Volleyball Suffers 3-0 to Exeter in Final Regular Season Match; Andover Loses Early Momentum After Tight First Game Loss

The Andover girls lost its regular season finale at Exeter three games to none on Saturday, giving them a 10-3 record. Exeter came out firing, trying to avenge its loss at Andover earlier in the season. The first game was the closest and probably most pivotal of the match. Exeter won 31-29, but Andover had its chances. Ahead 13-10 about halfway through the match, Exeter went on a 9-1 run. The Blue responded with a run of its own, but could not keep the momentum. Uncharacteristic service errors led to easy points for Exeter and ultimately made the difference “If we won the first game, we probably would have won the match,” Assistant Coach Victor Svec said. Andover tried to respond in the second game, and wound up tied at 17. But then Exeter gained momentum as the Exeter fans started to create more noise. Home-court advantage played a bigger role than one would expect. The walls of the Exeter gym are almost twice as far away from the court as Andover’s are. When an Andover girl tried to spike the ball, it was harder to judge where it was going to land, with the new proportions. The difficult adjustment led to a lot of Andover shots barely missing. The third game was “all Exeter,” Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith said. Every time Andover challenged Exeter, the Red responded with diving saves and incredible team play. Coach Beckwith went on to say that it was the best game Exeter had played all year. Exeter opened the game with a 15-2 run and never looked back, going on to win 30-9. Almost every close play went Exeter’s way. Whether it was a ball just missing, or a rocket spike being returned by a miraculous save, Exeter would not let the ball hit its side of the floor. Andover-Exeter weekend brought out some outstanding individual efforts from Andover. In particular Atima Lui ’08 was a force all day near the net. Cassidy Carpenter ’08 and Cristina Mommsen ’09 made great plays all around the court, keeping Andover in the match as long as they could. However, as a team Andover just wasn’t all the way there. The return of injured starter Meghan McCafferty ’10 was a plus, but she was a little out of synch in her first game back. Communication problems led to more easy points for Exeter, ultimately putting the game out of reach. Exeter had all the motivation on Saturday. They had not beaten Andover in five years, including the loss earlier this year. “The first game definitely had negative affects for us and positive for them” Svec said. He went on to say that Exeter came out “hungry and healthy” while Andover was “flat and tired.” “Kudos to Exeter”, Coach Beckwith said. “They played an excellent match and may surprise in the postseason.” Coach Svec had similar sentiments. “In volleyball, there are so many points that there aren’t any flukes. Exeter played better, and the team that plays better wins 99 percent of the time.”