Co-Captain Kinsey Yost ’15 found the net with a rocket from outside the box to score the first goal of the season and give Andover Girls Soccer a 1-0 lead over Milton in the 49th minute at home on Wednesday.
Then, with two minutes left on the clock, rookie forward Zoe Oasis ’17 proved her athletic prowess as she juked the goalie and secured Andover’s 2-0 season-opening victory.
This win helps build momentum to kick off Andover’s season. Despite graduating five key Seniors, the revamped team with 14 returners is striving for success.
The team finished with a record of 7-8-3 last season, with several of its wins against top teams in the division. Some of the most notable graduated Seniors include last season’s leading scorer Hannah Guzzi ’14 and defensive powerhouse Diana Tchadi ’14. To adjust to this drastic change, the team has added five new players and is looking to shift to a more defensive mindset, concentrating on winning the ball in the back and coordinating play from there, according to Head Coach Elisa Joel.
Several new recruits will bring a new dynamic to the team. Post-Graduate Talia Rockmore ’15 will be on the starting lineup as a central midfielder, helping hold up the core of the team. Oasis will spearhead the team’s attack, and Kaitlin Hoang ’17 will boost the defense as an outside back. Midfielder Courtney Masotti ’17 and defender Nikki Dlesk ’17 have moved up from the Junior Varsity team.
“[Oasis] will be a powerhouse up front. She’s really hungry to score and has a lot of soccer experience,” said Co-Captain Alex Thomas ’15.
The 2013 season featured a rather inexperienced defensive line and two new goalkeepers, Antonia Tammaro ’17 and Co-Captain Elizabeth Kemp ’15. Now the back line is at full force, consisting of Natalia Suarez ’17, Deyana Marsh ’17, Thomas and Yost.
Joel said, “I actually think we could have one of the best back lines in prep school. I’m really excited. I think our strength is going to come from our back. It’s a great place for strength to come from, and it gives the team a lot of confidence to attack.”
Beyond the defensive side of the team, chemistry as a whole will be one of Andover’s strong suits. Yost identifies creating an incredibly unified, well-meshed group as one of her and her Co-Captains’ main goals.
Looking ahead to the season, the team is not primarily focused on winning silverware. Instead, Joal stressed Andover’s mantra of playing one game at a time and the importance of defense.
“We’ve always had the mentality that we won’t look beyond our next game, so I would like to see the team have one of the toughest defenses,” said Joel. “I think that’s a very reasonable goal, because we were so new last year in the back we conceded a lot in the back. My hope is that we will be tough to beat defensively.”
“We all want to enjoy our last season together. [Andover Girls Soccer] feels like my family, and I believe that we will be successful this season if we work together,” added Thomas.
The team will play the second game of its season on Saturday at Rivers.