Girls Tennis: 2008 NE Champions

Andover’s 2008 Girls Varsity Tennis team went down in history this past weekend as the first Andover team to ever win Interschols. Andover placed first with a total of 23 points, while rival Exeter tied for third with a mere 17. “It was a well-deserved, hard-earned finish to a terrific season,” remarked Coach Martha Grant. Andover’s top two singles players, Co-Captain Lauren Wilmarth ’09 and Eliza Flynn ’10, and the top two doubles teams, Co-Captain Maggie Maffione ’08 with Belinda Ortega ’08 and Arianna Van Sluytman ’08 with Carolyn Brown ’09, competed in the Interschols tournament. The spirit and enthusiasm of four other Andover teammates, Rachel Blake ’08, Tori Wilmarth ’09, Elizabeth Kelly ’11 and Stacia Vladimirova ’11 also contributed to the team’s triumphant win. Before the tournament, Andover had a winning attitude. Maffione said, “Before the tournament began, I told the girls we were going to walk into the first round with complete determination and focus, chase every single ball no matter what, always stay positive and make sure we walk off the court proud.” The team definitely played its best – Andover won every first-round match. Eliza Flynn ’10 set the tone playing in the A Singles Bracket. She beat her Milton opponent 8-5, then easily beat a Kingswood-Oxford girl 8-1 for her second match. Unfortunately, Flynn fell 6-10 in her third match to Loomis, but came back to beat an Exeter opponent, 10-6. She placed third overall. Co-Captain Lauren Wilmarth ’09 placed first in the B Singles Bracket, winning all four of her matches against Groton 8-7, Thayer 8-3, Kingswood-Oxford 10-4 and Milton 7-6, 6-4. Co-Captain Wilmarth commented on her last match, “I have never witnessed such unity from a team before. For my last match, the whole team was there cheering. Each team member was up against the fence talking to me, giving me pep talks, keeping me upbeat and giving me advice. I felt like each one was backing me up and their support really contributed to my win.” Co-captain Maggie Maffione ’08 and Belinda Ortega ’08 competed in the A Doubles Bracket. After easily beating Thayer 8-1, Andover’s number one doubles team fell to Kingswood-Oxford in an upsetting tiebreak with a final score of 7-8. Arianna Van Sluytman ’08 and Carolyn Brown ’09 played excellent tennis in the B Doubles Bracket. Despite several challenging opponents, Andover easily defeated Exeter 8-1, Choate 8-1, Thayer 10-5 and finally Hotchkiss 7-6, 6-3 in the fourth and final match to place first overall. “New England’s was a team effort. There was no one match that determined the outcome, and we won because we succeeded together as a team. Everyone went into the tournament and gave 100 percent. I attribute our win to incredible team spirit, camaraderie, team support and just absolute heart,” remarked Maffione. The six returning players are looking forward to another successful season next year, and the Seniors are excited to finish their Andover tennis careers on such a high note. Maffione concluded, “I am so proud to have helped lead this amazing team to its first every championship win, and I am so happy to graduate from Andover with the title.”