After cruising to an undefeated record last season, Andover Softball travelled to the ESPN Wide World of Sports over Spring Vacation for its preseason trip for the 2016 season. This year, Andover looks to maintain the same passion, determination, and work ethic that carried it to its dominant season last year: a process that started with preseason training.
Head Coach Peter Drench, Assistant Coaches Bruce Bacon and Lindsay Maroney ’07, and former Andover catcher Sarah Onorato ’12 travelled to Florida along with 17 players.
The team played a total of eight games on the trip and finished with a record of 6-1-1. Its opponents included Bloomfield, Newark Academy, Lawrenceville, Nutley, and Blair Academy. Most notably, the team recorded two dominant wins against Blair Academy; Andover swept the first game 16-0 before winning the second 10-6. The team notched similarly emphatic victories over Lawrenceville, following up a 9-1 victory with a 6-2 win to seal the doubleheader.
The team made major improvements in all aspects of its game, especially offense, while its time off of the field was spent building better communication skills and stronger bonds.
Co-Captain and starting infielder Victoria Bergeron ’16 said, “Something I really saw improve was our offense. [At first, people were] having problems with their timing because it was our first time seeing live pitching in a while. But by the end of the trip, we were putting up a lot of runs. We were capitalizing on our good opportunities, we were finding the pitches we wanted to hit, and [we were] not swinging at balls.”
Not only did its batting and offensive play improve, but Andover worked hard on its overall team dynamic, defense, and communication.
Co-Captain and pitcher Kristina Haghdan ’17 said, “Last year we struggled to have a consistent team dynamic, and one of our main goals this year is to have a consistent team dynamic from the beginning of the season to the end. I think we are on a good path to make that goal happen.”
Bergeron said, “Defensively, I think we improved a lot on our communication and we gelled as a team both on and off the field. Our team bonding off the field translated onto the field and people now trust each other and people are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We went into the trip with no starting catcher and over the [course of the] trip three girls, with the help of Sarah Onorato ’12, really developed and proved themselves to be capable of their position.”
Second baseman Colby Bere ’18 said, “This season, similar to last, we have two of the best pitchers in our league, Kristina is returning, and Erin Gallo is a new PG. I think their pitching is going to be a big part of our success this year.”
Andover finished the 2015 season with a 20-0 record, a noteworthy achievement that it hopes to replicate this year. Bere said, “Last year, we went undefeated in the regular season and won the Big East tournament, so one of our main goals this season is definitely to keep that legacy going. I’m really excited for our games this season and for the tournament. We did have one loss in Florida, but I think that game taught us a lot and we really improved.” Andover will travel to Methuen High School for its first scrimmage of the season next Wednesday.