After leading Andover Girls Soccer to the 2015 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class A Girls Soccer Championship, goalkeeper Antonia Tammaro ’17 received the Boston Globe NEPSAC Most Valuable Player title and was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-New England team.
Tammaro was a strong presence in the net all season long, guiding Andover to a 10-3-5 regular season record and playing an instrumental role in the team’s successful post-season run. She especially shined in the playoffs, recording shutouts in all three of Andover’s matches.
Head Coach Lisa Joel had high praise for her keeper. She wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Antonia’s success is attributed to hard work, love of the game and love of her team. She is so tough and her instincts, athletically, are phenomenal. You have to have a unique courage to play in goal, and also mental toughness so having goals scored against you and opponents running at you doesn’t frazzle you. Antonia can keep her head in the game – the tougher the game and the opponents, the better she plays.”
Although she has only played goalkeeper for a few years, Tammaro has a natural affinity and love for the position.
Tammaro said, “I started playing soccer when I was four years old, and I started as a forward. By seventh grade, I started to play goalie, and eventually, I just fell in love with the position.”
Tammaro is now one of the best goalkeepers in New England.
She led Andover to an 11-game undefeated streak to end the regular season and recorded six clean sheets throughout the season. In addition, her performances in net allowed Andover to adopt aggressive offensive tactics and unleash its potent offense while remaining confident that Tammaro would stifle any counterattacks.
Coach Joel said, “Her talent and confidence in net gives ten girls in front of her great confidence to play with courage and play forward. We don’t sit in trying to prevent big time offense pressure from attacking us – rather, we push our outside backs forward so opposing teams have to defend us. We know in any counter transition play, [Tammaro] is ready to come up big for us.”
Co-Captain Caroline Shipley ’16 added, “Antonia is just an absolute rock in the back. Even in our hardest games, she’s very reassuring to have back there, not only because she saves everything and is unbelievable at what she does, but because she’s completely dedicated and focused on what we need to do.”
Tammaro was a commanding leader in net, leading the team and dictating play throughout the field.
Teammate Courtney Masotti ’17 said, “On the field, Antonia is so loud and tells you what to do. She’s also extremely encouraging, and I know that when Antonia is telling me that I’m doing something right, I know that I’m doing it right. When she’s telling me to drop back or cover, I know that I didn’t do those things. Whenever I’m running back and trying to figure out where my mark is, I can always count on her to command where I need to be.”
Co-Captain Jeanine Moreau ’16 added in an email to The Phillipian, “Antonia acts as a guide, mostly for the defense but also occasionally for the midfielders. She alerts the defensive lines of any attacker who is sneaking in behind us. Just having her back in net behind us allows the defense to build from the back. We are able to be confident with the ball at our feet, even if there is pressure near us, because she is our anchor behind us.
Tammaro’s influence on the team extended beyond the 80 minutes of game time. She also took new teammate Molly Katarincic ’18 under her wing, mentoring the brand new keeper and passing on her skills.
Katarincic said, “This was my first year playing soccer, so I can basically credit everything I know to Antonia. She not only taught me every skill I needed to know, but she pushed me to get into the goalie mindset. Every time I didn’t feel like diving for a ball, she held me accountable and made sure I did it the next time, in turn making me a better goalie.”
Tammaro attributed her individual success to her teammates. She believed they deserved the awards just as much as she did, if not more.
She said, “I feel as comfortable as I can on the field because I know that our team is amazing. Everybody on the team brings a different dynamic that allows me to feel comfortable back there and gives me added confidence. I think of myself as a vacuum, and I just pick up the pieces that are left behind by my teammates. They know that it’s okay to mess up, because I’m going to be right there to help them out and be the best vacuum that I can be for the team.”
With Tammaro in the net, Andover knew it could confidently challenge any team in the league. Throughout Andover’s season and dominant post-season run, Tammaro was at the heart of Andover’s success on the field.
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