Volleyball Falls to Hotchkiss

After breezing through the quarterfinals against St. Paul’s, second seed Andover headed into the semi-finals against third seed Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss stormed back after losing the first set, relying on the explosiveness of its middle hitter, as the defending champs defeated Andover in four sets. Andover played well early, moving seamlessly across the court and allowing nothing to hit the floor. The strong defense of Viola Rothschild ’10 and blocking of Alexi Bell ’13 and Co-Captain Meghan McCafferty ’10 challenged the Hotchkiss offense, and Andover cruised to a 25-12 win. In the next three sets, Hotchkiss adjusted to the Andover defense, finding holes in blocks and getting the ball down on the Andover court. Andover also tried to change things up, opting for Chelsea Ward ’12 to move from setter to libero, and moving Katy Svec ’10 to back-row defense. Both players did well for Andover, returning as many balls as possible. Andover also moved outside hitter Rothschild to weak-side hitter, while Kemi Amurawaiye ’11 changed spots with her and moved to the outside. This switch was another attempt by Andover to change the tempo of the game. Both hitters adjusted well to the new positions, each racking up a few kills and several touches. Despite Andover’s efforts, Hotchkiss continued to power through the Andover defense, while also shutting down the Andover offense. Facing some of the strongest serving of the season, Andover had some trouble with its service return, making it hard to set up any offense. Andover’s strong play was not enough, as Hotchkiss took the second, third, and fourth sets, 25-14, 25-19 and 25-20 respectively, and the team moved on to the finals against Choate. Bright spots for Andover included brilliant hitting by Amurawaiye, as well as the serving of Ward. With a 12-1 record heading into the game and a win against Hotchkiss earlier in the season, Andover hoped to duplicate its successes in the semi-finals. While the season did not turn out as planned for second seeded Andover, there were still many positive aspects of the season. “The 2009 team, like other teams in the league, battled sickness and injuries throughout the season, [but a] 12-2 is a season to be proud of,” said Coach Clyfe Beckwith. Coach Beckwith said after the final game, “We wish our seniors all the best: Meghan, Melissa, Viola and Katy. I want to thank them for their hard work. It’s been a tremendous honor being allowed to coach them all.”