Last Saturday, the Lady Blue stepped out onto the field as underdogs to the number-one ranked team in New England, the Pelicans of Loomis Chaffee. Entering the game with an 8-3 record, the Andover Girls Lacrosse team could not keep up with the best of the league. Andover started off strong, and actually had the first three shots of the game, but eventually Loomis’ aggressiveness, athletic ability and stick skills took charge, completing a 14-3 romp over Andover. The Big Blue missed two of its high-impact players, Kelly Stecker ’05 and Kat Conlon ’04. Stecker is the usual starting center, and Conlon is a starting defender. Regardless, Andover started out strong, taking the first three shots of the game. But despite its fast start, the Big Blue slowed down midway through the first half. Loomis’ amazing stick skills baffled Andover defenders, giving Loomis several good shooting opportunities. The Loomis players shot hard shots at the goalie’s elbows, the hardest spot for a goalie to make a save. At the half, the score was 5-1, Pelicans. “They were a very hard team to stop,” commented Laurel Sticklor ’05, “I think we played very well in the first half, considering their stick skills and athleticism.” In the second half, Loomis’ zone defense stifled any and all of Andover’s scoring chances. The Pelican defenders did well to pick up players cutting to the goal, forcing many Andover turnovers. Loomis capitalized on those mistakes all day long, creating fast breaks that resulted in several scoring chances. Andover was on its heels for much of the game due to costly turnovers and lackluster ground ball play. Loomis dominated the ground ball fight, showing their athleticism and aggressiveness. Loomis also owned the draws, getting better position and tenaciously pursuing the ball. As a result, Loomis constantly controlled possession, sealing Andover’s fate. Eventually, the Andover defense became tired from being on their defensive end for so long, and broke down shortly into the second half, allowing Loomis to break open the game. The Big Blue, however, did not go down without a fight. Kinnon McCall ’04 had two goals; Rachel Harmeling ’04 had a goal and an assist, with Sticklor tallying an assist as well. With the final whistle nearing and Andover down by several goals, Loomis had proved itself as the faster, more skillful, and more experienced team. Andover fought hard, but eventually resigned to a loss. Now, the Big Blue looks ahead to the always-tough Thayer Academy, and beyond to the Eastern Independent League Invitational Tournament. Andover won the tournament in 2001 and 2003. The 2002 tournament was canceled due to rain, so Andover looks for an opportunity to win for three concurrent championships, a truly impressive feat.