Girls Knocked Out in Heartbreaker vs. Nobles

Off of a soaring cross from the left flank, Eliza Nguyen ’09 broke through the defense to head the ball into the back of the net, tying the game at 2-2 against Nobles. Despite Nguyen’s efforts, Nobles eventually got the better of Andover and won the game 3-2 to advance to the New England Championships. Andover, having advanced to the semifinals after their 3-1 win over BB&N last week, came into last Saturday’s playoff game knowing that they would face a challenge in the game against Nobles, the top-ranked team in the tournament. Although Nobles was seeded first and Andover fourth, the teams’ levels of intensity at the start of the game were equal. Andover, who suffered a 0-2 loss to Nobles earlier in the season, knew from the start they had to play their best in order to emerge with a victory. Nobles was the first to get on the scoreboard. Unwilling to give up, Andover bounced back quickly. Co-Captain Emily Little ’09 headed the ball into the net, tying the score, 1-1. Despite Andover’s defensive efforts, a Nobles opponent was able to slip past the defense and slide the ball past goalkeeper Alex Farrell ’10. The second half started much like the first, with both teams going back and forth trying to obtain a firm hold and gain momentum in the game. This time, Andover was first to score. Eliza Nguyen ’09 headed the ball into the net to tie the game at 2-2. Toward the end of the half, it seemed as though the teams might end up facing off in overtime. Within the last five minutes of the game, however, a foul inside the Andover 18 resulted in a penalty kick for Nobles. Nobles made the kick, scoring their third and final goal of the game. Despite Andover’s loss, they played well as a team and fought hard throughout the entire game. “Every effort was a team effort,” Carolyn Brown ’09 said. “The fact that Nobles went on to win the championship, and that we were able to play with them until the very end, says a lot about what kind of team we are.” Solid teamwork, relentless offense and a sturdy defense were some of Andover’s strengths this season. Farrell commented on the goals scored throughout the game. “There was a lot of stress, but we played strong throughout the whole game and never gave up.” Though Nobles was a frustrating loss, the team remained focused on their overall victorious 2008 season. One of two PG’s on the team, Morgan Healey ’09, said, “It was a really cool experience. Playing for a high school again was relaxing and a lot of fun.” One aspect the team improved on this year was their defense. Healey said, “Not just our defensive line, but our ability to get back and play defense as a team got a lot better.” This season, the team overcame the challenge of having individually talented players and worked well together on the field.. Andover’s overall record, including post-season play, was a victorious 13-5. Andover’s two big wins this season were their 4-0 victory over rival Phillips Exeter and their 5-0 defeat of Deerfield Academy. Only graduating six seniors this year, the team will hopefully have nine returning seniors for the fall 2009 season. Though Andover had a youthful team in 2008, their experience next year will prove to be most advantageous.