Andover Girls Soccer Plays Best Game of Season, Still Unable to Take a Win, Falls to Rival Exeter 2-1

Despite giving the Andover-Exeter crowd one of the best games of its season, the Andover Girls Varsity Soccer team fell to Exeter 1-2. Exeter proved to be a very tough opponent, coming into the game undefeated and seeded third in New England. The first half began with each team battling for possession, and Andover dominated play with 1-2 touch passing and switching fields. Unfortunately, during the tenth minute of play, after a reversed referee call, Exeter scored off of a throw-in. The Exeter forward was unmarked by Andover’s defense because Andover’s defense had headed back up the field, thinking Andover had possession. Andover had been dominating play, and it was one of the few times that Exeter was able to penetrate deep into Andover’s half. Coach Joel said of the goal, “This type of situation is mentally frustrating because the game then got off on the wrong foot, and from that point on we were feeling the pressure of playing down. I was really proud of the girls because they did not let this goal affect their play.” Andover continued to play with the poise and intensity with which it had started the game, but Exeter scored again off of another questionable call. Down 2-0, Andover did not give up and continued to put pressure on Exeter. This pressure paid off with a goal headed in by Katie Michaelson ’08 late in the half to bring the score to 2-1. Coach Joel remarked, “This goal was very exciting because it was the type of offensive opportunity that we had been working to create all season.” She went on to say, “We have been working really hard to score off of set plays, and we did.” Andover came out even tougher in the second half, allowing no goals. Andover’s defense, led by Martha Durant ’06 and Hannah Comeau ’06, was excited to get a lot of touches on the ball against a very potent Exeter attack. Emily Little ’09 did a great job marking Exeter’s best forward, removing her from play completely. Goalies Julie Wadland ’06 and Melissa McDonald ’06 also made critical saves. Coach Joel said of the goalies’ play, “These two step it up when we need it the most. They were forced to make some point blank saves off of a great Exeter offense.” As each team continued to fight for possession in the second half, neither team could capitalize on scoring opportunities. As the game came to an end, Andover lost 2-1. Coach Joel said, “Today was a very good day for Andover soccer. We left the field feeling like we played with our hearts and our heads. There were some really bright moments, and I could see all the things that we had worked so hard on in practice, implemented into the game.” The Big Blue will lose seven very talented seniors this year: Melissa McDonald, Julie Wadland, Ali Holliday, Becca Howe, Martha Durant, Hannah Comeau, and Catherine Wright. Coach Joel said, “The group of seniors this season were great. They led the way both in their play and in their attitude.” She continued on to say, “The team could always count on them to leave everything on the field, and I could not be prouder.” The girls, along with Coach Joel, look forward to next season with high hopes.