Volleyball Looks to Avenge Finals Loss; Young Squad Prepared to Go the Distance

The 2006 season holds high hopes and high standards for the Andover girls volleyball team. The Andover girls suffered a disappointing loss to Hotchkiss in the finals of last year’s tournament after going undefeated in the regular season. After beating a difficult Taft team in the semi-finals, Andover was defeated in four sets by Hotchkiss. Even after losing four seniors, all of whom made the 2005 league all-star team, Captain Cassidy Carpenter ’08 believes that this year the squad has the talent to reclaim the title. More importantly she said, “Everyone I have talked to on the team is very motivated to get the championship”. With only one other returning starter, Atima Lui ’08, the team looks to its other returners to step into starting roles and make a difference. Three of spots are likely to be filled by returning Seniors Pia Heilmann ‘07, Sarah Beattie ‘07, and Lindsay Maroney ‘07. Also returning are Amberly Tenney ‘08 and Erica Bakies ’08. The team expects some spots to be taken by JV players moving up. With so few returners, many players have been working hard this past summer to prepare themselves to fill a starting varsity spot and make an impact. Many players attended college camps to improve their play and practice against strong talent. Coaches Beckwith and Svec also supplied their players with an off-season agility program so the players can improve their speed, jumping, and quickness. While training and talent is very important to a team, so is team unity and overall mentality. Captain Carpenter is “looking forward to a lot of team chemistry and having a lot of fun” which she feels is crucial for a successful season. The 2006 season starts off quickly for the volleyball team, hosting Cushing, St. Paul’s, Exeter, and New Hampton in a warm-up tournament on the 16th. While this tournament does not count towards season standings, the team still considers it a very important. The tournament allows the coaches to see their players in game situations and for the team to get some game time together. Two very important games on the girls schedule come against rival Exeter. PA first plays PEA away in mid-October, but the more important game comes on Andover/Exeter weekend when the team plays its final game before the league tournament. Exeter took the undefeated Andover team to the fourth set in a best of five match last year in the final game of the regular season. The team has high expectations this season coming off three very strong seasons. In 2003 the team went 19-0 and won the championship. In 2004, the team went 15-4 and lost in the semifinals and in 2005, the team went undefeated but lost the championship. With three strong previous years the standards for this year are set high by both the players and the coaches.