Undefeated heading into the New England semifinals, Andover Girls Volleyball fell just short in a heartbreaking 2-3 loss to Choate and lost the chance to defend its title.
Andover gave up two sets early on but battled back to tie the game at 2-2 before dropping the fifth set.
“We did not play our best in the beginning,” said Alex Becker ’15. “We didn’t pick it up until halfway through the third set.”
Choate came out firing and took the first set 22-25. Andover continued to struggle, dropping the second set 18-25 while Choate maintained its momentum. Andover fought back in the third set, clinching a 25-17 victory to begin a heated comeback. The team kept its energy to take a critical fourth set 25-21, leveling the playing field and forcing a final set.
“There were times when we played some really good volleyball,” said Captain Alexi Bell ’13.
Andover started off strong in the fifth set, surging to win the first five points. However, Choate went on a hot streak to overtake Andover and earn a 9-15 win.
“A strong server came up and they took a few points away from us so we were behind 6-14,” said Isabel Taylor ’15. “Lucia McGloin [’13] brought us back a few points, but we still lost.”
To conclude the team’s hard fought run, Coach Clyfe Beckwith said, “What an incredible ride it has been these past 11 weeks, and I could not be more proud of these 14 players, team of coaches and managers.”
“We beat ourselves,” said Bell. “We sort of let Choate get ahead when we shouldn’t have. They were able to sustain their momentum longer, which is what let them be able to get points and keep us from scoring. We didn’t have enough time to come back.”
It was an especially disappointing loss for a team that had beaten Choate 3-1 earlier in the season. During the season, Andover had always risen to the challenge of overcoming slow starts.
“I think our undefeated status was our downfall, because we were so used to winning that we didn’t think we could lose,” said Taylor.
Bell didn’t think that the post-season overshadowed Andover’s dominant season and incredible growth as a team. “Overall, the season was so much fun, it was probably one of our best seasons,” Bell said.