest of the players, she communicates very well, and has outstanding stick skills,” said Co-Captain Ananda Kao ’18. “We are really lucky to have her. She still has so much potential and is very versatile and will be a huge asset to us this season and in her upcoming seasons.”
What was your lacrosse experience before coming to Andover?
I started playing lacrosse when I was in first grade, but lacrosse has always been in my family. My dad played in college, my sister and brother play everyday, so even before the youth program started in my town, I would play in the backyard with my siblings and my dad. The youth program in my town started in third grade, and I played that from third grade through eighth [grade], and I started club lacrosse in fourth grade. Before Andover, I had the opportunity to play most days a week, whether it be playing wall ball, having a team practice, or throwing it around with my siblings.
What personal goals do you have for the season?
Personally, I am working on my defense a ton, which seems like a broad topic, but I feel as though each part of my game needs a bit of polishing. So far, I have only played at defense for Andover, and if I want to be the best contributor to our team as possible, I need to keep working. Switching positions now would only hurt how much I can contribute, and I want to put all my work into improving my defensive positioning, being more aggressive on groundballs and running a bit more. I have tried to stay in shape out of season as well, going to the gym several days a week and the [Case Memorial] Cage to play wall ball as well.
What team goals do you have for the season?
First off, I am ecstatic to be on the team this year, as this is my first year with the team, and I am really excited to be part of the team and to just get really close to all of the girls on the team. I think that we have a ton of really strong, new players, and I am truly looking forward to winning as many games as we can, and that is a bit of a superficial and selfish goal of mine, but one we all truly want. I also am hoping for the team to come together and to learn to play with each other, which will be a challenge as we do have a rather young squad, so it should be our goal to learn to play fluidly.
Why do you like lacrosse?
I love lacrosse because the sport is in my blood — it has been in my family since my birth. I love the fluidity of the game; it is a great mixture of set plays but also a fast-paced game, because there is a ton of movement in the transition. The different strategies and game plans can be both simple and intricate, and the best team does not always win the game. It is interesting to have a settled defense and a settled attack, so in that form it has that mix of soccer and football in its positioning, while also relating to those two in physicality and strategy.
How has your lacrosse career differentiated since you came to Andover?
I play club year-round, and I do several indoor leagues as well, and coming to Andover has not really affected my commitment to these teams. Obviously, I have less time to practice than I did at my past school, as work consumes more and more time each year. However, lacrosse has always been a huge part of my life, and because club is based more on individual play where you do not really get to know your teammates, playing with Andover has allowed me to truly understand what being part of a team is.
What has been your favorite part about being a member of this Andover team?
The girls are super fun, and the team is an incredible community to be around every day. The atmosphere at practice and in games being absolutely electric. Everyone is so excited to be at every practice, every workout, every game, and we can see the effort in everything that we do. Sometimes I am astounded at how lucky I am to be part of group that is as supportive, positive, and upbeat as the lacrosse team is. What also amazes me is the talent that we have on our roster, and I am humbled at how strong and amazing everyone is each and every day