Andover Girls Varsity Lacrosse improved its record to 4-1 on the season after an up and down week, losing an 11-10 heartbreaker to Groton but bouncing back to crush the Harvard Junior Varsity 14-5. In Andover’s first game, the Groton squad capitalized on Andover’s mental errors and was just barely able to pull a win away from the surprised Big Blue. Consistent transition offense and many different players contributing was the theme of the week, however, and Andover was able to pull out a win against the Harvard Junior Varsity team. In Saturday’s battle with Groton, Andover came out strong, playing with solid defense and effective ball movement in its offense. Playing with second-half intensity, Andover pounded in four goals while letting in one, and by the time the first-half whistle sounded, Andover had held Groton to four goals while scoring six. After having established a two-goal lead heading into the second half, the Big Blue broke down, giving Groton four straight goals. Losing 8-6, nothing seemed to go Andover’s way. Groton capitalized on Andover’s unlucky turnovers, and with minutes left the score was 11-9, Andover trailing by two goals. Andover managed to tally a goal, bringing the lead to one, but was not able to take advantage of the chances it had in the final minutes and resigned to a loss. Saturday was uncharacteristic of Andover scoring-wise, with only two players scoring more than one goal. Kinnon McCall ’04 scored four goals, and Rachel Shack ’04 tallied two goals and an assist. Also scoring goals were Mimi Hanley ’04, Stef Krant ’05, and Laurel Sticklor ’05. An unselfish Rachel Harmeling ’04 directed the offense, adding five assists while taking no goals of her own. After having come up short on Saturday against Groton, the Lady Blue made good on a chance for redemption in Wednesday’s game against the Harvard Junior Varsity team. Cruising to a 14-5 victory, Andover dominated the pace of the game, especially on ground balls and draws. All the extra possessions that this dominance provided allowed the Big Blue to get a lot more scoring chances, which led to more quality shots on goal. Andover had a smooth passing game, and its smart, yet aggressive midfield play worked to perfection. Andover’s effective ball movement led to many different players scoring goals. McCall led with five goals, Harmeling contributed three goals and two assists, and Krant provided two goals and two assists. Kat Dix ’05 and Sarah Beattie ’07 both had two goals, with Shack tallying an assist as well. Harvard scored a quick first goal, and almost scored another that was called back to a Harvard player in the crease. Andover responded well, calming down the ball movement and playing an even, crisp half with many well-orchestrated passing sequences through the midfield, which eventually led to goals, allowing Andover to rack up a 9-3 lead. Having learned their lesson from Groton’s come from behind win, Andover remained composed. After if was apparent that Andover’s victory was not in jeopardy, Andover began to used its comfortable lead as an opportunity to work more on practicing their offensive plays against a live opponent than on scoring more goals. The Lady Blue also dominated the midfield in the second half, mostly due to its success in winning the ground ball fight. Andover’s dominance over ground balls is especially notable, because they were playing for the first time on artificial turf. Commenting on this early season experience, Captain Whitney Kelly ’04 said, “Playing at Harvard is always exciting; especially because we get to play on the turf. Everyone’s spirits get lifted because everyone’s faster and the pace of the game is quicker and smoother. We had lots of great midfield connections, which gave us more scoring opportunities to capitalize on..” Next week, Andover prepares to host Taft, a persistent, talented team that is sure to give Andover a tough fight.