Girls Bounce Back After Early Defeat

Looking to avenge its four set loss to Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) on Saturday, Andover Girls Volleyball stepped up its game against Milton on Wednesday, handing it a three set smackdown 25-15, 25-15 and 25-22. Andover faced NMH for the second time this season, coming off of a 3-1 win in their first match. Andover managed to maintain a lead during the first set, with Co-Captain Alex Becker ’15 playing middle hitter and Erica Shin ’16 playing outside hitter. This was the sixth different rotation the team had seen this season. “Isabel [Taylor ’15] was out because of her hurt finger, so Becker and Shin had to play abnormal positions. They really stepped up,” said Co-Captain Kate Wincek ’14. NMH pulled ahead 22-21 and won two crucial service points to make the score 25-22, giving it a 1-0 lead. Andover battled in the second set to keep up with NMH. Andover worked its way to bring the score to 19-21, with Wincek dominating at the net, hitting through NMH’s defense and blocking her opponents’ powerful shots. Despite this advance, NMH inched its way to a 25-22 score to win the second set. “NMH made some key mistakes in the second set. We should have capitalized on them, but [we] made a few too many of our own,” said Coach Clyfe Beckwith in an e-mail to The Phillipian. NMH drew even with Andover in the third set, leading by only a point 9-8. Serving powerhouse Mandy Reichenbach ’14 stepped up to the service line and fired off five of her trademark killer serves for a 14-10 lead. This display was followed by four sharp serves from Eden Livingston ’15 to put Andover up 19-10. Annette Bell ’16 kept up the pace, earning four more side outs for Andover and executing three carefully-executed winners to win the set 25-16. “We had the goal in the third set to go in and really vary the tempo of our hitting and keep NMH off balance. We were very successful at varying the tempo and power of our hits,” said Wincek. The fourth set consisted of some of the most competitive rallies of the day. The momentum of the game swung back and forth between the teams. Andover led throughout the first half of the set, but NMH stormed back to close out the set 25-22. “NMH played a great game. They showed remarkable resilience defending what I thought was a great attack by Andover,” said Beckwith. Livingston said, “The five point slip in each game caused us to lose such close sets each time, even though we played really well for the majority of the match.” Motivated more than ever to bring home a win, Andover dominated in its match against Milton. With Taylor, Rebecca Federman ’14 and Veronica Hildenbrand ’14 still out, Andover played Becker at middle and Shin at outside hitter again Bell opened the match with three sharp aces. Milton wrestled its way to a 13-11 lead, but Bell and Wincek shut it down with five and six successive service points respectively. Andover closed out the set 25-15. “Milton was a more static team, so it was a great chance for us to really work on changing our tempo up more and exploiting their holes,” said Wincek. Thanks to Wincek’s serves, Andover went up in the second set 4-1. Milton fought back again to trail Andover 8-9. In the second set, Wincek and Reichenbach were an unstoppable serving pair, combining for five and seven consecutive service points, respectively, for a 23-11 lead. Livingston served out the set 25-15. “What gave us the extra edge in the second set was playing up our hitters to break through Milton’s defense,” said Shin. Despite Andover’s early advantages of 10-6 and 12-9, Milton came back in the third set to put the score at 17-16 in their advantage. “Milton’s big hitters brought us down a few times when we couldn’t pick up their kills,” said Shin. Livingston pulled through for Andover, crushing five serves to pull ahead 21-17. Shin followed up with three service points of her own to help Andover take the set 25-22 and the match 3-0. “It was a good learning experience for our team to be able to go through that period of low energy and come out on top still,” said Becker. Andover will hit the road this Saturday to take on Deerfield.