Girls Water Polo Develops Offensive Strategies; PA Falls to Powerhouses Loomis and Suffield

Although the Andover Girl’s Water Polo team faced two tough losses against Loomis Chaffee, 7-18, and Suffield Academy, 6-16, this week, both games exemplified huge strides in offensive play for Andover, which is customarily a more defensive team. Perimeter shots off the foul were crucial in the game against Loomis for both teams, and because Suffield tried to shut down sisters Co-Captain Kelly Chang ’07 and Kimberly Chang ’08, Andover used strategies to create distractions and force Suffield to switch players. Knowing that Loomis is constructed primarily of 2007 New England Champion swimmers and having lost 4-17 earlier this season, Andover did not step onto the deck with very much confidence on Saturday. However, strong communication in the water and anticipation of Loomis’s fast releases helped the game remain unexpectedly tight in the first half. In a slow start, both teams struggled with scoring in the first quarter. Both teams then picked up the pace in the second quarter with Chang ’08 scoring once and Co-Captain Chang ’07 scoring three times to make it 5-5 half-way through the quarter. With Chang ’08 shooting another bullet off a foul outside the five-meter, Andover pulled ahead for the first time at 6-5. A frustrated Loomis fought back, however, and eventually wore Andover down. Co-Captain Devon Zimmerling ’07 noted, “During the first half, our teamwork in the water was incredible, leaving us neck-in-neck the entire time. Although we understandably grew tired during the latter half, at the end of the game we were all glad that we could use the match as an opportunity to successfully illustrate our improvements.” Not unlike the Loomis game, the match against Suffield also started slowly for Andover. The score remained 0-4 for a majority of the first quarter until Co-Captain Chang ’07 made two goals in the last two minutes. Though she scored three more in the second quarter, it was not enough to stop Suffield from racking up points to leave the game 10-3 at half time. Andover knew that Suffield had a few strong shooters, but in Wednesday’s game every player showed advances in strong quick shooting, gradually fading Andover’s spirit. Additionally, Andover struggled with getting key players Co-Captain Chang ’07 and Chang ’08 open on attack, thus forcing the team to expand its roster of shooters. Andover will play Choate Rosemary Hall and Deerfield Academy on Saturday. Both promise to be exciting games and will hopefully lead Andover back onto the winning track.