Andover Volleyball Off to Strong Start; Beat Loomis, St. Paul’s 3-0

Led by Co-Captains Megan McCafferty ’10 and Melissa Yan ’10, Andover Volleyball is off to an undefeated start, defeating both Loomis Chaffee and St. Paul’s in three sets each. Andover opened the regular season on Saturday in a home contest against league opponent Loomis Chaffee. Coming out strong in set one, Andover gained an early lead and stayed ahead for the remainder of the set. Strong middle hits by McCafferty and Alexi Bell ’13, assisted by Yan, drove the offense, as Andover easily clinched the first set, 25-10. In the second set, Loomis came out with a renewed energy, catching Andover on its heels. Strong serving on the part of Loomis and critical defensive errors by Andover landed the team in an early hole, at one time trailing Loomis by as many as nine points. After a quick timeout, Andover hustled back onto the court, winning point after point until the lead was in sight. Impressive blocks by Bell in the middle shut down Loomis’s offense and timely serving by newcomer Chelsea Ward ’12 led the Andover comeback. The team eventually took the second set 27-25. “This game proved what this team is capable of, and it was great for some team bonding. Being able to come back from such a big deficit shows us more than just winning would,” said Yan of the second set. In the third set, Andover once again fell behind, as Loomis gained an early 5-1 lead. Despite the deficit, Andover regained its composure and defeated Loomis after taking the third set 25-14. “It was good to finally get on the court and experience some real game energy,” said Yan. Coming off of the season opening victory, Andover traveled to St. Paul’s on Wednesday to challenge another league opponent. This time, it was the perfect serving and defense of Jamie Shenk ’12 that propelled Andover to another 3-0 victory. In the first set, Andover got off to slow start as they finally put their new, two setter offense to the test. Once the starting six became comfortable with each other, their offense took off. Andover earned one particularly impressive point when setter Yan set a tight opposite ball to Kemi Amuriwaye ’11. Amuriwaye jumped up, tipped the ball over and placed it right on the line behind the St. Paul’s block. After taking set one 25-18, Andover once again found itself in an early hole. However, in the middle of the set Shenk delivered key serves, including two aces. Her heavily top-spinning serves consistently fell just beyond the reach of the diving St. Paul’s back row, swinging the momentum back in Andover’s favor. Andover took the set, 25-18. In the third and final set Andover proved its strength, handily defeating St. Paul’s, 25-9. Shenk was a perfect 14 of 14 serving on the day, followed closely by Yan who went 15 for 16. The pair combined for a total of eight aces. The two wins give Andover some much needed leverage heading into the weekend, when the team will travel to Northfield Mount Hermon to face both NMH and Taft.