In the season opener against Rivers School, the girls soccer team struggled to play to its potential, losing 5-0. However, the team did not wallow in defeat. Instead, it channeled its frustration into a conviction to win the next game. The mental transformation proved effective with a 4-0 win over Middlesex. Coach Lisa Joel commented, “The PA girls walked away [from the Rivers game] with some important lessons in their minds – if they want to be a team who competes for a New England championship, they have a lot of work to do. Our intensity needs to be raised, but we do have the players and the desire to meet with success.” Against Rivers, the team crumbled. Rivers was consistently more aggressive taking almost every 50/50 ball. Passing was problematic, leading to numerous turn-overs and missed opportunities. Though the score may not reflect it, goalie Emily Weedon ’07 played phenomenally, tallying an incredible 24 saves. Her teammates awarded the PG the unofficial “Player of the Game” honors. Weedon commented, “The frustrating aspect of being a goalie is that I can’t [exact] revenge for a goal scored. I just think to myself, ‘that’s not happening again.’” Weedon’s exceptional play continued into the Middlesex match, where she recorded her first shut out in Phillips blue. Post-graduate forward Meghan Hartnett ’07 scored the first goal off a pass from Emily Little ‘09. Left-midfielder Emily Kennedy ’07 quickly followed Hartnett, ripping a shot from the top of the circle. At half time, Coach Joel stressed the importance of remaining focused and not becoming complacent with the two-goal lead. Before the whistle blew for the second half to begin, Coach Joel stated, “You have to play even harder.” Her advice was executed flawlessly on the field as Andover continued its domination. Co- Captain and center half-back Katherine Lee-Kramer ’07 helped keep play in the Middlesex half. The team simply played smarter and harder, using anticipation and physicality to notch the win. The girls worked especially well as a unit, finding their teammates in the right place at the right time. The cohesion of offense and defense enabled the squad to jumpstart its counterattack aggressively. Midway through the second half, Rosie Raymond-Sidel ’08 scored the third goal with a header off a cross from Kara Hollis ’07. Kennedy scored the final goal from within a busy mess at the top of the box. Explaining the difference in play, Olivia Welch ’08 said, “We passed well to the flank which opened up scoring opportunities. And instead of always looking to make the perfect pass, we took more shots on net and capitalized on those shots.” Despite the success, the girls feel as though there are things they seriously need to improve. Hollis noted, “We cannot afford to come out flat in our future games. We need to figure out a way to play full speed immediately after the opening kickoff.” The team looks to carry the momentum from this win into a busy week where it will face three competitive teams: Loomis Chaffee, Brooks and Tabor.