After finishing with a record of 6-4-6 last season and narrowly missing a spot in the Nepsac tournament, Andover Girls Soccer looks to continue to expand its depth and achieve success this season, with 14 returning players and seven new players, according to Isabella DiBenedetto ’20.
“Last year was a big growing year for us. After losing 12 Seniors, our focus was on rebuilding for the future. We brought in really talented players and continued to grow with the returners. This year, as we continue to add players and grow, we want to be able to use our experience to put teams away, and hopefully we can do that… We lost five Seniors last year, three of which were our captains and two of which are continuing their college soccer career. In that sense, we did lose a huge leadership void on the field but were able to fill it with the Senior captains as well as the addition of three PGs,” said DiBenedetto.
In preparation for the season, all players trying out for the team were invited to attend Team Prep camp in Casco, Maine. The week in Maine was a chance for both returners and new players to bond on and off the field, according to Post-Graduate Jess Moses ’19 and Emily Hardy ’20.
“When I first got to Team Prep I was a bit nervous because I did not know anybody, but everyone on the team was really welcoming and super nice. I also got to meet the other two PGs who play soccer with me. It was a fun time — we got to play against other prep schools, play together, and see how it was going. It looked really good; we were playing really well for just meeting everyone. It definitely helped to build team chemistry; we were in a cabin with 30 beds in one whole room,” said Moses.
Hardy said, “Team Prep went really well. It offered every player the opportunity to get used to playing with each other, and off the field we are able to spend a lot of time together and begin to form bonds as a team.”
In addition to its returners, Andover has added seven new players to the team. PG Hailey Lovell ’19, Katherine Marquis ’21, Mary Stuart Kerrigan ’22 and Myra Bhathena ’22 will all appear for Andover at forward and in the midfield. Moses, PG Isabel Castro ’19 and Emma Fogg ’21 will make up part of Andover’s backfield.
Co-Captain Elise MacDonald ’19 said, “We lost five Seniors but got three amazing PGs. They have added so much to the team both on and off the field. Our two new center backs Jess Moses ’19 and Isabel Castro ’19 are crucial to forming a solid defensive line. The other PG, Hailey Lovell ’19, is our target striker. She has zero fear and actually collided head on with the Milton goalie at our scrimmage on Sunday going after a 50/50 ball. She’s completely fine though. We are in it to win it this year. We have so much talent all around the field. Every single player, starter or coming off the bench, has so much to bring to the team.”
Andover will look to capitalize on its speed up front and its strength and composure in the back and midfield, according to MacDonald and Moses.
“Our strengths are definitely in our front runners because they are all really fast and are willing to play anywhere on the field. Rachel Chang ’20 and Isobel Glass ’21 are two of the best wingers the program has seen and are equally as talented fullbacks,” said MacDonald.
“Our midfield is very strong; we have some really good girls in the midfield who have great technical skills and are great with their feet. We have Hailey Lovell ’19, who is a PG with me, and she is our striker and she is a tank. Our defensive looks really strong too. Overall, we look steady on all parts of the field,” said Moses.
On Saturday, Andover scrimmaged Milton. Despite falling 2-0, the scrimmage offered the team to work on new skills, find successful combinations of players, and pinpoint areas that needed improvement, according to Hardy and Moses.
“The scrimmage offered us the opportunity to play against some great competition in Milton, but it also gave us a chance to try out different combinations of players,” said Hardy.
“We lost in the scrimmage, but we played really well for the first time playing together as the girls varsity soccer team. Everybody needs to work on different things, so we figured out what we need to work on,” said Moses.
Andover will face Rivers away on Saturday.