Despite a gritty second-half comeback attempt, the Andover Girls Lacrosse team dropped a close game to cross-town rival Brooks School. Andover’s tough 9-12 loss moved the team’s record to 8-4 on the season with only one game remaining. After 11 days without a game, Andover hosted a strong Brooks School team on Wednesday. Brooks came into the game boasting a record of 11-2 and having won seven straight contests. The Andover players looked to build off of their impressive win over Loomis Chaffee. In the victory over Loomis, Andover played well from start to finish and received a balanced contribution on offense. Andover hoped to put forth a similar effort on Wednesday against a skilled opponent. At the start, Andover gained possession off the draws and was able to build a 2-0 lead. Captain Carolyn Pollard ’07 led the Andover offensive attack, helping the team get off to a good start. However, the dynamic Brooks offense responded, scoring four straight to get on top, 4-2. The remainder of the first half continued with back-and-forth action. Andover took the lead again at 5-4, only to see Brooks storm back to go into the half up by one. In the second half, Brooks got off to the strong start. The visiting Bishops scored three unanswered goals and opened up a 10-6 lead. Brooks took advantage of Andover’s rusty transition game to create turnovers and get control of the ball. Andover’s passes and timing were just off the mark, and the offense was unable to develop a good flow. Down by four, the Andover offense regrouped. Andover improved their ball movement to set up some nice scoring chances for the forwards. Captains Pollard and Annie Boylan ’07 rallied their teammates and anchored Andover’s attempt to cut into Brooks’ lead. After a period of sustained, tenacious effort, Andover narrowed Brooks’ lead to one, and the score stood at 9-10. Just when it seemed as if Andover would be able to complete a spectacular comeback, Brooks made some nice stops on defense. After gaining back control of the ball, Brooks calmly scored two more goals to go up 12-9. Time ran out for Andover and at the final whistle, the Brooks players celebrated their 12-9 win. In the loss, Katelyn Foley ’08 was forced to handle a number of point-blank shots by Brooks’ offensive stars, but did her best to keep Andover in the game. In addition, Kaitlin Gaiss ’09 received some playing time in the second half. Both goalies were put in tough situations, but exhibited the great effort that they have shown all season. One of the major contributing factors to Andover’s inability to get in an offensive rhythm was the team’s struggles in the transition game. Transition passing and movement is based around timing, and after over a week without a game, Andover’s players were not completely in-sync. Even so, Andover’s effort was not lacking, and the team refused to give up after falling behind in the second half. Despite being a little bit rusty, Andover played a very solid game against a talented group of players from Brooks School and just came up short in the end. Andover hopes to bounce back from the loss against Brooks when they travel to rival Exeter on Saturday. Exeter has played well throughout the season and will come into Saturday with a 10-3-1 record on the year. Similarly to Andover, Exeter lost a close game to Brooks and also fell to Milton Academy. With the added emotion of a rivalry game, the game between Andover and Exeter promises to be a hard-fought, well-matched contest. Andover will hope to straighten out its transition game and finish up the season on a winning note.