Fall Sports Field Hockey Sports

Andover Fights Breast Cancer, Keeps Undefeated Streak Alive

On Wednesday, in a quiet huddle before Andover Field Hockey’s game, Head Coach Kate Dolan reminded her pink-clad players of the significance of the game against Middlesex. The two teams were playing a game for “Play for the Cure,” an organization that raises awareness for breast cancer.

“[Kate Dolan] reminded us all that this game was about more than just field hockey, and there are much harder things that we will have to face in life than being hit with a ball or scored on,” said Lila Dolan ’15.

Andover Field Hockey went on to win the game 3-0. Coupled with a 3-2 victory over St. Paul’s on Saturday, Andover Field Hockey remains Andover’s only undefeated team this season.

The win against St. Paul’s on Saturday presented multiple challenges. Lexi Davidson ’17, a key midfielder and last week’s “Athlete of the Week” in The Phillipian, tore a tendon in her foot and will probably be out for the next week.

“We lost [Davidson] in the first half, and I think we did a really good job of jumping back into it in the second half and working well without her and adjusting without her,” said Eliza Quigley ’15.

To add to the problem, St. Paul’s pushed the ball down the field aggressively, and Andover found itself trailing in a rare late start, down 2-1 in the first half.

“We haven’t had to come from behind a lot this season, so we played with a new sense of urgency,” said Anna Fucillo ’15.

Quick to adjust, Andover turned its offensive focus to passing and switching fields to force the St. Paul’s defense onto its heels.

“We did a really good job of coming back and coming out on top,” said Quigley.

Beth Krikorian ’17 added, “We had good passing, moved the ball down the field well and used our back field when we needed to.”

Except for letting two early break-aways through the line, the Andover defense played well, effectively stopping many of St. Paul’s counter attacks.

“Our defense did such a good job intercepting their balls. We had to be really proactive and not wait for them to get the ball to defend because otherwise they just kept hitting it further and further down the field,” said Nikoletta Toffoloni ’15.

At the beginning of the season, Andover’s defense gave up too many corners. On Wednesday against Middlesex, the team did not give up a single defensive corner, a testament to its improved ability to consistently clear its defensive zone.

Andover’s offense entrenched itself in Middlesex’s defensive zone, resulting in a shutout performance. “We kept the ball in the other team’s end, which was really important for winning the game,” said Hannah Cregg ’16.

When Middlesex managed to push the ball into Andover’s defensive zone, Andover quickly cleared the ball out to the sideline and up the field. This translated into several scoring opportunities for Andover.

“It was good how we got a shutout, and the defense did a good job clearing it out of the circle,” said Elizabeth Welch ’18.

At the final whistle, the game against Middlesex was exactly the type of performance the team needed after its close call against St. Paul’s.

Andover Field Hockey hopes to continue its undefeated season against Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday.