Andover Girls Soccer Falls To Seawolves and Brooks

Summer revisited New England unexpectedly as the Big Blue traveled to Tabor to face a team perennially noted for their tough opposition. PA, hoping to continue its winning ways after a rousing 5-2 victory against Harvard last week, entered the game struggling with injuries to key veteran players. A young team with many new starters on the field, the loss of Co-captain Allegra Asplundh-Smith ’04 and defender Jess Taggart ’05 to ankle injuries as well as mid-fielder Jessie Birecki ’04 decimated the already thin ranks. Asplundh-Smith’s leadership on the field was greatly missed, and the defense found themselves constantly under the attack of Tabor’s aggressive play. Goalkeeper Julie Wadland ’06 put forth a valiant effort and managed to ward of all shots until one minute-thirty seconds left in the first half when Tabor’s leading player, Kylie Neschke, took a pass from a teammate inside the eighteen and put the ball past Wadland for the game-winning goal. The second half proved to be back and forth play with Tabor dominating the ball but making wide or high shots. The game was one to show the girls where improvements were needed, and the final score was a disappointing 1-0 – Andover’s first loss to Tabor in ten years. On Wednesday, the girls attempted to rebound against their local rival Brooks. A school that always provides one of the most difficult games of each season, Brooks had nonetheless been struggling this season with the injuries of several key players. With a heartbreaking 5-4 loss last year on their minds, the girls were fired up to win. The girls fell behind on possession. Brooks, losing mostly all of the fifty-fifty balls, held a faster pace of game that PA tried to follow. Brooks also had two very skilled center midfields who, swinging back and forth across the field, made them “almost impossible to mark” says veteran starting defender Becca Howe ’06. “Some more communication in the back might have helped.” Brooks managed to get two rockets off, bringing the score to 2-0 just before halftime. The second half brought more aggressive, even playing for both teams. In a brief lapse on defense, Brooks knocked one goal past Wadland in net early on. PA held Brooks flush and most of the play occurred at centerfield, with co-captain Kinnon McCall ’04 as well as players Katie Koh ’05, and Cara Ruccolo ’05 stepping up their speed and ball skills. PA’s tough efforts concluded with a shot by Ali Holliday ’06 on net which was batted away by the goalie but rebounded into the net by Shack, giving PA its first goal and ending the game with a 3-1 score.