Andover Field Beats Exeter for First Time in Three Years

After coming up short in overtime during last year’s rivalry matchup, Andover battled through the rain to claim an exciting 3-0 win against Exeter and began the New England playoffs with another shutout victory against Tabor on Wednesday. “Even though we had a better record than Exeter, we knew we could not take that for granted and had play our best game,” said midfielder Natalee Sohn ’11. “These games can easily go either way.” Primarily played between the 25-yard lines, the first half brought no scores for either team. Andover defended its goal well, blocking Exeter’s one corner, but failed to make any shots. “I think the first half was a challenge for us with all the hype built up around Andover/Exeter,” said defender Kellie Walsh ’11. “But once the game actually began, the team really focused and for a lot of us we went out seeking revenge.” Only 13 seconds into the second half, Mari Walsh ’11 found an open Katie Riley ’10 in the center of the circle. Riley then sent a shot just by the Exeter goalie to give Andover a 1-0 lead. Kellie Walsh said, “It completely took the air out of Exeter’s tires and gave us the confidence needed to get the next couple of goals and sustain the offensive attack.” Just three minutes later, Andover scored a second goal and netted a third midway through the second half. Exeter only had one shot on net in the second half which Andover goalie Shannon McSweeney ’11 blocked with a powerful slide-tackle save. “I think the most important thing about playing in an Andover/Exeter game is to just do what you normally do before every other game,” said Kellie Walsh. “Just make yourself feel comfortable and when the whistle blows let everything else around you fade away.” Coach Kate Dolan said, “One of our team’s greatest strengths is supporting one another and the girls did that extremely well in the second half and their efforts were rewarded with a terrific 3-0 win.” Saturday’s game against Exeter concluded Andover’s undefeated regular season, but the team continued its winning ways in its first round postseason game against Tabor, winning 4-0. In the Wednesday quarterfinal game against Tabor, Andover jumped ahead early, as Riley scored on a cross from Mari Walsh. Later in the half, Tabor worked the ball to the Andover goal, firing two shots. McSweeney quickly turned aside the shots to her teammates, allowing midfielder Eliza Flynn ’10 to charge into the offensive zone and score Andover’s second goal with only nine seconds remaining in the first half. Andover came into the second half looking to put the game away. A few minutes into the half, the team set up for a corner shot. Forward Riley broke fast with the ball and smashed a blistering shot into the Tabor net to put Andover up 3-0. Andover held Tabor scoreless for the remainder of the game, and finished off the win with a final goal from midfielder Summer Washburn ’11. Set to play its second game of the tournament this Saturday against Hotchkiss, Andover looks ahead with high hopes of earning a spot in the championship game. Coach Dolan said, “We are simply hoping to continue to do what has brought us success all along: pass and move, support the ball, back each other up on defense and use our willpower to be relentless from start to finish.”