With Andover trailing by a score of 16-17 to Northfield Mount Hermon in the second set, Co-Captain Kate Wincek ’14 fired off nine consecutive service points to steal the set 25-17, sparking a major Andover surge.
Andover Girls Volleyball ended the game with a 3-1 victory over NMH.
“[It was] the best set I have seen a team play in my coaching career,” said Coach Clyfe Beckwith.
After falling 18-25 in the first set, Andover switched to a different formation to help swing the momentum of the game during the second set.
“NMH is a team with a lot of talented individual players, but they lack strong communication skills,” said Co-Captain Alex Becker ’15. “In order to win, we had to start putting the second ball over and hitting it in between players, instead of just cranking the ball anywhere on the court.”
This change in strategy, along with skillful individual performances, allowed Andover to draw and eventually overtake NMH.
“[Wincek’s] serves throughout the match definitely helped the team to get a healthy gap over NMH,” said Mandy Reichenbach ’14.
Andover dominated the court in the third set. Rebecca Federman ’14 widened the gap with five consecutive service points, and Annette Bell ’16, who claimed five aces and 18 successful serves throughout the match, closed out the set 25-10 with eight service points.
“We focused on the basics, keeping the ball on their side of the net and letting them make the mistakes,” said Reichenbach.
However, the fourth set proved to be tumultuous for Andover. After jumping to a 16-8 lead, the team collapsed when Federman injured her ankle and allowed NMH to tie the score at 17-17.
Down 24-21 and serving under intense pressure, Reichenbach executed three sharp serves, giving Andover a chance at match point. Bell then stepped up to the challenge once again and settled the match with a 27-25 win in the fourth set.
“There were a lot of incredible plays,” said Becker.
Andover’s performance on Saturday is reassuring after a disappointing loss to Loomis the week before. The comeback proved that the team had the dynamic energy and skill level necessary to recover under pressure.
“[This game] was the first time I felt like we really came together as a team,” said Isabel Taylor ’15.
With a week’s rest until its next game against Choate, Andover looks to focus and work on its weaknesses. The team has had trouble gaining momentum in the beginning of games this season, and this match was no exception.
“Going forward I would love to see us wake up a little faster and use all of the skills we possess, because when we do, we’re unbeatable,” said Becker.
Andover fell to Choate in the semifinals of the New England Championships last year, so the team is hoping for redemption this Saturday.
Taylor concluded, “We are going to keep working hard in practice, and I can’t wait to beat Choate next Saturday.”