Andover Girls Varsity Squash’s strong 6-1 victory over Choate this past week provided the team with healthy optimism heading into a showdown with powerhouse Winsor School on Wednesday. Ultimately, however, Winsor’s experience, talent and depth was too much to handle in a 6-1 loss.
Against Choate, Captain and second seed Madeleine Mayhew ’15, fifth seed Zoe Oasis ’17 and seventh seed Avery Westerfield ’18 swept their opponents 3-0, while third seed Hannah Burns ’15, fourth seed Claire Kister ’16 and sixth seed Jennifer Lee ’18 rounded up the other wins. Top seed Camille Price ’15 was Andover’s only lost point.
“It’s always tough to be on a bus for hours and come out prepared and energized. Thankfully, we had a great warm-up on the track and a lot of support in the crowd, which really helped,” said Kister, who won her match 3-1.
The three quick sweeps were good confidence boosters for the players and encouraged the other players for their own matches. Mayhew won her games 12-10, 11-3 and 11-4.
Oasis stayed in control for most of the match, taking her sets 11-3, 13-11 and 11-6, while Westerfield turned in a dominant 11-1, 11-4 and 11-5 victory.
“Choate was a really good match. The team was in sync. Our mentality was that we thought we were going to win, and we really fed off of each other. As a team, we worked together, played together and fought really hard together,” said Oasis.
Despite her best efforts, Price was swept by her opponent, but this minor setback didn’t affect the rest of the team, a testament to the players’ focus and determination.
Though she fell behind early, Burns took the final two sets, 11-4 and 11-5, to come out with a 3-2 victory in an exhausting five-set match. Lee won her match 3-2.
The large margin of victory over Choate gave Andover huge momentum, but its next opponent, Winsor, came into the match with a 5-2 record. All five of Winsor’s wins had been 7-0 sweeps.
“Winsor has always been a really tough team for us to play, as they swept us last year. We still were very pumped and positive going into the match. Coming off of this loss, we are motivated to improve on our mental game. As a team, we do a good job of fighting hard, but I think we need to do it in an efficient way where we don’t lose confidence in our ability and in ourselves,” said Lee.
Oasis, after her sweep against Choate, moved up to fourth seed for the Winsor match and turned in a 3-0 sweep, good for Andover’s only point of the day.
“Oasis had a great match. She knew her opponent and was very mentally strong and aggressive,” said Kister.
Price, the top seed, Burns and Lee all fell 3-0, while Mayhew, Kister and Westerfield all lost 3-1.
Though the 6-1 loss was disappointing, the girls are optimistic about the experience they gained playing against a superior team, which will prepare them to play competitors like Deerfield and Groton.
“Each of our recent matches has enabled us to recognize our strengths and weaknesses both as a team and as individuals. As a team, we pride ourselves on our ability to support one another in a sport that is often considered individualized. I am confident that our hard work during practice will continue to pay off. This loss is not a setback; rather, it is an opportunity for us to realize that we can contend with any team and tailor our drills to bring us to the next level,” said Price.
Andover will take the court next against Taft and Loomis in a three-team match on Saturday.