Needing to secure the fourth set after losing the first and the third, Andover Girls Volleyball came back in a 25-11 set to stay in the game. Andover went on to win the fifth set 15-9 to earn a 3-2 victory over Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) away on Saturday. The team’s record now stands at 7-2-1.
After losing the first set, the team adjusted its style of play to match NMH, which helped it win the second set and gain momentum, according to Brooke Fleming ’20.
“We adjusted to their style of playing, I thought. They were pushing the ball deep and they had really good defense, so we had to adjust to the hitting, which I thought the middies did a good job of,” said Fleming.
According to Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith, smart and strategic play from both teams made this matchup the best game between NMH and Andover in 21 years.
“The competitiveness [made this the best game between Andover and NMH in 21 years]: hard hits from every angle, a defense that robbed the offense of what should have been winners. Two evenly matched teams exploiting smart plays (hitting down the line, exploiting shorter blocks, set-choices that took advantage of hot hitter streaks, serving strategic locations),” wrote Coach Beckwith in an email to The Phillipian.
Andover’s comeback in the fourth set separated this particular game from other matchups, according to Coach Beckwith.
“The fact that we had to fight from behind 0-1 to 1-1, from 1-2 to 2-2 and then taking a decisive lead in the fifth to close out the match [distinguished this game from others],” wrote Coach Beckwith.
Noise from nearby games made it difficult for Andover to communicate effectively, according to Sascha Evans ’21.
“The acoustics of the gym were weird because we are used to playing in a separate room or the sound not being as intense right next to us. So the focus was not only on our game, but we could also hear everything going on in the JV game next to us,” said Sascha Evans ’21.
Despite the acoustics, the team improved its communication as the game progressed, helping it to achieve success towards the end of the game, according to Violet Enes ’21 and Coach Beckwith.
“I think the team, at first, struggled with talking on the court, but then we did a lot better with talking and encouraging each other and reading the balls… The other team was really scrappy, so we had to talk a lot,” said Enes.
“The gym was noticeably more quiet after the JV game, and the NMH team lost some steam. We communicated better. NMH had many parents in the stands for Family Weekend. [There was] high energy due to the number of fans in the stands,” wrote Coach Beckwith.
Although the team’s energy was not at its highest, Andover did not lose hope and persevered, according to Captain Serena Liu ’19.
“The thing I can say the most is that we were able to stick with it, so even though it was not a particularly high energy game, we still put it out on the court and just made sure we played every point,” said Liu.
Moving forward, the team is looking to focus on minimizing careless errors and improving its plays, according to Fleming.
“I think that we are going to work on minimizing silly mistakes, combination plays, and moving the ball around which could result in confusion for the other team,” said Fleming.
The team will face Deerfield at home this Sunday.