Andover FallsIn Finals

Girls Tennis left it all on the court this last weekend as NEPSACs, defeating Taft 8-1 and Milton 5-2, but losing in the finals to Hotchkiss 7-2.

Following a strong season, Andover used its practiced doubles techniques and improved tactical skills to advance all the way to the finals.

Taft was the lowest seeded team that Andover faced in the tournament, which prepared it for a stronger Milton team in the second round.

The match against Milton was tougher, and after the doubles matches ended, Andover was winning 2-1, but then fell to Milton in a close match on Court 1, tying the score 2-2.

Andover rebounded from this loss and dominated the rest of its singles matches to ultimately come out on top 5-2.

Moving on to the final round, the team faced a familiar foe. Hotchkiss challenged the team earlier this season and was the highest level of competition Andover faced during its regular season.

“Sunday’s final against Hotchkiss caught us a bit off-guard,” said Katherine Tobeason ’14. “As always, they were a strong team; although we played some good matches with Campbell [Howe ’14] and myself pulling off two wins in 5 and 6 singles, the doubles and higher singles had a harder time. Unfortunately, we were not able to take our Senior Captains all the way, but every year we learn a bit more and get a bit stronger, and we look forward to the 2014 championships.”

Andover fell into an early 0-3 hole, losing the doubles matches and the singles matches on courts two and three.

On courts two and four, the matches were both settled in third set super tiebreakers; Hotchkiss pulled away with both victories.

“Overall, I am very proud of how the girls played last weekend as they showed me a lot of fight and heart,” said Coach Andrew Zappala. “I think we are very hungry for a NEPSAC championship, and I expect the girls to come out ready to try and go for it all again next year.”

The team finished up its season on a high note with a win over archrival Exeter 6-3. Katherine Lee ’13 faced Exeter’s talented number one and played a tight match. Leading in the second set 5-2, Lee’s opponent fought her way back into the set tying it 5.

Lee did not give up, however, and stopped the Exeter advance to win the set.

Mackenzie Strabola ’13 played an outstanding match, only losing one game. The rest of the team played well and dominated their singles matches.

“Everyone played very well, and we pulled out a lot of tight matches,” said Lee. “My doubles match with Isabella [Haegg ’16] was tight, but we played more aggressive to pull through in the end.”

The losses the team suffered were very close. Howe and MJ Engel ’13 split sets with their opponents, and collectively the girls only lost one doubles match.

“It was a really good way to end the season with a solid win over Exeter,” said Haegg. “We all played a high level of tennis and being able to pull out a strong win was a good testament to the strength of our team. [Engel] and [Lee] have been great Captains and leaders and have had great seasons, as well as set a good example for the team to follow.”