Andover Trumps Exeter

Andover crushed Exeter 3-0 for the second time this season in front of a huge crowd at Exeter last Saturday, continuing its unstoppable momentum heading into the quarterfinal game against St. Paul’s this Wednesday. It went on to sweep St. Paul’s in straight sets 3-0, earning a spot in the semifinals of the New England Tournament. Opening as the underdog, Exeter showed spirit in the first set as it led 19-17 and threatened to steal the first game from Andover’s clutches. But Andover’s dominance under pressure resumed, and they came back with strong serving to win the first set 25-20. The second game was a repeat of the first, and while Andover took a big early lead, Exeter rebounded and took the lead late. This time it was a long rally, filled with many blocks, digs and spikes until Andover finally took the game-changing point and went on to win the second set 25-19. After Andover earned decisive wins in the first two sets, Exeter seemed to give up in the last game, and Andover took the last set of the rivalry match 25-13. After the game, the players attributed much of their success to the overwhelming Andover crowd. “Playing in front of such a huge crowd was amazing! It was so much fun. I didn’t realize how many people would actually be there. I thought it was just all hype,” said Alexi Bell ’13 on her first Andover/Exeter experience. “All I can say is after this weekend, I will be looking forward to Andover/Exeter every year.” Andover’s win in the rivalry game propelled them into the playoffs as the second seed in the eight-team New England Championships. On Wednesday, Andover played St. Paul’s School in a quarterfinal showdown. While the team was certainly looking ahead to a tough semifinal game, they had to make sure they did not take #7 seed St. Paul’s lightly. In the first set, Andover took a commanding 20-6 lead on 5 consecutive service points from Jamie Shenk ’12 and Bell. After mixing up the rotation and substituting in some of their bench players, they took the first game of the match 25-11. The second set began differently, as St. Paul’s started out strong and took a 13-8 lead. Luckily for Andover, veteran Viola Rothschild ’10 took position at the service line and she delivered with eight straight service points, leading the team to a 25-16 victory in the second set. The final and decisive third set began with St. Paul’s taking jumping out to an early lead. With the game on the line, Sarah Onorato ’11 stepped up and fired of 10 consecutive serves to put the game out of question and seal it for the home team. Andover will travel to Exeter to take on Hotchkiss in a crucial semifinal game. If Andover wins it will go on to the final game for the New England Championships.