Andover Stuns Top-Seeded Loomis for Second Championship Title in Three Years

With four minutes left in the New England Championship game against Loomis, Anna Fang ’10 sent a free kick to Julia Rafferty ’10, who headed the ball toward the net. Emily Rademacher ’11 then tipped the header in for her second goal of the year, breaking the scoreless tie and giving Andover its second championship over Loomis in three years. Rademacher said, “I was pretty excited when the goal happened. It didn’t really even hit me until I turned around and saw Brisco ’10 and Caroline O’Sullivan ’10 running at me screaming.” She continued, “But despite how everyone’s been talking, it wasn’t a ‘game-winning’ goal. It was the team that won the game for us. Seeded seventh, we were the underdog, but we weren’t playing not to lose, we were playing to win. That’s what kept us in the competition, that’s what helped us beat the number 1 seed, and that’s why were are the 2009 NEPSAC Champions.” The game was a rematch of the 2007 Championship, in which Loomis fell to Andover. “After the semis, we had to immediately recharge for our final against Loomis the next day. We knew we had to buckle down to beat them,” said Doherty. Andover tied Loomis earlier this season when Andover had been suffering many injuries and was still trying to get acclimated as a team. This time around Andover brought its polished, healthy team. Andover played exceptional soccer all game against the very versatile and talented team. Loomis is known for its dominant midfield; however, Andover took advantage of the weak defense to keep the pressure on Loomis. It seemed that everything Andover worked on this season all pulled together in the Championship game. When Loomis was charged with a penalty, Andover took advantage of the opportunity with Rademacher’s Championship-winning goal. The underdog win was a feeling that Andover players will never forget. Said Co-Captain Goalkeeper Alex Farrell ’10, “This is my second time winning the Championship, and this year just proved that anything is possible. We started as a bottom seed, but we worked our way to the top.” To earn its spot in the championship game, Andover had to face third seeded Brooks. This game was also scoreless until the very end of the second half when Brooks was charged with a handball. Cayla Hatton ’12 took a pass from the sidelines and one-touched the ball towards the net. A desperate Brooks defender hit the ball away with her hands giving Andover a penalty kick. Meaghan Doherty ’10 took the penalty shot and scored the lone goal in the match sending Andover to the finals. Brooks had a lot of opportunities and generated a lot of offense, but it wasn’t enough against Andover’s rock solid defense. With Alex Farrell ’10 in goal and Courtney Macdonald ’11, Kira Wyckoff ’11, Kitten Sherrill ’10 and Anna Fang ’10 protecting their home territory, Andover’s defense seemed virtually impenetrable. It was a well-deserved win, and gave the team confidence for the Championship game. “The Brooks game was a battle, and we gave it our all, said Doherty. Andover’s ascent to the Championship win was quite an accomplishment, considering the team had to beat Nobles and Brooks, two top-seeded teams. The team rallied and fought for three one-goal wins, holding all three opponents scoreless.