With a statement 5-3 win over St. Paul’s, Andover Girls Hockey, the defending New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Champions, continued its blazing start to the season and survived as the only officially undefeated team remaining in NEPSAC Division I.
Though they lost a tournament shootout, because NEPSAC rules do not allow for shootouts Andover is officially undefeated.
Through nine regular season games, Andover has yet to tally a loss. The team holds an 8-0-1 record and has outscored its opponents 35-17 over that stretch.
A major factor in the team’s success this year has been the influx of new talent. With the additions of three Juniors, three new Uppers and one Post-Graduate (PG) to the roster, the added depth has given the team increased flexibility in its lineups and a reservoir of capable players ready to step up if injury strikes.
“The new players are definitely making an impact in a big way. Our PG, [Jacqueline Diffley ’16], brings leadership and high-school hockey experience that makes her really poised and effective on the ice. The [Juniors] and other new players equally bring their own skills and I think that a lot of our success has come from mixing the new talent with people who have been on the team in previous years,” wrote Courtney Masotti ’17 in an email to The Phillipian.
Ashley Tucker ’18 said, “We have a lot of really talented newcomers, and they have all been a huge part of our success so far. It has given us a lot more depth, so we are able to run three or sometimes four lines in a lot of games. This gives everyone a little bit more rest, so that they are able to give their full effort each and every shift.”
The team’s captains and Seniors have stepped up as strong leaders for Andover. Through their collective mentorship and ability to help develop the younger players, the team has improved substantially.
Elizabeth Welch ’18 said, “The captains [Kasey Welch ’16 and Miranda Nestor ’16] have been awesome at keeping everyone focused and in-check, while still getting everyone hyped for games and practices. They have really encouraged us to work hard in practice and workouts, which has translated to our gameplay. The captains have motivated us to play our hardest every game, knowing that every game counts toward post-season play. They have also facilitated a super fun, exciting and inclusive atmosphere on the team.”
Goalies Alexa Matses ’18 and Tucker have both excelled in net, allowing only a combined 17 goals in nine games so far through the regular season. The two goaltenders start games in an alternating sequence, and both have proved to be very reliable and instrumental towards Andover’s success.
“Our goalies have stolen games for us and they’ve really kept us close in huge games. I definitely do not think we would be undefeated without them. We’ve had a lot of tight, one-goal games, that without them, we totally would not have been close,” said Sarah Rigazio ’18.
Along with the goalies and defense, the offense of Andover has been very strong this season. The team has showed dexterity in finishing at the net, with more than twice as many goals scored than allowed.
Emily Batchelor ’19 said, “[Charlotte Welch ’18] and Elizabeth Welch have come up big in most of our games. They usually score a lot of goals in big games”
Tookie Wilson ’18 said, “Jacqueline Diffley, our PG, is really good at creating opportunities. She’s often on the line with [Charlotte and Elizabeth] and they do a really good job of cycling the puck and working together.”