After a close overtime loss in last year’s New England Championships game, Andover Field Hockey is back and motivated to reclaim its title as New England Champions.
“We definitely want to redeem ourselves from last year’s championship loss. It was a devastating loss in overtime, so we are all ready to come back this year and chase another championship,” said Katherine Wimmer ’21.
Captain Meghan Ward ’19 said, “Our goal is to win the Nepsac Class A Championship. Of course, this goal isn’t the most important thing. Having fun and enjoying ourselves is very important too. But it’s definitely the goal.”
After graduating seven Seniors from last year’s team, Andover will need to fill the spots that they left behind, according to Ward.
“Last year we lost seven Seniors. This year, with the addition of two PGs, we have eight. In terms of on the field, we are just going to have to adjust. Off the field, we will have to rely on everyone to step up as a leader in their own ways,” said Ward.
Kelly McCarthy ’19 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “There is no denying that ’18 was a remarkably special class and we were so fortunate to play with their skill and leadership. I think the upperclassmen this year hope to be as helpful and supportive to the new members of our team as last year’s Seniors were to us.”
Andover will add several new players to its roster this year. According to Wimmer, returning team members are looking forward to seeing them in action.
Wimmer said, “We have a couple new Juniors this year that look really good. It will be fun to see how they play and develop throughout the course of the season.”
“I have seen a lot of hard work and hustle from my teammates which makes me excited for the season. We have a few new girls to the team and each one of them works incredibly hard so I’m excited to play alongside them and begin to play as a cohesive unit,” added McCarthy.
Ward said, “We have a lot of great athletes on our team this season, so it really feels like the sky is the limit, in terms of our ability to succeed as a group. There’s also a lot of great energy from the new girls on our team, so I’m really excited to see how they will continue to get better throughout the season.”
Andover’s season is off to a positive start after picking up a win in a scrimmage against Rivers. According to McCarthy, the scrimmage showed signs of good things to come in addition to some areas of improvement.
“Everyone was hustling hard and there were some great finishes at the net to score goals. We still have to continue working to move the ball to open space for our teammates and coming back to block passing lanes and pressure effectively on defense,” wrote McCarthy.
Ward added, “The scrimmage on Saturday against Rivers was an overall success. Even though we were focusing less on the score, we were able to score three goals in the first half and shut out Rivers for the entirety of the game. The scrimmage also showed that our team has lots of versatility, as many of us played in different positions throughout the game.”
Gwyn Lapp ’22, a new member of the team, got a chance to play in the scrimmage and enjoyed learning from the experience.
“The scrimmage was really fun and exciting. I learned much more about the defensive position and have grew more towards that position as well. Also it was fun cheering everyone on and being involved in the positivity,” wrote Lapp in an email to The Phillipian.
According to Lapp and Ward, Andover Field Hockey is a tight-knit team that fosters a family-like atmosphere.
Lapp wrote, “One thing I have noticed is the positivity and the good attitudes that hover over the team. I am excited to be a part of a team that will cheer you on even when you make a mistake.
“We are definitely looking to make it to the tournament for the third year in a row, and hopefully take back the title again. More importantly, PAFH is always a team that feels more like a family, so we will be sure to continue this culture for the 2018 season,” said Ward.