Andover Spikes NMH and Exeter

Co-captain Jamie Shenk ’12 served nine consecutive serving points, followed by seven more serves from co-captain Chelsea Ward ’12 in Andover’s 3-1 victory over Milton Academy on Wednesday.

Andover dominated the opening set, finishing 25-8. Backed by strong serves, the team came out quickly against Milton and wrapped up the first game with few errors and several more small service runs. In the second set, Andover powered its way to a 25-15 win.

Andover opened the third game with a less decisive lead than the last two sets, but Shelby Carpenter ’12’s serving opened up an 18-11 advantage for Andover. Suffering from a lapse in focus, Andover made a string of errors that drove the game to a fourth and final set.

Thanks to more efficient kills and stronger serves, the team rallied in the fourth set for another 25-8 win over Milton.

Last Saturday, Andover avenged its September 28 loss to Northfield Mount Hermon by thrashing NMH with a three-game win. Shenk led the team in kills with 21 and hit an efficient 34 of 39. Ward dished out 30 assists for Andover, and Suzy Flaster ’12 had 24 digs.

When asked about the difference between both NMH games, Flaster said, “We really just played our own game and let them [NMH] make mistakes. The last NMH game, we were slow getting into the first and second games, and this time we immediately went out and played hard. Our passing has also improved a lot since the last time we played them, which made a big difference.”

Last Wednesday, Andover crushed Exeter in a three-game victory. The win reflected progress in the team’s cohesiveness.

Ward said, “We played like more of a team today, with a lot of energy and court awareness; this is probably the best game we’ve played all season.”

Andover came out strong against Exeter, with excellent serving in the first set beginning with Carpenter’s five consecutive service points. Alexi Bell ’13 then propelled Andover ahead, serving several consecutive points and bringing the score to 22-11. Bell led the team with four aces and served 14 of 15.

In the second set, Shenk pulled off six consecutive service points, and Ward started the third set with an unbroken streak of serves, earning Andover a 9-1 lead.

Shenk said, “What changed against Exeter, I think was our confidence. In some of our earlier matches, if we’ve lost a couple of points, we’ve become scared to hit hard balls and end up tipping or setting the ball over rather than taking a strong attack, which has hurt us, but against Exeter we kept attacking even when we missed a few points, which kept Exeter on their heels.”

With the season looking up, Andover will wear pink headbands and socks in support of breast cancer awareness in its “Dig Pink” match at Deerfield this Saturday.