In the crucial third set against Exeter on Saturday, Andover Girls Volleyball came back from behind with an eight-point turnaround to win 3-0.
Undefeated at 15-0 and ranked first in the league, Andover solidified its top seed in the playoffs with the win.
“We had amazing energy when we played Exeter,” said Kate Wincek ’14. “The crowd was really into it and helped us to push through to play some of our strongest volleyball of the season.”
Throughout the game, Andover’s serving prowess helped the team come out on top of some tough situations. Three aces from Annette Bell ’16 and two aces each from Olivia Bren ’13 and Lucia McGloin ’13, along with Wincek’s eight unanswered service points in the third set, crushed Exeter’s morale.
“We played hard and to our level of play,” said Amanda Simard ’13. “The entire game, we never let up.”
Four straight service points from Annette Bell secured a 4-0 lead for Andover in the first set. The momentum carried on through the set, and Andover quickly sealed the set 25-16.
In the second set, Exeter came back to take the lead four times before Andover broke its opposition’s rhythm and pushed forward from down 11-12 to up 14-12. Wincek ’13 then delivered five service points, and Captain Alexi Bell ’13 served to close off the set 25-15.
With the support of a full crowd, Andover took the third set 25-23. “We fed off the energy from the fans and also from our own energy,” said Simard.
“Being on the court, listening to everyone… the support was awesome,” added Abby Chung ’13.
After allowing dangerous opportunities for Exeter to come back in the first and third sets, Andover consistently managed to adjust its play and power through. Chung said that Andover’s ability to battle back came from practice.
“We practiced a lot to make sure we could communicate even if we couldn’t hear ourselves speak,” added Chung.
“We worked on knowing what the other team would do,” said Coach Clyfe Beckwith. “We talked about where the holes are, who hits hard, who we’re going to serve to. We talked about where you need to be, [and] where you need to hit. There’s strategy involved, knowing the other team.”
With a bye in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Andover goes into the semifinals with confidence. At St. Paul’s on Saturday, Andover will face either Northfield Mount Hermon or Choate.
“We’ve built our skills up. The one thing you can’t control is the chemistry, and we’re doing great. I feel great about the team, and I feel optimistic about the playoffs,” said Beckwith.
“We need to keep that same energy, intensity and desire to win [that we had against Exeter] for this weekend,” said Simard. “We’re ready for whatever comes our way.”