Andover Girls Tennis opened its season this week on a high note, defeating Groton 6-3 and St. Paul’s 6-2.
Andover beat Groton with close matches at the first, second, fourth and fifth spots on the ladder, but lost at the third and sixth spots.
The wins at the one and two spots were particularly impressive, seeing as both faced talented opponents, but Andover still managed to come out on top.
“My personal match was very close. I played the girl last year in which we split sets, and I won. This time it was also close, and I ended up winning 8-6. She was really athletic, so I was excited to beat her,” said Katherine Lee ’13, Andover’s number one.
Camille Price ’15 also played a close match but managed to best her opponent at the number two spot.
Lee and Price lost close doubles as well.
Both Juniors, Isabella Haegg ’16 and Larissa Danovitch ’16, lost their matches, but exhibited strength as players.
“I think it was a tough match because it was the first match of the year, so of course we all had some nerves coming in, but I think, in the end, it proved how well we have been training these past few weeks,” said MJ Engel ’13. “I think that we definitely got over our nerves and showed that we have a really promising season ahead of us.”
The team was without Lee because of illness at the St. Paul’s match and focused on consistency, movement and being more aggressive, particularly with its doubles strategy. Andover won 6-2, with three victorious doubles and losses at the one and two slots for singles.
The St. Paul’s one and two players were very skilled and played close matches against Andover’s one and two: Haegg and Price.
Price played a close match, and her opponent was a good baseline player with excellent ball placement and good pace. Due to injury, Price’s opponent was out last year and Price was unaware of her skill level, but she played a close match regardless.
Haegg lost 7-6 in the first set, a close tie breaker at 8-6, then finally lost the second set 6-1. She had many opportunities to pull ahead, and there were moments when she was up 5-4 and 6-5.
“As Coach [Andrew] Zappala told me after the match, I determined the outcome of the match because most points were due to my unforced errors or my winners,” said Haegg. “She did have occasional winners and was more consistent; her aim was to keep it in the court and keep going.”
“When I got positive momentum I got impatient and focused too much on the score, resulting in careless mistakes,” added Haegg.
In the second set, Haegg rallied back with momentum, but it wasn’t enough to pull through. Both Haegg and Price, however, dominated in their doubles match and won 8-6. After St. Paul’s one and two players, there was a huge drop off in talent and skill level for the opposing team at the bottom of the ladder.
St. Paul’s struggled immensely against the bottom of Andover’s ladder. Campbell Howe ’14, playing at number five, also won easily 6-1 and 6-2.
What gave Andover an extra edge this week was the team’s focus on doubles and movement and poaching at the net. The team will face Nobles this Friday at home.