Andover Falls to Exeter in OT; Season Ends in Quarterfinals

Three minutes into the second half of Saturday’s match against arch rival Exeter, Katie Riley ’10 scored from a loose ball in the circle to put Andover ahead, 1-0. Despite the early lead, Andover was unable to hold on for the win, falling 2-1 in an exciting overtime loss. The first half was a constant battle for both teams, and neither side could gain the offensive momentum to score. After Riley netted her second goal of the season, however, Andover was caught unprepared for Exeter’s offensive surge. Exeter responded immediately with a goal off of a restart, tying the game. Later in the half, Exeter had another scoring opportunity on a penalty stroke, but the shot rolled wide, missing the net. With the game still tied, both teams prepared to proceed into overtime. Exeter had a few crucial corners, but Andover demonstrated their ability to stay calm under pressure by thwarting the attacks. Andover’s defense played strong as a unit, keeping the ball out of the net. Overtime was similar to regulation play as neither team established consistent control. To add to the excitement, the game was one of the most well-attended contests of the season for both teams. With less than a minute left on the clock in overtime, Andover had the ball at the fifty yard line. Exeter, however, created a turnover by stealing the ball and proceeding down the field toward Andover’s net. After Exeter managed to avoid Andover’s defenders, goalie Shannon McSweeney ’11 rushed out of the net to stop the ball. With 45 seconds left in play, McSweeney attempted to save Exeter’s shot. However, it bounced off her pads and continued to roll into the net, giving Exeter the 2-1 victory. “Exeter was a heartbreaker, but it was only a heartbreaker because each and every member of the team put their entire heart and body into every moment, every play,” said Co-Captain Kaitlin Gaiss ’09. McSweeney had an amazing game, making some outstanding saves for her team. Although Exeter was the end of Andover’s regular season, the team still qualified for the playoffs as the league’s fourth seed. Putting the loss to Exeter behind them, the team was determined to go out and continue its season. On Wednesday, Andover hosted Westminster for the quarterfinals, their last home game. Andover faced another tough loss, however, falling to the fifth-seed, 2-0. In the first half of the game, neither team could finish in the circle, and entered the second half of the game tied 0-0. About five minutes into the second half, Westminster scored their first goal off of a corner. Less than 45 seconds later, Westminster used their offensive momentum to net yet another goal, broadening their lead to two goals. The two early second-half goals gave Andover the majority of the second half to attempt to come back from the deficit. Andover had some key opportunities in the circle, but was unable to capitalize on them. Co-Captain Avery Stone ’10 had a great game as sweeper, stopping Westminster on some key breakaways and giving outlet passes to the wings for quick ball movement. Kyleigh Keating ’10 also led the offense with great ball control and defensive tackles. Andover’s season ended with an overall record of 12-3-1.