After a successful 2008 season, the girls water polo squad is looking at the 2009 season with high expectations. The team looks to improve on a strong fourth place finish in the league last year. The team kicked off the season on Monday and Coach Cindy Efinger was very pleased. She said, “The first practice was Monday and it seemed as if the team gelled well.” Last year was one of the most successful seasons in the past decade. It included the first New England Playoff berth in the past ten years, along with huge upsets over the perennial powerhouse Suffield and archrival Exeter—the first time in six years that Andover accomplished this feat. The squad is very experienced this year, led by Co-Captains Rebecca MacRae ’09 and Annie Glancy ’09, both of whom will lead the team and maintain its focus. The nine returning seniors, along with experienced underclassmen, will provide strong team chemistry and fluid team play. After losing only six out of the 20 varsity players to graduation, Efinger is optimistic about the upcoming season. “The team knows how to play with each other,” she said. “They can anticipate each other’s movements in the water, and because they know each other so well, they can communicate on a level that a younger team cannot experience.” Efinger believes that a key to the success of the team will be the team’s ability to play as a single unit. She explained, “Water polo cannot be won with one person. Six girls and a goalie make up a team and each player must contribute in order to be successful.” Andover has also added a few exceptionally talented coaches to the girls water polo program, to make a total of four for this season. Efinger hopes that this will lead to more focus on individually coaching the players to improve some of their personal technical flaws, which should pay off for their long term improvement. With big games against teams such as Loomis Chaffee, Choate, Deerfield and the rival Exeter squad, the year’s schedule will certainly keep the team busy. Andover kicks off the beginning of a great season with the first game on Saturday against Loomis Chaffee and the Hopkins School.