Andover Girls Lacrosse started its regular season off with a tough 14-9 loss in a tight game against Middlesex School last Wednesday despite four goals from Brooke Van Valkenburg ’12. Andover anticipated a challenging matchup on Wednesday, as Middlesex has given Andover trouble in the past. Said Co-Captain Emily Rademacher ’11, “Going into the game, we definitely expected Middlesex to be a strong team, as it has a couple of really good players and is a solid team overall.” As it continued to shake the rust off in the first game of the season, Andover got caught on its heels in the beginning of the first half. Middlesex came out with six unanswered goals, causing Andover to fall behind quickly. “As a team, we struggled with confidence and poise in the first half,” said defender Haley Scott ’11. Andover refused to get stuck in the hole it created for itself in the early part of the game, however. As the game neared halftime, Andover got its act together to put three points on the scoreboard and get back into the game. Middlesex continued to battle, leaving Andover down 8-3 at the end of the first half. “We were disappointed by our actions in the first half, so we definitely went into the second half determined to turn the game around,” said Cara Daly ’13. The team started out very strong in the second half of the game, pumping out six more goals while staying strong on defense. Defenders Hailey Novis ’13, Leah Humes ’12, and Scott did an exceptional job of picking up ground balls and making key interceptions in crucial situations down the stretch. “Once we started working together and working well under pressure, we had a lot more opportunities to score. We saw a huge improvement in the second half throughout the entire field,” said Scott. However, Middlesex continued to inch its way back in the middle of the second half, also putting up six goals of its own, eventually bringing the final score to 14-9 in the end. Scorers for Andover included Van Valkenburg with four goals, Greer McBeth ’12 with one goal, and Co-Captains Rademacher and Summer Washburn ’11 with one goal and three goals, respectively. “Even though we out-hustled and out-played them in the second half, we were not able to make up for our mistakes in the beginning of the game,” said Rademacher. Andover will next face off against Noble & Greenough School at home this Friday at 5:15.