Girls Look for Third Championship

Two-time defending champion of the Big East Title, Andover Softball looks to use its experience and depth to defend the title in 2013.

Andover was the first team in the tournament’s 12 year history to win back-to-back championships.

Andover will look to Co-Captains Abby Chung ’13 and Kayla Maloney ’13, along with Seniors Devon Burger ’13, Caitlin Clancy ’13 and Nikki Pelletier ’13, to carry last year’s momentum into the upcoming season.

“Both Kayla and Abby lead by example; they are talented players who play multiple positions, work hard on and off the field and unselfishly mentor younger teammates,” wrote Head Coach Peter Drench in an e-mail to The Phillipian. “They’ll bat in the heart of our lineup and set the tone for us defensively.”

“Caitlin has battled through injuries to a knee and is a steadying influence at first base,” continued Drench. “Nikki is an agile, strong catcher who works well with all our pitchers. Devon is versatile, having played a number of positions during her PA softball career.”

Maloney and Chung were a vital part of last season’s success. Maloney struck out 46 and batted .500 to earn her second MVP award in the Big East Tournament, and Chung played spectacular defense at shortstop.

“We’ll lean more on our Seniors earlier on, but, then again, most of our younger players gained a lot of playing time last year and they’ll certainly contribute, too,” said Drench.

In preparation for the team’s first game, Andover will work on finalizing the roster and getting a feel for the season.

“We have a lot of sorting out to do. Still, we’re a bit farther along than usual at this time of the season. Whatever our first result, we hope to improve significantly on it by the end of the season,” said Drench

While Andover has shown strong success in the past two seasons, the team will begin with a clean slate, rather than dwell on their past accomplishments.

“Past achievements are nice to look back on but aside from maybe imparting some additional confidence because ‘we’ve been there before,’ they don’t have much bearing on what we do in the present,” said Drench. “If anything, defending champs become special targets; our opponents are more motivated to beat us.”

With an extremely tight-knit team that has the leadership of veteran players and two strong captains, the team hopes to win the Big East Tournament title for the third year in a row.

Andover will kick off its season on Saturday, when it faces Andover High and Lowell High at home.