After receiving a quick pass from Co-Captain Alexa Rodriguez-Pagano ’16, Morgan Rooney ’17 slammed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to send Andover Girls Water Polo’s match against Loomis Chaffee into overtime. The game would ultimately end in a 9-6 loss, but Andover recovered just over an hour later with a lopsided 16-7 victory over Williston Northampton on Saturday.
Andover’s success in its game against Williston began with its strong defensive line. Andover effectively utilized a heavy press defense to diminish its opponent’s shooting opportunities. Due to the team’s massive lead over Williston, every Andover player was able to participate in the game.
Sarah Al-Mayahi ’17 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “When we [faced] Williston, we were as determined as ever to come home with a win. In the first 20 seconds, we got our first goal, and from there we were in control the majority of the time. Every one of our bench players got to play in the Williston game, which was amazing because it showed that we have a lot of depth this year. We are all super excited and stoked to continue this season with determination and tenacity.”
In the match against Loomis, Andover played well offensively and utilized effective shooting to bring the game into overtime. In the extra period, Andover stumbled defensively and allowed for three consecutive Loomis goals.
“We started our game against Loomis very strong, and I am very proud of our team for holding down defense. Along with some great shots from our starting line, we had some downfall when it came to blocking shots, but we kept our spirits up and powered through,” wrote Rodriguez-Pagano in an email to The Phillipian.
Despite the loss to Loomis, Andover maintained its positivity throughout the tournament.
“Although we lost our game against Loomis, we played strong with lots of intensity. Loomis is one of the best teams in our league, so it was great that we came so close to beating them. We will be ready to face them again later in the season,” said Jess Gearan ’18.
Head Coach Dan O’Shea wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We came out very strong in the Loomis match and right from quarter one showed that we could go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league. I think all the pieces are there for us to have a very successful season. The team looks physically strong, and we have quite a bit of depth on the bench that we can utilize. I think as the girls become more comfortable playing together we are going to become a very dangerous team.”
Andover faced Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday and claimed a close 8-6 victory to improve its record to 2-1. The team focused on increasing shooting opportunities, as well as on staying in a man-up formation to move the ball quickly. Defensively, the team worked to create a heavy press to limit Exeter’s shooting.
“We played super aggressively and had a very hard press on defense. We kept the ball moving on offense and had a ton of great shots. Alexa assisted a bunch of shots, which was a really big help,” said Gearan.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Andover will focus on working more cohesively as a team.
“In terms of things we need to work on, there were lots of overlooked opportunities which we have to recognize in coming games. We need to be more aware in the pool, but a lot of that just comes with time and practicing together. Our energy was great; we have so much potential in our team, and I can’t wait to see all that we can achieve this season,” said Co-Captain Sasha Newton ’16.
Andover will look to extend its winning streak to three games in a rematch against Williston this coming Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Sarah Al-Mayahi is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.
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