Andover Hopes to Overcome Loss of Entire Starting Lineup of 2009

Despite having almost half the team graduate last year, the Andover Girls Water Polo is looking forward to a strong season this spring. The entire starting lineup graduated, leaving only eight returning players this year. Returning players Captain Alanna Waldman ’10, Taylor Clarke ’10, Kara Daniel ’10, Molly Levene ’12, Jennifer Oesterling ’10, Juliana Reider ’10, Julia Torabi ’12 and Kira Wyckoff ’11 will have to step up and fill these gaps. Water polo is an intense sport that can be very physical and brutal at times. It also greatly tests each player’s endurance. Pleased with the new and returning members of the team, Waldman said, “I was so impressed by how quickly all of the new girls caught on to the drills and how patient everyone was with one another at the first official practice.” There are currently 18 girls on the team thanks to the high number of girls who tried out. Many of them are new to water polo but are performing at a very high level in their first few practices in the pool. New players Julia Smachlo ’13 and Samantha Martinez ’13 look to play a role on the team despite being completely new to the sport. Julia Torabi ’12 said, “I think the beginning of the season is going to be hard, simply because so much of the team is new and we haven’t played with each other enough, but the team has great potential, and I think we are going to end the season really well.” The team’s strength is its quickness in the pool as five out of the eight returning players are varsity swimmers, and a lot of the new players are varsity swimmers as well. This year will definitely be a rebuilding year, working specifically on defense and shutting down the hole, but Andover is confident that as the season goes on, the team will continue to improve and learn each other’s playing styles. “It’s always tricky at first playing with new teammates, but after today’s practice I can already tell we will become an extremely cohesive team,” added Waldman. Despite the varied experience within the team, Andover has a positive outlook toward the season and hopes to be well prepared for its first game against Exeter next Wednesday.