Bolstered by a strong core of nine returning players, Andover Girls Varsity Soccer hopes to replicate the success it encountered in the 2014 season when it cruised to a 10-4-3 record and clinched the fifth seed at the NEPSAC Tournament. Although its playoff run was cut short in a heartbreaking loss in the first round of playoffs, the team, led by Co-Captains Caroline Shipley ’16 and Jeanine Moreau ’16, is hungry to avenge its loss and progress even further this season.
The team lost numerous Seniors after the 2014 season, two of which were starting players. Defensive stalwart Co-Captain Kinsey Yost ’15 and attacking phenom Caroline Garrity ’15 left big shoes fill.
Head Coach Lisa Joel said, “We only lost two starters, and to have nine returners is pretty phenomenal. Those two losses, however, were significant. Those were collegiate-level players. At the same time, we’ve brought in several new players who will have an immediate impact on the team.”
To try to patch the holes left by the graduated Seniors, Andover has brought in a plethora of new girls to improve Andover’s depth. Six Lowers, three new Uppers and one Post-Graduate will slot into the 23-person roster this season.
Most notably, new Upper Brianna Fadden ’17 and returner Cassandra Chin ’17 will become attacking weapons for Andover this season. Chin has been on the team since her Junior year, but injuries have prevented her from playing until now.
“We brought up a bunch of Lowers to the team, many of whom played on the undefeated Girls Junior Varsity team last year. Their job is to close the gap really quickly by training with our [skilled] returners. I see the future in them, and some of these girls will get immediate time. These girls are athletic, smart and techinical, and to have a bench full of players who can make a difference will be a huge asset for us,” said Coach Joel.
Shipley said, “Our newcomers have already brought a tangible and infectious energy to the team. They have worked harder than ever for these spots, and some got some minutes during the Andover High School scrimmage and stepped up seamlessly.”
Andover approaches the upcoming season with a focus on its defensive prowess, while depth up front and tactical changes in the team’s formations will fortify the team’s attacking ability. In the midst of all these alterations, Coach Joel maintains her proven tactic of focusing on only one game at a time.
Coach Joel said, “We’re always modest going in. We know we have great talent, but as the season goes on, it all comes down to how we perform on game day. We’re going to be very strong defensively and in goal. We’ll have one of the best defensive units in New England Preparatory School soccer. We’ll also be dangerous up top [because] we have an incredible amount of depth in offense with almost two lines of strikers.”
Shipley said, “On the soccer field, we are focused on our season opener. We’re ready to bring our all to that game.”
Andover will open its 2015 season at Milton on Wednesday.