Volleyball Comes from Behind to Beat Choate

Racking up 21 service points over four sets, Co-Captain Jamie Shenk ’12 led Andover to a win over 2009 Champions Choate. After four hard-fought sets, Andover squeaked out a win and increased its win streak to five games. Andover got off to a slow start, falling behind 3-8 early in the match. On serves from Shenk and middle hitter Alexi Bell ’13, Andover surged ahead and regained an 18-12 lead. Despite this change of momentum, Choate regained its footing, serving several consecutive points and squeaking out a 25-23 win in the first set. Outside hitter Zoe Roschach ’12 said, “We really let the first game slip through our fingers because we were unfocused.” After a disappointing performance in the first game, Andover came back with a vengeance. Setter Chelsea Ward ’12 stepped up to the service line for Andover and served the team to a 6-0 advantage. Choate responded to Andover’s strong start and dug itself out of the 6-0 hole, tying the score at six all. The teams traded points until Chioma Ngwudo ’11 went back to serve. She delivered ace after ace and Andover jumped out to a 17-9 lead. Andover prevailed, 25-17. Choate charged ahead to start the third set and led by as much as eight in the late stages of the set. Shenk stepped up to the service line and made up some of the deficit for Andover, and fellow Co-Captain Kemi Amurawaiye ’11 finished the job, serving the team to a 24-23 lead. The Choate outside hitter took a hard swing right into the block of Bell. She stuffed the ball onto the Choate side of the court and Andover took the set, 25-23. In the fourth and what would be final game, the lead changed hands seven times. Shenk served the team to a comfortable 17-12 lead and Andover dominated the rest of the game. Bell served an ace to end the set, giving Andover the 25-17 win. Amurawaiye said, “It was a very hard fought game. There were many close points and Choate put up a valiant effort. Though in the end we pulled together as a team and eventually came through.” High-scorer Roschach agreed, saying, “An increase in determination led to the three straight wins.” Roschach led the Andover offense with 13 kills, followed by Shenk and Amurawaie, each with seven, and Bell who had six. Ward recorded a remarkable 39 assists and several kills of her own. Bell and Ngwudo earned two and three stuff blocks, respectively, keeping the Choate offense at bay. Ngwudo added to this solid defensive showing with a five-ace performance from the service line. Shenk led the team’s serving with a remarkable 21 service points. Coach Clyfe Beckwith said, “A well fought game that provided strong hitting and blocking, some magnificent saves and defense; the rhythm of the match was marred by streaks of good serving and poor serve-reception on both sides.”  The win improved Andover’s record to 5-1 and was the fifth consecutive win for the team. After a weekend off, Andover will play a scrimmage Monday against Central Catholic before hosting Exeter at home next Wednesday.