Girls Start Undefeated

Four goals from Co-Captain Julia Smachlo ’13 and Lauren Conte ’14 were enough for Andover Girls Water Polo to overcome arch-rival Exeter at home on Wednesday, 15-7. The win came after two big wins against Williston 9-1 and Loomis 16-7 started the season on Saturday in a doubleheader. Andover’s victory against Loomis on Saturday was the first time the team has defeated Loomis in the history of the program. The team had to adjust its strategy from Saturday going into their game against Exeter on Wednesday, for Exeter has a very physical and fast team. “The fast breaks that were helpful to us on Saturday were a lot more difficult to achieve against Exeter,” said Smachlo. In the first quarter, Andover started out with a lot of momentum and scored five goals quickly, taking the lead 5-1. Exeter, however, came back in the second quarter, cutting Andover’s lead to only one goal. Strong offensive performances by Smachlo and Conte, and Corinna Torabi ’14, who scored three goals, allowed Andover to bounce back and ultimately win the game. Despite graduating four of its starters last year and adding 14 new players, Andover Girls Water Polo has bonded very well and has a great team dynamic. “We communicated very well and were able to capitalize on our opponents’ weaknesses.” Andover faced a disadvantage in its first few games of the season against Williston and Loomis. Both teams had already played a game this season, while Andover was just starting its championship hunt. The team quickly overcame this disadvantage, however, and realized from the beginning that it was faster than Williston and Loomis. Using this valuable knowledge in both games, Andover moved the ball down the pool quickly and broke away from the opposing defenses, creating one-on-one opportunities with the goalie. “Not only are they encouraging and helping the new players throughout the games,” said Powers, “but they also scored many goals and are doing a great job on defense.” O’Shea hopes to improve on fundamentals early in the season such as shot placement, passing and situational awareness. Refining these skills will give the team an even better chance to win the New England Championships again this year. Andover Girls Water Polo prepares for a three game road swing with games against Williston on Saturday, Suffield on Wednesday and Deerfield one week from Saturday.