Girls Squash Loses Tough Match to Choate Squad, 5-2; Captain Zindman ’07 and Wilmarth ’09 Take Hard-Fought Matches

Captain Ali Zindman ’07 rallied for a come-from-behind victory at the number one position, but the Andover Girls’ Squash Team fell short against Choate Saturday and lost 5-2. The match at Choate was Andover’s first contest since returning from break. The layoff seemed to impact the team’s play, as several players did not perform at their best. Choate proved to be a very strong opponent, and a polished Andover team may have still have lost. Choate has six returning players from last year’s squad, which placed in the top eight in New England. “The Choate match was a real test,” said Coach Tom Hodgson. “Considering that it was early in the season, we played okay.” Across the board, Andover viewed this match as a learning experience. Players throughout the lineup made important mid-match strategical adjustments. The changes in game plan started at the top with the number one player Captain Zindman. She got off to a slow start against an opponent whom she was expected to beat. After losing the first game 9-7, Zindman began trying to overpower her opponent in the second. “She was trying to pound her way out of trouble but wasn’t getting good length [on her shots],” said Diana Willson ’07. The wall material—a combination of plaster and sand—on Captain Zindman’s court made this power strategy especially difficult to execute. The wall’s unusual style slowed down shots and caused them to bounce into the middle of the court more often than they might have on a traditional wall. After dropping the second game 9-2, Captain Zindman conferred with Hodgson and designed a new strategy. From then on, she hit slow, lofting crosscourt shots that allowed her to take control of the points. In a dramatic turn-around, she won the next three games 9-1, 9-0, 9-0. “Ali’s adjustment under pressure were an impressive sign of maturity,” said Hodgson. The only other Andover victory on the day came in four games from Lauren Wilmarth at number six. A tennis player, Wilmarth plays in a style that Hodgson has termed “[Pete] Sampras Squash.” Mimicking Sampras’ serve-and-volley strategy, Wilmarth uses her serve to start the point well. On the serve, she switches back and forth between power and finesse, which creates trouble for opponents. Wilmarth takes control of points with volley drop shots that set her opponent on the run. This approach worked well in the first game, which she won 9-7. But in game two, her opponent began taking balls out of the air and covering Wilmarth’s drop shots. In the third game, Wilmarth began changing sides of the court, following deep drives with boasts. She won the final two games 9-7, 9-5 and captured the match victory. Andover’s matches throughout the rest of the lineup lacked the momentum reversals, but this is not to say their efforts were not valiant. Julia Watson ’07, playing number seven, put up an especially strong fight. After splitting the first four games, she went to a fifth. Here, however, she tried for too much. Making several unforced errors, she hit five balls into the tin and lost 9-3. “Julia learned to play high percentage squash when in a fifth game,” said Hodgson. The remaining players did not fair as well. Willson, playing number two, lost in three games. She felt she was not playing her best: “I was being impatient and making bad decisions.” Carolyn Brown ’09 and Stephanie Marton ’07, playing numbers three and five respectively, also lost in three games. Though Lydia Smith ’09, the number four player, grabbed one game, she lost as well. The girls are hoping to come back from this tough loss with a win against Noble and Greenough this Saturday.