Despite strong efforts, Andover Girls Water Polo came up short with two losses this week against Williston and Suffield. The team now holds a regular season record of 1-4 and is in a four-way tie for fourth place in its league.
Head Coach Dan O’ Shea said, “The big thing I want the team to realize is how well they really are playing. Our record does not reflect how well we have played. Every single game has come down to a one point game, and that is unheard of in water polo.”
In its game against Williston, the team’s offensive momentum suffered from a loss of players and an extended playing period. Ultimately, the team fell 4-3, suffering its second loss to Williston this season.
In an email to The Phillipian, Co-Captain Sasha Newton ’16 wrote, “One great thing about our game was that we improved a lot on offense. Previously, we had been getting bunched up, but against Williston especially, we did a great job setting up the umbrella on offense and not stopping shot off the two-meter and five-meter marks”.
Soubi Im ’15, a starting player, was sick during the game, so the team rotated through players to fill her place. Newcomer Jess Gearan ’18 stepped up, filling a void for the team and performing strongly.
Gearan wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I was nervous the first few minutes that I played, but it soon went away. My teammates were helpful in the water, and I just focused on applying everything I had learned in practice.”
O’Shea said, “[Gearan] had never played in a Varsity setting before, and she played nearly seven full quarters of play because the game went to overtime, and then it went to sudden death. She stayed with it the whole game, and she did a fantastic job.”
The next challenge that the team faced was Co-Captain Kay Xia’s ’15 ejection from the game after committing a foul in the fourth quarter. This became an apparent problem when the game was extended to seven quarters because of a tie, which then led into sudden death.
O’Shea said, “If it was any other game and that was happening, whether we were losing significantly or winning significantly, that wouldn’t have been a big deal. It was the fourth quarter, there were two minutes left and we lose a player by fouling out. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but we ended up playing three more quarters beyond that, so it ended up being a really tough situation.”
The team suffered another close loss on Wednesday against Suffield, ending with a final score of 11-10.
In an email to The Phillipian, Sarah Al- Mayahi ’17 wrote, “It was a tough loss. They came out strong and for most of the game they were ahead by three. At one point, we tied them, but they came back again and took the lead.”
Goalie Anna Dear ’16 turned in a strong performance, blocking 18 shots out of 29 Suffield attempts, one of which was a penalty shot.
Newton ’16 netted seven goals, and Xia, Al- Mayahi and Alexa Pagano ’16 each scored one goal of their own.
O’Shea said he feels confident in the team’s ability to improve throughout the season.
“The big thing that they need to focus on is that they are playing well, and what they are learning is really coming through. It’s really starting to shine,” he said.
Andover Girls Water Polo looks to claim its second win of the season at home on Saturday against Deerfield.