On Wednesday, the Girls Varsity Soccer Team hosted St. Paul’s, beating the team in a strong 2-0 win. This game was crucial for Andover as it was its first win against a Class A team. Winning against such a team is important in the selection process for the New England Tournament. The game also evened out Andover’s overall record to a solid 3-3-3. The game began well for Andover as it controlled and moved the ball really well, with especially great passing sequences. Martha Durant ’06 said of the game, “The forwards were really working hard passing with one another to create chances to score.” Within the first five minutes, Andover notched its first goal of the game by forward Jenna Castellot ’08. The play was started by Rosie Raymond-Sidel ’08, who headed the ball to Captain Ali Holliday ’06. Holliday then headed the ball between a gap in the defense. Castellot quickly pounced on the ball, firing a shot directly past the goalie. Coach Joel said of the goal, “This was a fun goal for the girls to score, and it also showed that our finishing skills within the eighteen are improving and that we are recognizing and capitalizing on scoring opportunities.” Andover did not let up after the goal and continued to pressure St. Paul’s. Unfortunately, Captain Holliday took a cleat to the head and needed to get stitches. This disrupted the momentum of the game, but Andover continued to play aggressive soccer. Raymond-Sidel had a great first half for Andover, passing well and participating in many key plays. With Andover dominating possession, the score remained 1-0 going into halftime. During the second half, while Andover possessed the ball, one St. Paul’s striker posed a threat to the team. The team looked to Kara Hollis ’07 to shut this forward down with her speed, which she did with ease as St. Paul’s was unable to score. Andover also naturally began to incorporate some of the skills and tactics that it had been practicing into the game. Andover was using 1-2 touches effectively to move the ball to the inside and outside of the field, maximizing space. The girls were also crashing the net, and the second goal scored by Camille Robinson ’07 was put away off of a corner kick. Robinson, after a scuffle, managed to take a forceful shot, giving Andover a much needed security goal. Andover did not let up and continued to play for the full eighty minutes. Durant said of the goal, “This goal was awesome because we pressured the defense in the eighteen and would not let up until we scored.” Goalie Melissa McDonald ’06 had a spectacular game for Andover, making seven crucial saves for Andover. Once, St. Paul’s penetrated the defense, but McDonald was right there to put the ball down in her most exciting save of the game. This type of determined play from every member of the team secured the 2-0 win for Andover. Coach Joel said, “Overall, this game was very exciting. I saw a lot of the tactics used in practice implemented into the game. The girls were passing and switching fields well. This win also shows that we are not only clearly thinking about execution, but actually finishing our plays. This is going to be a huge factor as we face many tougher teams and are given very few scoring opportunities.” The team was excited about the well-deserved win and looks forward to facing Northfield Mount Herman at home on Friday at 7:00 p.m.